World of Speakers E.109: Tiffani Bova | The Experience Mindset


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World of Speakers E.109:  Tiffani Bova | The Experience Mindset

Ryan Foland speaks with Tiffani Bova, the global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce, and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Growth IQ. 

In this episode of our podcast series, Ryan and Tiffani talk about staying curious and being passionate about what you do so you can reach out to more people.

Tune in for an interview full of ideas and tips on keeping a promise, staying curious, and being passionate about your topic.

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 to another episode of the World of Speakers. This is a podcast where we get to talk with amazing speakers from around the world and as the speakers who we talked to continue to create more content and create more of what they do, sometimes we get a chance to bring them back on the show years later. 

And that is the case today with our guest, my friend is been a little bit, but I'm so excited to talk with you today. Miss Tiffani Bova. She's not only a Growth Evangelist at Salesforce. She's also a Wall Street Journal, best-selling author of Growth IQ, which is on my bookshelf and her newest book, The Experience Mindset, is starting to hit that number one and a few different spots and I'm still waiting to get my grubby hands on the copy. Make sure you check it out as well. We're going to talk about your experience speaking, Tiffani, welcome to the show. 

Tiffani Bova: Well thanks, Ryan. I feel like we're in the same city and we take years to get back together virtually. I feel like was it an epic fail, but it's wonderful to see you. 

 Ryan Foland: Yes there, right? This is the Catalyst to continue keeping in touch.

And what I think is cool about our relationship and a lot of fun relationships that I've had, especially in the speaking world, is it, you get to know somebody and then you might not talk with them for a while, but I still feel like it's just that we met recently in a Hollywood Hotel for lunch, it was just yesterday, right? 

Tiffani Bova: It was, it was just yesterday it wasn't but yes, it was.

Ryan Foland: Well, it is the stories that we tell others and stories that we tell ourselves, the rule, the life and that is why we start with a story here. So, tell me a story. It could happen since the last time I saw you. It can be something deep from your past. But the thread here is that it's a story that shaped you and that's usually the fastest way for us to get to know you. 

Tiffani Bova: Well, since this show is about sort of building out your speaking chops, I'm going to give us a story of on stage because I think all of us or all of you will experience this at some point and it will definitely shape you. 

So on stage a few weeks ago, I was in Toronto, and because I don't know a couple of other people in the audience and first, the mic starts, going the lapel mic, I hear the crackle, I hear the echo like my voice is going in and out so I say, hey maybe you could bring up a handheld, right as I'm now continuing to speak and they must have missed me saying it, so then of course, it gets worse and then I say, you know, hey can you guys hear me? And of course, the audience is like not really I can't hear you in the back. Right. So I'm like can I get a handheld? So now I'm you know, moving up the mic up and down, you know the lapel mic up and down. They walk up with the handheld I take the handheld now I get the pickle or the clicker, right? And one hand, I've got the mic in the other hand and now I'm back to, you know, back to going. But of course, during that time you don't miss a beat, right? You got to keep talking.

Ryan Foland:  The show must go on.

Tiffani Bova: The show must go on. The slides go, but the slides don't just go. They go forward and backward and they go forward like three and go back like two and I'm like, look, I'm not touching it. So now I've got a handheld, I got the clicker, and the slides are going, right?

I have like, 14 minutes left. You know what I mean? 

Ryan Foland: Like, it's this your NCIS, you're looking at the bomb tick tick tick down to the down to the wire. 

Tiffani Bova: And so, I would say that you know, that shapes you in a lot of ways that you just have to be ready for whatever that on-stage experience throws you and that comes from building confidence over time that if you know your material, right, you're comfortable on stage that I could have gotten off stage and stood in the middle of the room and kept talking like, if I had no mic, you know it, if I had no slides, I could have kept talking as well. I think the only thing it would have been disappointing in that, as they think the audience wouldn't have had as great of an experience. 

Ryan Foland: Yes. Well, there's a lot to unpack there. So first of all, I love that you call the clicker, the pickle, it is definitely a pickle, sometimes a big square pickle, sometimes it's just that's great. 

I actually have some intellectual property of am designing around the pickle because they think there are some fundamental pickle problems, but I'm not going to disclose that yet because my patent attorney will slap me on the wrist, but this idea of calm in the calm and calm in the storm. This is I drew that as a stick figure the other day, you know, my sailing analogies will just continue to come out. So forgive me. But there is this sense of calm in the calm and there's this sense of calm in the storm. And as you mentioned, you have this after a certain amount of at-bats, a certain amount of presence that you've already gone through this, which is really experienced and you said experience about the audience, but experience is what you get just after you need it and this story shaped you but these stories have been shaping you for a long time. So do you remember the first time you gain this experience and you weren't calm? You didn't know and there was a storm and things went really bad you didn't know what to do.

Tiffani Bova: I remember like you know, I was in Phoenix. I was at a ballroom. There was probably a thousand people in the audience and the mic went like that, was it! 

And so I literally got off, I didn't know what to do, because I couldn't scream from the stage so I literally got off the stage and went to the middle of the room so that I could kind of just, you know, walk around almost in around, right? So that my voice was carrying pretty consistently. You know, around the room and I did that for about 7 minutes until they could like to get something alternative sort of, you know, hooked up for me, and that one was a little more jarring because I didn't know my material as well. Then, as I do, now, I would tell you that the danger for. It's a positive and a negative that if you really customized presentations for your audience, it means you then don't really know what slide is next where, if you're always giving the same presentation, it doesn't matter what happens, right? Because you could just talk right through it. 

Ryan Foland: It's like the radio playlists and your CD list, your, whatever your mp3 list. You know, the next song is like, oh you start singing it before it comes up. 

Tiffani Bova: But if you don't do that, right? And you really customize then you don't know the order, it may be the same slides in a slightly different order, but then that's when it gets tricky, right? Because you click and you're sure your talk track thinks it's a slide and it's not right if you don't have current and next like so I remember the first one it was not as seamless, it was not as calm and you know people afterwards were like oh you know, I think you did pretty well, you know I'm dealing with it but the first one was not quite as positive as the second one and the third one, then the fourth. It's probably in, you know, 17 years that I've been speaking, that's maybe only the fifth or sixth time, I mean it doesn't happen, but that was the first time both happened. Like one happens to the other but that was the first where both went. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah. And I love it and it really only comes with being in those situations over 10 plus years for it to happen and you always know it could happen. But then when it actually happens going back to how it shaped you, it is like every time you step onstage, there's a chance for it to shape you and however, comfortable, you are with the material, what the tech and you know, you can pull this thread to a business presentation or something in the boardroom or any of these other moments where you may not be on the stage, but something goes wrong. And, you know, it seems like there's always the plan A and then the plan B, you can. No, but unless you experience it, you don't necessarily know. So this idea I want us to step through what are plan, A B, and C to help fast tracks and people's experiences. Since because plan A is probably calling out to tech, right? That didn't necessarily work, your plan B would have been to get out into the audience. Are there any other like ninja hacks that you found to help overcome the tech that goes wrong, which will go wrong? 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah, I beat if you're lucky enough to have a whiteboard or, you know, an easel on the stage, that's another way that you can start to get some visual woven back into the presentation if the slides are gone, you know, my opinion on slides is that sitting in a lot of audiences myself, I switch between watching the person and listening to the person and then looking at the slide and reading the slide and looking at the images, I kind of bounced between the two. When you have no slides, right? And it is just the person you're listening to and you've got a 45-minute presentation. That's asking a lot. Like there's just no break. I mean, you know, listen to someone in your own house for 45 minutes or a friend for 45 minutes and you don't get to say anything it's tough for you to pay attention and really be present for that long. You need that, in my opinion. Anyway, you need that switch between different mediums to keep your brain interested in paying attention. So if you lose one, now, you really have to lean into the other whichever that other is. And in most cases, it's going to be no slides, right? And then you're still talking, then you have to be really descriptive on what was on the slide, like, you can't just then talk about it like it's still there because it's not there. Like, you can either say, well, if we had the slide right, it was an image that would show you what was important or whatever? However, you're describing it you have to create the picture. Like you're almost telling someone who is not in the audience what that slide says or what that slide is conveying it may just be an image may not be words, right? So it really taxes your storytelling abilities to be able to switch between. I'm telling you a story with no image I'm telling you a story to tee up the image. I'm telling you a story that is supported by the image, those are very different image usages and then that is where A, B, and C would be.

 Well if I don't have an image and I don't have slides. Then how do I then change my story, right? Or change, my talk track to be able to bring in the entire experience that someone would have had had you had the image, okay? 

Ryan Foland: Now I have a feeling a lot of this, dives into the mindset that you need for the experience, which I want to drip into all of these, but this idea of doing a run-through Without slides in a controlled environment is now, fascinating might be I'm actually interested now to like do a take a pretend retake on if something did go wrong and literally put myself through 45 minutes of trying to explain without sighs. I mean I draw a lot of stick figures, so very visual. I think that's great. But this exercise, you know, we can talk through it, but actually doing it in a comfortable setting, a couple of times. Could really get your chops to wear if, and when things go wrong, you don't have to scramble the moment, I think. That's fascinating. 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah and I would tell you that then I would take it one step further. If you're going to say okay if slides go away and you rely on notes in the confidence monitors then you do it with no notes, right? Like the notes aren't there. So the confidence monitor is not working but the slides are working, right? And if the confidence monitor is your notes, then you've got to get away from relying on notes, right? Because I customized presentations. I'm really looking for current and next slide, but not every, you know, AV setup allows me to have current and next. So I don't know what the next slide is, right? It's not about notes, it's really, the story that is the tail that. So when I click the next slide is continues the story, but if I don't know what the next slide is right? So that is one that I have not found a great answer for except that, I tend if I'm not able to see the next slide that I kind of, almost end my thought. And then, the next slide goes, and I pick it back up, where if I could see the next slide, right? The story is continuing to flow, right, where it's kind of a boulder in front of that water, right stops me for a second. I change slides and then I kind of keep going and it happens really quickly. But so the second one be you don't have notes, right? The third could be, you don't have current and next slide and that alone really forces you to and I know that I'm sure many of your guests have talked about it. You have to know your content like you have to know your content and it's not you have to memorize your content, but you have to know your content. Like what am I trying to say on this particular slide? Because if it goes away, right? Then whatever I'm trying to say. I need to say but now I need to say it a little differently because I don't have that image right back to your point of doing that exercise of giving a presentation as if the slides were not there and 45 minutes without slides is tough, like it's not for the faint of heart, you know? Even if it's a TED Talk-style, slide deck where it's heavy imagery, it's still the same concept, right? People are switching between looking and listening to you and looking at the image or looking at the slides.

 So, you know, imagine standing in front of a room for 45 minutes or 30 minutes or 25 minutes with no slides, it's not easy. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah, so a love this. We've sort of transitioned from the story time into how this really plays out in real life. And you know, there's the concept you videotape yourself and you watch yourself at fast forward. So you see your body movements and you just listen to your audio to see if it resonates and then you watch it. The hole. This is like this is something you said it's getting the experience but you're using these exercises.

So you've literally define like for you know, for people who want to put themselves into the big stage situation, but then prepare for that big stage situation, trying to run with the way images, trying to run with no notes, trying to run with no before and after slide just as training, right? I mean those big stages come ever. So often as people are growing their business. But you can practice today for 45 you can practice tomorrow. And so getting, I really like these exercises. Like a whole speaker exercise training workout in my mind, almost.

Tiffani Bova: well, you know, and what you just said, came from our first conversation, you know, and I often get asked, you know, you've been doing this along time. How did you sort of hone your craft? And I'm always learning. So, I'm not saying I'm not learning anymore, not true. Like, just two weeks ago had to learn again, right? Okay, but when I first got started, I would really insist on getting a copy, a video of me, giving a presentation. And then, I would watch it and not listen. So I would look for, am I pacing, am I playing with my long hair? You know, am I playing with my hair and my adjusting my jacket, am I fidgety? Am I, you know, do I take my glasses off and you know, what am I doing, then? I would do the reverse. I would listen and not watch, so I talked it really, really fast and I buzzzz, right? Am I leaning into what? Do I really bring that point across or did I blow past it? And you know, am I using inflection in the voice? Like all those little things? Now I'm not watching. Then I want you to do the same thing for people, where you've seen a presentation and you really liked it, then do the same thing to there's or you know, someone who you admire that's a good speaker. It doesn't have to be a keynote speaker, right? But a good interviewer and people sometimes will say like someone like Oprah Winfrey, well, Oprah is an orator, that is a very different speaking style or Barack Obama very much an orator like so you want to not, replicate what other people do? It's more of a Huh. I wonder if I could try that. Make it my own. How would I do that? That is a great way for you to break up the pieces and parts of what it means to be on stage.

You know, it's being prepared but it's pace of voice. What you're physically doing on stage. You know. Do you make eye contact? You walk to the corners. Do you stop for periods of time? Is the stage square? Is it even with the chairs? Are you above? The chairs? Is it round like all those things play a part in how your body language and how you have to work the “room”? And I think that the more you see yourself in action, no matter how cringe-worthy you may think it is, it is a great classroom.

Ryan Foland: Exercise and action. Yes, the stage is a classroom and so many stages are actual classrooms. You're literally, it's just a process for learning and for experience and I want to know a little bit more about your book so the audience can get just a sense for it. And then I want to challenge you to apply some of the things that you have in the book to advice for public speaking and we've sort of dive in into this even how to have some exercises for when things go wrong, had a review, yourself and action, but tell us a little bit about the book. And then how does this experience mindset translate on the stage through all of these activities that were being so aware of as we're up there. 

Tiffani Bova: So kind of aha moment came for me. When I was on stage, I was giving a presentation in front of a couple thousand people at an event and I said, I didn't think it was a coincidence that Salesforce is a great place to work pretty much globally. It's not in the top three, it's in the top five or top 10. It's one of the most innovative companies in the world and it's the fastest-growing enterprise software company and I said that and after I said it I was sort of like I wonder right? If the great place to work has an impact on our ability to innovate and stay competitive and be very customer success driven and help create an environment, create a bridge, right between our customers and their customers, right? Like innovative motion and then the results of those two things is faster growth rates like tremendous growth we've seen over time and so this was not a  new concept, right? Happy employee, happy customer, you get those two things, right? You're going to have greater growth rate, but there was very little empirical data around proving that. And I wanted to do it in a way that understood at that moment, that matters like, like when an employee touches a customer, what are the things that an employee needs to be more successful, to be more enabled, trained and capable to deliver these amazing experiences because companies, brands, all of us, we want to deliver a great experience, right? If a company says, we are the best at something. We want to make sure we are the most customer-obsessed organization on the planet, you know, big company out of Seattle. That doesn't mean that their employees are happy. So, the employees are the keepers of a company's promise and so just think about it. Now let's try and tie it to this conversation. Like if your description or your website says, you are the best at something or you are a must have on this topic or captivating audiences or, you know, catalyst of change. Sort of all these words, we use to try to describe ourselves right? And stand out from someone else, when you're standing on stage, you better deliver it right, but the surrounding of you has an impact on that, right? AV, which we just talked about, what your slides are, like, all those pieces and parts plays a part. And you at that moment standing on stage and doing something to create this memorable experience, because we all can make more money, we cannot make more time. So someone is sitting for 45 minutes. They've chosen to listen to you. They could have gotten a coffee, they could have gone back to their hotel room, right? They could have opened their laptop and done work but they're paying attention. So it's our responsibility to do the best we can so that they feel like it was not a waste of time.

 And so there are things that go into that and the book is really about that. It isn't, it isn't about customer experience, it isn't about experience, just all up. It is really about how employees are the keepers of companies' experiences to their customers and we've just failed our employees on so many levels. And so, you know, I tried to tie it to the speaking world, you know, to the profession.

Ryan Foland: Oh, you did, you very much did. So, fill in the blank here. Speakers are the keepers of _______.

Tiffani Bova: Well, it depends if you work for a company.

Ryan Foland: Okay, this is good this is a good difference here.

Tiffani Bova: Right? Because I work for Salesforce.

Ryan Foland: Yes

Tiffani Bova: So I represent Salesforce. When I'm on stage, I use a Salesforce template. When I'm on stage, I don't talk about our products but I'm still representing Salesforce. There is no question if you know our brand and did you see my slides, you know, who I work for. Like there should be no question, right? 

Ryan Foland: So when you are speaking for the company, you are the speaker that holds that is the keeper of the company messes, company goods.

Tiffani Bova: That’s the company promised, right? And so we have values, trust. So am I up there saying stuff? That is not trustworthy, right? It's we're about innovation. Okay right, we're about customer success. We're about equality, we're about sustainability. So, if those are our values and I'm standing on stage, I'm always trying to weave those aspects in, right? If you're going to talk about quantum computing, right? And crypto, then I'm going to say on the backside of that, and It's not great for the planet, right? It's higher computing power. It's, you know, we're trying to find ways to make that more sustainable.

So I will talk about one but the values of where I work, right? I am the keeper of that moment that I'm representing. Not only myself, I'd say I'm representing Salesforce first, myself second, right? In this way. So if you're a speaker and work for a company and your company's brand is on that slide, then you are representing them. 

Ryan Foland: The keeper of their promise. I love that because the promise is that you show up, you pay attention which is a physical currency. I loved to think about you’re paying attention to sit in that seat. As you mentioned, could do anything else and now you are paying your attention here. So you are the keeper of the company promise. 

Now I can just see the direct parallel to when you're onstage, representing yourself. Speaking on that key topic. You are the keeper of the promise. that what you have on your website that you've sold going into it. Everything that you're about, right? Your brand, your brand promise. 

Tiffani Bova: Yes. Like, you know, that? If you go way off brand, like, if you're known for sort of talking about something. Like I'm just going to pick this example of my book. I am not an HR expert. It's not my lane, it's not my topic. Like I've, you know, I don't spend time on the craft and the profession of Human Resources, I don't. But my first book growth like you had 10 paths to growth and in full transparency, I missed employees altogether. Hmm. I didn't really talk about it. Once I joined Salesforce and started saying what said onstage, right? I realized the connection and power of you can't do all the things I'm talking about unless your employees have what they need in order to deliver on those promises, right? Like if your call center agents are not loving their job and are miserable, your customers will know in a heartbeat, right? If they're not given the right tools and they have to bounce you around 25 other people to answer your question that's because someone made a decision in the C-suite that we're not going to give access to that information to that call center agent. I mean, it's not the agent's fault, like what someone way above them has decided, so that's why it's kind of my 11th path, to the fact that I had left out employees on the first one.

So, if I all of a sudden started talking on stage about trends in Human Resources, I think people would go. Wait a second. Like, aren't you the sales marketing and customer service, customer success, customer experience expert? When did you get into HR? You know what I mean? Like, so I'm very much aligning it to my lane if you will, unless I want to do a complete pivot. And if I want to pivot out, or add it in then I make the decision that that's what I'm going to do but that's not where my passion lies, right? My passion lies in sort of the lane I'm in and how can I bring in new ideas to make those topics I've been talking about for you know 30 years to actually be more successful.

Ryan Foland: Now for those speakers who are part of agencies and might be one thing for speakers who are non-represented, who are representing themselves, they're really the ones that set the tone, set the value, set the bar that they are then promising. And as you initially said, like you are setting people up with these buzzy quote words and what you're selling yourself as and then out the gates, you literally now are on a blank stage with everyone. Now at square one, square zero. I was paddleboarding this morning and sometimes, I'll stop and then work to get myself up to speed. And so I'm curious for you. You know, the hook in the video is the most important. And this initial sort of impression that people have of you, whether you're representing the company representing yourself. I'd love to know if you have any ways that you helped to start to deliver on that promise, right out the gate.

I mean, whether it's coming out and saying it, whether it's storytelling from the start, from an experience standpoint, whether it's the employee or the person that's on stage, being an employee of your own company. Like, is there a way that your research showed starting that experience or the relevancy of that start? Or is the start even that important? Because getting that good start getting out the gates to deliver on this promise? Is there anything that you do, specifically to draw that out. 

Tiffani Bova: So I'm going to go back to something you just said like a minute ago and then I'll answer that question is, you know, the buzz words that you may use in your description right or in your sizzle reel? I used to go, ‘Okay, who do I admire as a speaker? Let me go. Look at their description. Let me go look at their bio and I'm going to kind of make it, you know, borrow words right, repurpose a phrase, and sort of apply it to myself and it's not that maybe those were not correct but that was my own self-descriptor which we're not always very self-aware sometimes, right? Or a lot of the time. It depends on what research you look at. So, I started asking people when I was kind of first onstage, probably during the decade for sure. I was with the Gartner group. Before I joined Salesforce, people always wanted my slides like they want two copies of my slides and I was like I know the next question you know when I was finished right I'd say thank you and I said, I know the next question is going to be. Can you get a hold of the slide? So let me tell you the trick, right? Right? I would say if you want the slides, I want you to send me feedback on the presentation on what stood out to you.

Now I'm flattered. If you want to say it was I was great or you like my suit or you like my shoes or whatever but really on the content like right on the content and I would get probably 15 or 20 percent of the audience would ask me for it and the bigger the audience, you know, I could get 50, 60, 70 100 emails. Now, what I got was real-time, what was landing, what wasn't landing? You know, I really liked that story or I hadn't heard it that way or even the slide was too hard to read from the back row, you know, it could be whatever and I was constantly adjusting the presentation. According to what the feedback was and most of the time people would be like it was like you were sitting in our leadership meeting or it was like you were sitting in my sales meeting last week. How do you stay? So oOn top of the pulse of what's happening. That's how I did it, right? Because I was getting real-time feedback that maybe two or three days later.

I will have adjusted and I always give a story that someone gave in the email to me on stage. Oh, I heard from this company and they were doing this and this sopeople like, yes, that's like it is exactly what we're dealing with, but it allowed me to adjust almost in real time. So the presentation was always staying fresh, but the second thing it did, was it started to give me descriptors of my presentation skills, like, powerful start to finish, right? Or compelling or I was super uncomfortable or, you know, they started to use these descriptors that, then I would weave into my description of my keynote or my LinkedIn bio or my, you know, whatever it might have been. And so I'm using other people's words instead of my words and it became much more authentic and the people go. Yeah, she was absolutely what she said she was going to be. Because guess what, they were words of people who are in the audience, not my words. So those sort of two sides to that, that question. 

Ryan Foland: No, I love that. And, you know, when I talk about branding, I like to say that, it's almost like a Venn diagram. Where on the one side it's what you want to be known for maybe as your aspirationally or you're finding speakers that you resonate. These are the things are the phrases that you know that you aspire to be but that's not necessarily the case. You know, you have to prove that over time and then as you get this feedback,  I talk about what other people think or what they see or wha they experience and it's really a combination of those two and when what you want to be known for matches with what people are seeing then that truly is where you kind of find that brand definition. And I think you outline that excellently. 

Is there a certain start that you like to start? I mean, we know about Nick Morgan's. You know, he talks about the James Bond start and some people come out with starting with a story and some will come out with humor. Is it just really based on customization of what the audience wants or do you have any kind of go-to starts to get that paddle board up to speed. 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah. It depends on who the audience is like, if I'm in a room full of all salespeople, my opening is very different, right? Like, you know, how many of you love to sell like in, you know, a couple people raise their hand and I'm like, then what the rest of you do? Like this is a sales meeting like you do, right? Sometimes it's a question. Sometimes it's astory, sometimes it's a little bit. Like so for example if it is salespeople like I want them to know that I'm not just standing about up here, talking about the profession of selling. I've sold tech for a very long time. I've carried a quota, I've run sales teams. Like, I've been rejected, like, I've cold called, like, I've used bad technology, good technology. Like, you know, I've been an executive, I've run a division, then I was marketing then I was doing customer service. And so, all of a sudden they go, oh, she gets it. She's actually done it. She's a practitioner, not just someone who's up here talking about something they've never done, and no offense to people who are talking about things they've never done. There is a subtle difference when you've actually done it. There are, it's almost like a shorthand language because you've been in the thick of launching a product, or you've actually gotten a team to innovate, or you've had to manage M&A of a new group of people or system coming in or you are talking about how to be a better leader. Well, you know, have you actually moved up the ranks of being a leader and there is something to be said for it it isn't. It's not that I'm saying, if you haven't done that, you're not credible, not what I'm saying, right, what I'm saying is there is a shorthand language, you get, and there is a very subtle bit of credibility, you get, when the people in the audience, feel like they relate to you, you relate to them for some reason. So I guess a hook, maybe at the beginning, how do you relate to the people in the audience? How do you make them feel, right? Not just your data and your great presentation skills and all of those things. But that you understand them, that it's personalized in a way that makes them feel you care enough to actually go through the effort of telling some kind of story that makes them go. Okay. Yep, I'm going to continue to listen because this person gets it, right? They've been of this and that, and this, that whatever it might be. And if you're an advisor and speaker, you also get a front-row seat because you're advising and so you've just got to be passionate. 

So if I were to go up and talk about why sailing is great for therapy and for getting rid of burnout and stress, I could probably tell a really great story because I was born and raised in Hawaii. I've spent the majority of my childhood in the ocean, but I was not a sailor. I could use a surfing analogy or a paddling analogy, but I would not use a sailing analogy. And so if it's a room of sailors, it wouldn't matter how great the surfing went. You see what I'm saying? Like, they're going to kind of go. Okay.

Ryan Foland: Right, yeah, the relatability open hook for sure. 

Tiffani Bova: Open hook, right? And so you have to find that connection to the audience.

Ryan Foland: When you were saying that I couldn't help but think of the customer service agent hearing that same advice about that, they physically care about the customer that they maybe have gone through the process they're asking people to go through that they might be somehow related or passionate about the promise that the company is delivering, so that all this ties in together. And when the customer service agent is relatable, when the speaker is relatable, I feel like it's easier to invest or pay that attention because the experience is one that you connect or to or you know see yourself in essentially. 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah, because normally it's a conversation right? You ask a question then you intentionally listen. When you're on stage you don't get a chance to intentionally listen to those people in the audience. So that's why preparation is that intentional listening. Is it an organization or an association? Okay? We'll know what they do, right? You have to listen to what you can find. So when you're up there, you're able to then connect with them right? Or if you're speaking at a company event, then know what the company stands for? How do you tie the story to that company? If it's a small business like talk to five of your small business friends, right? Or your entrepreneur friends and say like, look, my neighbor does this or my friend does my best friend? Does that like, you have to listen metaphorically because you're not able to hear everybody in the audience, right? So you have to find the commonality. Why are they all there? And then you have to be able to know that story. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah. Then you, if you ask for them to share feedback and you can actually listen to that and then, you know, you're just currently sharpening your tool, constantly learning. And that's why I love speaking as an art form because there's no upper limit. You're constantly changing the environments, changing the mediums are changing the way in which we deliver consumed, create everything's changing. That's why I think it's constantly something that's exciting. So this is great technical stuff about the art of speaking. I want to do a little transition. Now into building your stages or building your business. Now, you come from a unique perspective because you work for a large company that has these amazing stages. You also have a lot of work that you do outside because of your insights on sales and growth and now the experience mindset. So if you were to pick either some of the most valuable advice that you received or that you've understood, or even the worst advice in how and why we should avoid. Keeping the experience in mind here, maybe something could be pulled from the book and the research. But what is it about keeping the promise of your company or your brand that truly the experience, you deliver can help you to build your business and continue to get better to have higher fees, higher stages, bigger audiences, or medium, lower, or more consulting, like, whatever the goal is for you. But what are you seeing now, in today's day in the world post-pandemic? Like, how are you seeing things work? And what do you excited to share? 

Tiffani Bova: I would say this. I would say, you know, over the course of the two years that we're all sort of locked down. Lots of people honed in on kind of virtual video presentations, right? Because we had no choice, lots of new podcasts launched. Lots of books were written like because we just had this sort of time to in four walls. Be very focused on whatever it was, but I would say if you're trying to build your business, I've kind of alluded to this, has to be something you're really passionate about like what is that topic in the way to stay passionate about it, over the long haul, or stay curious to the point that we were talking about the skill of speaking. But more importantly, the content of your speaking.

What is your content? Is it just they saw you two years ago or they saw you one year ago and you're giving the same presentation you've just done everybody a disservice right? Because then they're going to say oh yeah I saw them or saw her saw him, right? I saw them 12 months ago was the same presentation. I got up and walked out, right? Or, you know, they don't really have fresh stories or they don't. That's shame on us, right? So I'd say, staying curious being passionate about what that topic is and then I would literally reach out to everyone you've ever spoken for and ask and say, you know what topics are you now interested in hearing about when you're booking speakers, me or someone else like, you know, what is sort of top of mind and maybe you, then expand, you might have one keynote. Now, you might have two or three, right? Or you might have four that. They choose from. I just think this is always a, is it? Fresh. Even if the content is the same, are the stories fresh? are your jokes fresh, right? Or your isms? Fresh are your, you don’t do saying like even if it's the same content, someone could feel like, I think it was the same content but that was just totally different. I learned different things this time than I did last time. Like so I would say that if you're trying to stand out and build your business, it has to stay fresh. You have to stay curious. And you have to be willing to let go, I'm not going to give one slide from last year this year, right? Like I'm just not going to because if nothing's changed, then you're not paying attention because everything's changed, right? And everything always changes or I'm I got to come up with five new stories like. So I'm working on a new deck right now and literally have like 70 slides pulled to the side of, right. You know this is all sort of content, you know, these are images. These are links. This is research, you know, ours and others. And it's, I need to build a new deck and so the story arc hasn't written necessarily changed but the slides and content, right? And the things I will call out have changed because the markets changed. So if you're going to, you know, just tuck it away for a busy rainy day, and that's what I did. And then now I'm in the, okay. Let's start to put it on slides, ugly. You know, just images are words, and then okay, where did I put where? And create a whole new deck but in reality, I wouldn't really change the description. It's just the content is different.

Ryan Foland: I like that. There's a lot to digest there. Now from somebody who speaks in one capacity, within for a company, I wonder how much the company is pushing that freshness, or if that is, something that is sort of self-led by that representative, right? And I would imagine you're the one drivin these need for story changes. And like, that's because you're great at what you do, but for somebody who maybe speaks a ta company, if they're not nudged to change it up, if they're not nudge to, Keep it fresh and they get into that routine of that same and be interested of how much the push versus pull comes from a company side to do that.

 Tiffani Bova: Yeah. So I'll say I'm in a really unique situation. I do not give a Salesforce presentation like there might be you know well there are we just all got certified on our corporate deck so that everybody could give the corporate deck, I don't give the corporate deck so that would be driven by I don't have a choice. Like I can't change up the corporate deck, but I'm not giving that. My role is really thought leadership and outside perspective, you know, trying to be trend watching and you know, what are the things companies can be doing without me, showing our tech stack and our customer 360 wheel and, you know, I will weave in things about us but it is not a presentation about us. So that's different. If you are a product manager, kind of hard for you to go, I'm going to mix it up, right? Because you got totalk about a product but if you have, you know, the wonderful opportunity to have something like I have, that's different, right? Where I am constantly pushing for unique and new content. So that's a little bit different than what you may assume.

But if you have the ability to weave in some of your own content mixed in with the corporate stuff, then that's the piece of it that you can keep fresh. If you are giving your 95% of it, is your content right aligned to what your company does and obviously not going to endorse a competitor. I'm not going to talk about a competitor's product or I'm not going to about something that just is way out of bounds for where I work I won't talk about it but it's a subtle difference right versus me, talking about us in that way, kind of in first person I'm here to talk to you about Salesforce and Salesforce. This is how we do it. This is our technology, here are eight clouds and here's what each one does. Here's a case study for each one I'm not doing that. There are lots of people do it and do it really well but that's not what I do. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah. Keep it fresh in this idea. You know, we focus a lot on the skill of speaking. But when you focus on the skill of your content, it just also has that same type of resonance, that sometimes the most simple advice, is staring you right in the face. 

Now, I want to go back to your book just for a minute here. When it comes to this Experience Mindset, can you tell a little bit of the difference between a mindset and an IQ, right? Because I'm coming off of your older book and it's almost like this competency but then, the mindset is something that I'm just curious about your definition of when it comes to this and I'll go back to, we talked about the audience paying attention or the customers paying attention in one respect and then you said you know shame on us if we're not paying attention to this freshness, this sort of thing. So I'm just curious. This definition of mindset versus IQ. IQ almost seems like it's a finite number that we can get to if we achieve a mindset that seems to be this flow. I'm curious, about your thoughts between those two? 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah, it's a great question. And I'd say that for me, My Growth IQ was a prescriptive framework sort of ten passed your growth, combined them in some way, understand the context of your market and what is the sequence by which you're going to do some of these activities.

Ryan Foland: And then rinse and repeat and you better repeat your pattern.

Tiffani Bova: Correct. Correct. Right. Mindset was for all intents purposes was really we have as companies around the globe over pivoted to customer experience. Customer, the true north. We live and die on the hill of the customer. We start with the customer work back in, everything we do is for the customer that. And unfortunately, over the last probably 20, 25 years as we got into the fourth industrial revolution, the digital revolution, we started really focusing on reducing effort for the customer. It was when I first stood up a website and 2000, it was like, 10 clicks to buy something. And now it's at one click and it could be on your phone or your watch. It could be via AI, you know, and with voice. One-click to buy, but on the back end, we haven't done the same thing for our employees.

There's lots of tools and technology. The more tech stack or the marketing technology stack has bloated. There's lots of tools, there's re-skilling necessary, like, talk about chatGPT or AI and how and where to use it. There's a lot coming at the employees. We've not kept pace and the effort for employees is actually gone up, which has resulted in their experience going down. So experience mindset is literally if you're going to do something for the customer, I want you to stop for a second and ask what the intended or unintended consequences are for the employee.

If you're going to do something for the employee, take a pause and ask yourself. What's the intended or unintended consequence for the customer? If I can get people executives, frontline, managers to stop for one second when they make, all these changes around the customer and do it for the employee. It's been a success. And so I use the word mindset instead of people thinking, I need a new role in the company. I have to have a new team. I have to have someone sitting at the C-suite to make this happen. This is literally everybody needs to make sure when we do for one that it doesn't have negative implications to the other. If we can get in better balance, they're both will improve and you know, wrong audience for this particular conversation. But we could tie it back to revenue and compounded annual growth rate improvements across brands around the globe. It's so if you get them right, you actually have the ability to increase growth. 

Ryan Foland: Well, I think this is the right conversation because if you were a speaker and you're talking about compounded Global growth like that's a pretty good thing and a nice mindset to do., but I love that distinction, I appreciate that because this isn't the experience IQ, right? It's the experience mindset, and this idea that there is a correlated relationship between the customers and the employees. There's also a correlator relationship between your audience and you as a speaker or you could almost, I wonder if you can make this step to say at a conference, there are let's say, you know, two keynotes and let's say eight supporting speakers over a two or three-day period. Those speakers really are the employees per se of the conference which is serving the customer and you can probably have that conversation around what changes. Or environments or seating or, you know, audio-visual experience. Do you have for the audience? How does that impact or not, positive or negative, the speaker's ability to have their experience? And then what you're setting up the speakers for? How does that help or hurt those audiences? So I can't help but just see the total correlation between the employees and speakers. 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah, so I'll play this out, you are going to be presenting at a conference and you're like, the client goes, we're going to have a pre-call. So I can hear what you're going to talk about. I could tell you a little bit about the audience.

Ryan Foland: What are the pains and desires? What do you want them to feel and understand? 

Tiffani Bova: What do I need you to do? When do you need to be there? How it's going to flow, whatever, right? And your answer literally was don't care. I'm going to get on stage. We'll talk about what I want to talk about. I don't care who's in the audience. I'm going to use heavy loud sounds in my presentation. It's going to be crazy. It's going to be, you know, like whatever.

Ryan Foland: You'll see me in Vegas soon. 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah. Like right kind of a thing that is how we right now, Focus only on the customer and not the employee.

So, in that case, all you care about is yourself. In this example, we were just talking about the brand only cares about the customer and not the employee. 

Ryan Foland: There's no active listening, which you metaphorically have to do on stage, or have to assume with the customer. 

Tiffani Bova: So if you were to live the mindset, it would be. Okay. This is what I want to do, but what does the audience want? Is a mindset shift because some speakers don't do that. They don't do the work upfront. Their mindset is, I'm just going to do my thing. They hired me, I'm going to do my thing, that is not having an experience mindset. You need to balance both who's in the audience, what kind of company, how much money, you know, are they small businesses? And you're talking about things that billion-dollar brands, do your being tone-deaf, right? It's a, it's an entrepreneur audience. Think they might not have an HR department and chief marketing officer and a CIO. Right? And if you're talking about it like they do, then it's a terrible audience experience. And in that case, it would be right. A terrible customer experience. So the experience mindset is literally that you have balance between what you want to do, and what the people hiring you want to do. That's probably the best way for me to say it. 

Ryan Foland: That's it. You heard it here. And this is exactly why I think everyone listening, she could grab a copy of your book, The Experience Mindset by Tiffani Bova. You can find it everywhere. In fact, you're probably walking by a bookstore right now, or you're near. So just pull in, pull over, and grab, and I also suggest you grab the Growth IQ because I've been fascinated at how those 10 elements can be combined and applied to speaking, and, you know, to all kinds of other place of life. 

Well, Tiffani this has been totally fun to get caught up. And I'm really liking this idea of just mindset in the shift is helping me to take on a new mindset. I'm thinking of how I can freshen things up. I have a whole bunch ofnew stick figure drawings in my mind, as we speak, but for people who want to connect with you, you find you follow, you, make sure they see you on stage and what is the best route for that right now? There’s so many places to find you. 

Tiffani Bova: Yeah. So I'm really active on LinkedIn. I can't actually connect with any more people so you have to follow me. I have maxed out on connections, I guess over the last whatever 15 or seven, I don't how long I've been on. I’m at Twitter at Tiffani_Bova, Instagram at Tiffani Bova, as well as Facebook, and then I've got a podcast called What's Next with Tiffani Bova that you can get across all the platforms. So I look forward to hearing from you. 

Once again, I'm always open to feedback. So what resonated with you, you drop me a note. Always open to hear it. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah. And she'll give you the deck as well if you give her the content feedback.

Tiffani Bova: Yeah, I don't do that anymore but I will definitely point you in the direction of research if you want to want to find that. 

Ryan Foland: Awesome. Well, hey, well, we are too close to have no excuse, but to meet up again soon for some drinks or coffee or just chitchat. 

Tiffani Bova:  Absolutely, I look forward to it. Alright. 

Ryan Foland: Well, thank you, Tiffani, and thank you SpeakerHub, for being such an awesome fuel for this type of conversation. If you are speaking out there and you need a place to land online, then you can go to, you can have your own profile, you can generate your own one page, or you can put a bug in your signature, you can use it for call for speakers all kinds of things.

And if you want to connect with me and you want to be as part of my network or follow me, you can find everything online at That's where you go and connect with me. I used to tweet a lot more Tiffani, but I don't tweet very much anymore. 

Tiffani Bova: It's a different platform today, that's for sure. 

Ryan Foland: Yes, but that's okay. There are plenty of brand crumbs to find out there, just connect and I think that the more we connect, the more we can share the better experience for all, but remember, the experience is tied to the mindset.

It is not just about you. It's about how and what you do is impacted by who and how they experience you.

Tiffani, thank you so much. We'll have to have you back at your next book. 

Tiffani Bova: Thanks, Ryan. All right. 

Ryan Foland: Adios everybody. Keep you fresh. Keep it simple. You'll know your stuff, adios.

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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