World of Speakers E.110: Berke Brown | Mastering the Art of Living


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World of Speakers E.110:  Berke Brown | Mastering the Art of Living

Ryan Foland speaks with Berke Brown, a leader in organizational and personal behavior change. He is also the founder of Berke Brown International with a track record of creating sustainable cultural changes for Fortune 500 companies, organizations, and municipal governments. 

In this episode of our podcast series, Ryan and Berke talk about the true power of self-efficacy and how it applies to public speaking, as well as the importance of believing in your ability to be able to achieve a thing. Because when you believe it, then all of a sudden you're empowered.

Tune in for an interview full of ideas and tips on public speaking, AI, and creating positive, impactful change.

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 the World of Speakers podcast where we travel around the world far and wide to find speakers so that you can get to know them, so you can learn from them, and you can have them help build your business by using their experience of what works and a lot of times what does not work. 

Now, I am sitting directly across from somebody. His name is Berke Brown, and he is not only a speaker, he's somebody who pulls your vision out of you. He works with corporations. I'm sure if he's not an author yet, he will be. He's a content creator. He's an influencer in his own right, and he is a dynamic person on the stage.

I've had the chance to see him in action. I've had the chance to talk with him about the action. And today we're going to have a public conversation, joining all of you in on this conversation. 

Berke, how are you doing today? 

Berke Brown: I'm doing incredibly right now. I am excited for this conversation, looking forward to hop in. 

Ryan Foland: It is, and it's a little bit coming. We're finally here and we put it down the calendar. We made it happen. So I want to start how I always start, and that's just story time. So imagine that we're in Big Guy, your Cove and there's a fire that we just made and it's about to be dusk and we see the water rippling on the shore and we're just hanging out.

And I'm just like, dude, tell me a story that shaped you. 

Berke Brown: Ah, I love it. Yeah, there's definitely stories that have shaped me, but the one that kind of really sticks out. So back in the day, I had a company called the Internal Gym and what it was focusing on was growing the body and the mind. You wanted both parts. 

Ryan Foland: The internal gym. 

Berke Brown: The internal gym. The heaviest weight you'll ever lift is your mind.

 And the solo that is still in the work that I do today, but I had a specific client where I was doing fitness coaching as well as life coaching simultaneously. And I remember he was six foot two, was underweight, heavily underweight. I probably shouldn't use the adjective heavily, but he was very much so underweight and he couldn't lift 20 pounds. And I remember looking at him and he was extremely shy and I was like, I want to help this person. And so pretty much in the program, what happens is whenever you say, I can't lift a weight and then you lift it, I take advantage of that to the point where you're like, okay, I surprised myself that I could lift it.

And I say, what else in your life do you think that you can't lift that you can? So anyways, we're going through the program. Time goes by, he starts getting in better shape. His confidence starts to increase. He starts making jokes back at me. Time goes by, he gets a girlfriend. Time goes by, he gets engaged. And he asked me to be in the wedding. So I was one of the groomsmen. And I remember the day of the wedding, he's looking dapper, fit, total different personality than the personality when I first met him, a different person. 

Ryan Foland: How many years had passed? 

Berke Brown: It had been two years. He is a different human being fundamentally inside and out, obviously.

And he pulls me aside and he says, literally with tears in his eyes, he said, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have believed that I could have got a girl like this. And I'm sitting there and I'm just in this space, this self -actualization. Is this what I want to repeat the rest of my life? And the power that was standing out to me was he didn't say if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have got a girl like this because I would have been the variable, the factor that made it happen. He said, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have believed that I could have got a girl like this. And that is the soul.

That is what set me on the path to the work that I do, to understand belief. That's what set me on the path to go to Berkeley to research self -efficacy, intrinsic, extrinsic motivation, the psychology of transformation. That single experience really set me up for the future that I have and the life that I'm living right now. 

Ryan Foland: Interesting. And as you were saying that, I wrote down what I thought I heard, which was the words, if it wasn't for you. And then you re -emphasize the fact that there was the word belief or believe in there. And I was going to ask you about that pressure that you might feel with new clients or people that you haven't met to have to be that pivotal.

But with your correction around belief, I'm interested in how that takes the pressure off. Is there a difference between people pointing at you and saying, you are the difference that brought me here or the difference between you helped me to believe in myself? I think that's a really interesting thread. 

Berke Brown: Yeah. To distinguish that difference is the difference between a person that is a true coach and a person that is almost kind of just trying to be the cornerstone of a person's success.

The truth is, is that it's an amalgamation of so many different things. So what I always want to make sure is that my job is not for them to think that I do a thing, but it's for them to see that they do a thing. Because the true power of self-efficacy is the belief in your ability to be able to achieve a thing. Because when you believe it, then all of a sudden you're empowered. And that empowerment, it shows up in so many different areas of your life.

And so ultimately for me, what I say is you can borrow my belief because I believe in you. There's a great quote that says, look at a man the way he is, he only becomes worse. Look at a person as if he were who he could be, then he'll become who he should be. And so what I say is in the beginning, borrow my faith, but it's soon going to be yours. And once you see yourself succeed, then all of a sudden that will compound and literally transform how you show up in the world. 

Ryan Foland: Now have you always been somebody who yaps a lot? Are you the person in the class in third grade who's get in trouble for talking?

Have you been like reprimanded by your parents for not being quiet? Like I feel like you're a loud guy naturally in the nicest way possible. But is this something that you've grown into in your belief and even having more confidence in being loud? Or have you always believed in yourself and been loud and loud and proud? 

Berke Brown: What a great question. I would say I was an introvert by nature. I like to watch things. So my world was imagination. You know, my vision statement talks about boundless imagination and creativity.

But I'd be playing with my action figures and my friends would be like, hey, you want to hang out? I'm like, I want to play with my toys or I just want to go in the backyard and grab some sticks and play with some swords. So a lot of I think the beginning of my life was taking in information, watching people, watching the dynamics, not understanding how people could misunderstand each other. And so I didn't know that that was a skill set, being able to read people. But then as time went on, I went into high school, played sports, gained the social. 

Ryan Foland: What were your sports? 

Berke Brown: I played football, wrestling, track and field.

Ryan Foland: You were a wrestler? 

Berke Brown: I wrestled. I wrestled. 

Ryan Foland: I was a wrestler. 

Berke Brown: Really? 

Ryan Foland: Yeah. I was 119 and then 125. And in my older senior years, I was like 135. You know, I was growing. 

Berke Brown: I was 125, 132. And then I actually stopped because music took over my life, my junior year. Okay. So, but I enjoyed it. I definitely enjoyed wrestling. I enjoyed just being sociable and being able to connect with people. That's where I got my personality. Then I started playing music and that brought out a whole other piece of myself. 

Ryan Foland: What kind of music? 

Berke Brown: Oh my gosh. I can't even try to describe it. It's a mixture between, imagine James Taylor meets Most Def. It's like what I call is neo-soul folk. 

Ryan Foland: Neo soul-folk. 

Berke Brown: Right. So it has like a hip hop element. 

Ryan Foland: Neo soul, I want you to say that three times. 

Berke Brown: Neo soul folk. 

Ryan Foland: Say it three times fast. 

Berke Brown: I'll do my best. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, ready? 

Berke Brown: All right. So what I'm going to do is just record this clip and then just play it three times.

Ryan Foland: No, no, no. This is live. This is live. 

Berke Brown: Neo soul folk, neo soul folk, neo soul folk. Yeah. I practiced the toy boat a little bit. 

Ryan Foland: And for those of you who don't know, if you really want to challenge with your brain and your speaking function say toy boat three times fast. We don't have to be the example here because we'll, even if I believe in you and you believe in me, it's still. 

Berke Brown: There's no self-efficacy that will help us here. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, so music, sports, socialness, you're sort of out there. So you're taking in the information. When was that pivotal point that you decided that you could help other people identify the greatness in them? 

Berke Brown: I think I did it naturally, but what happened is people started to believe.

For example, I had a friend of mine that I was talking to and I said he was, he was in a business that he wasn't happy with. He didn't enjoy his work. And I'm like, I see you having a new, starting your own thing in a year. I see it. Like by December 31st, I just see it. And I didn't talk to him until the next year. And he said you won't believe it. But when you said it, I believed it. And I actually have a new job and I have this contract with this huge bank because of something like that. And so as you hear that more and more, you gain self -efficacy and you're like, wow, so what I say and how I say it matters. And so truth is not relevant to the facts being said, but how it's said and to the person, right? It's the understanding of the language of what makes people move, specifically the people you talk to. When I realized that, I magnified it. When I realized that, it set me on the mission to mass produce and empower human beings. And it all came from these human experiences. 

Ryan Foland: The language that makes people move. 

Berke Brown: Yes. 

Ryan Foland: Tell me about that. 

Berke Brown: Since I was a kid, I used to say, what makes men move?

And then as time went by, especially when I was doing the personal training and I saw people get results. And then when they left me, the results went away. The new thing was what makes people move towards their greatness consistently. And that's what set me on the path to do the research I did at Berkeley to understand the sustainability of change, not changing and changing back, but transforming the metamorphosis caterpillar to butterfly. It'll never be caterpillar again. And so to be able to empower people at that level, to allow them to see what they're absolutely capable of and then helping them imagine a path towards it, that's where people change. It's not just a vision of what you want, but the idea that maybe I could get it. 

Ryan Foland: Is it a mind-over-matter situation? 

Berke Brown: I think it's a mind and matter-situation. What I really believe is that when you start to believe, you start to attempt. And when you attempt, you get feedback. And if I can change the narrative of what failure is and what failure means, then you won't think that failure is an identity, but a behavior. It's an experience. It's just what happened, neither good nor bad. It's just data. And if I can allow people to be able to get past that kind of self-deprecation that usually comes, and that's what a lot of my research was about, is how to get past that. Then all of a sudden that feedback empowers you more to move forward. And so you think enough to make the step. You see what happens from the step and that provides feedback. I'm going to geek out a little bit, but I think it's Albert Bandura. He talks about what's the process of behavior change. It's these three things. It's your personal or attitudes. It's your behavior, the things that you do, and it's the environment that surrounds you.

And they're called reciprocal determinants because each one feeds the other. Your behavior feeds the way you think. The way you think feeds your behavior. Your environment feeds your behavior. Case in point, we're sitting here because the room was built here. So our behavior, no matter how much free will we had, we had to come here. And so it's understanding that all of it together, being able to change perspectives, change behaviors and change environments elicit a new version of yourself. And that's really what my work is, whether for organizations, for municipalities or for individuals. 

Ryan Foland: Delta Force. I just thought Delta because change. Delta. I have these little triangles that I'm drawing here. I'm a big believer in this. And there's a few things I've heard over the years that I think are on point here, which is life is all about stories, stories we tell each other and the stories we tell ourselves. And there is this feedback loop there as well. 

Berke Brown: Right. 

Ryan Foland: I also am a big believer that thoughts become words and words become things. So focus on thinking the thoughts that you want. But it's not a matter of mind over matter. I like this idea of mind and matter because you can give yourself positive affirmations until you're blue in the face. And if it's not connected with a personal belief or behavior or connected to an event, then it's just sort of talk. 

Berke Brown: Right. 100%. That's one of the things that frustrated me about these. You go to this weekend experience and then you're on top of the mountain. Then you come back down and then two weeks later you haven't changed. In fact, when I was at Berkeley, they're saying, why are you studying this? I go because I hate motivational speakers. Right. And so it's either a cosmic joke that I do speaking, right, or I'm not trying to motivate people. What I'm trying to do is elicit this experience of humanity and allow people to feel what their values actually feel like and then move towards the direction of their values, which make it kind of it creates this jet fuel to move you forward towards what you want to experience in your life. 

Ryan Foland: So are you a sustainable change speaker? Yeah. How do we place motivational? And I've always had a weird issue with that.

Like, oh, your motivational speaker makes me think of, you know, like, you know, down by the river kind of style. Living in a van. So we have a lot of people who are maybe living in a van down by the river. People who are sort of believe that they are speakers, people who know that they're speakers, people who are approached because they speak. So we have, you know, speaking directly to our audience. How do you help them with that identity? How do you help them to believe in themselves? What are some of the tips? And we're going to sort of transition here. There's a perfect transition into the show part where we talk about speaking tips, like the actual art of speaking. So before we get into the tips, I want to know your thoughts on how can speakers take advantage of lifting something, believing in themselves so that in two years they're on the stages they want just from that core. I don't want to say motivational standpoint because we know we hate that. 

Berke Brown: And it's motivation actually itself is fine. It's the way that we've kind of imbued it with something else. You know, our society has a tendency to 

Ryan Foland: Did you say imbue or in view?

Berke Brown: I should have said imbibed. That would have been better. I would have liked that.

Ryan Foland: Is that a real thing? Let's say it is. It's done now. 

Berke Brown: It's official. Hashtag. Oxford, let's take it. But what happens is that the truth is what you were asking, OK, motivational, transformational, what type of speaker? I'm Brequet. I'm me. And it's that human element. That's what separates me. That is that distinctive. That's that thumbprint. And really, that's what I call it when I'm working with individuals. I don't call it what's your brand identity. It's identity branding. Know your identity. So the work that matters the most is getting clear on who you are because you have natural fuel within you.

And if you can articulate it, and that's why words are so important, that's why I use words in a way to be able to move and galvanize, galvanize people. Like, that's what I really care about. So me being able to know who I am allows me to show up as a human. And I do it in all my talks. I just did a talk for a city, a strategic visioning. Yes, we're going to talk about techniques. Yes, we're going to talk about two years, one years, big unifying goals. But we're also going to meet me, the human, because the city, the populace needs to meet you, the human. And the same thing when you're in a corporation, it's understanding the human element. My work first is getting clear and articulating who you are, my values, my vision, my mission, not just as these like banal platitudes, but are tied to literal stories in my life. And then from there saying, OK, as what I am, what do I create? And then you speak from there, people hear it. People can tell authenticity. 

Ryan Foland: All right. So let's talk about speaking from there. I thought that was great. If you were to have someone who invites you to their wedding because you've made an impact and helped them to believe in themselves, to get moving to some extent.

And it so happens that that person also has found who they are. Their identity is clear. They know their brand identity. They followed, worked with you. You've sort of gotten them to a point where they look at you and say, I am going to take the stage and I want to get there. And if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't believe in that. What do you then do from the technical standpoint to help set them up for success? Something that's nuanced or niche or something that is not obvious from how can you help them take that belief into action and structure and just crushing it on stage and feeling confident while still being authentic to them? Right. That's the spin. 

Berke Brown: There's kind of two answers to it. One, it's 

Ryan Foland: Can you make it three? 

Berke Brown: Yeah, I can. You want me to do three? I just like three. You just like the three. The first is believe in yourself. 

Ryan Foland: We already got that one. Okay, good. 

Berke Brown: Well, it's kind of two things. Thinking from right to left with the end in mind.

The question is, what is the experience you're trying to create? So even when I do a talk, I say to whether it's an organization or a city or an individual, I say after this is done, what do you want the audience to be, do or have right afterwards? What do you want them to say afterwards? And what happens is you start to visualize the experience after. And when you visualize the experience after, what you do is you connect yourself to, I'm going to create that experience for them. And what I do is by doing that, it puts me in a place where it unconsciously filtrates the way in which I'm going to speak.

My goal is to move from that space backwards. And then the one that's kind of the part that's the most simplest is get out and talk as many places as you possibly can. It's the easiest way when I'm putting myself in a position. The first thing I did was I spoke at places where nobody paid me. 

Ryan Foland: That's section number three. That's how we build our business. Let's go back to the two. Let's see how I ask when it comes back to your two. 

Berke Brown: Go ahead. 

Ryan Foland: The one which is believe in yourself and the other is it seems like there's a sort of projection of what you want the audience to be, do, have, feel, say afterward. And you reverse engineer. 

Berke Brown: I've heard that before. 

Ryan Foland: So how does Berke do this? 

Berke Brown: I'm going to give you a story and this is going to tie in. And one of the things I always say is I speak in cliche, but I have the ability to open it up. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah, I'm going to make you open it. Yes, I've heard that cliche before. 

Berke Brown: Right. So check this out. So I was doing a talk at Berkeley and I was prepared. I was so prepared. I was going to be talking about my vision. I was talking about this is one of the first talks that I ever did. And I remember the night before for the life of me, this is going to sound so cheesy, but this is literally what happened for the life of me. I was choking on every word. I didn't know what I was going to say. I tried to put the narrative together to where I could say it. And then I find out that they're going to be recording the thing. And I'm like, oh, great. They're going to be able to capture my failure over time and be able to replay it over and over and over again. SoI get out there. 

Ryan Foland: Story you're telling yourself, by the way. 

Berke Brown: But this is, of course, that's the story. So as it happens, I'm standing out there in front of the people and I write something on my hand.

This is the cliche part, but it's the truth. I wrote Messenger on my hand. And I used to do that when I played at coffee shops in Tolly Coffee in Huntington Beach every Monday night after I would finish personal training. I'd go there and I'd play for 52 weeks. Messenger was on the hand. And then I looked at the eyes of the people and what I realized was that my message was absolutely important to get out. And that one thing literally put me in a place where I went from stressed about worrying about how they're going to receive me to clarity on the message that I have to get out.

And that truly was a powerful moment because what it did was it allowed me to remember that I'm only a cog in the grand piece, in the grand machine. What mattered to me was being able to get the message out. And that ties back to the beginning where I said me knowing who I am is the most important thing. And so as we go to the place where we talk about techniques and all the different stuff, it's having kind of those book-ended experiences of knowing who you are, clearly articulating it and then knowing where you want the audience to be and clearly articulating it.

Then the techniques have value. But if you start with the techniques without those bookends, you're not going to be able to make the same type of impact. 

Ryan Foland: Interesting. When I was listening, you talk about the difference between sort of your inability to communicate what you want as you're practicing because there's so much pressure about what it is that will be seen and potentially recorded and documented. I've always looked at that as a selfish behavior. Absolutely. And I know I've experienced this and I know a lot of people who are listening likely have and just sounds harsh to be like you're selfish.

But I like that harshness because we forget sometimes it's not about you. Right. Like I'm a guy who sweats. And so for along time, I get super paranoid about like getting sweaty pits on stage. But like that's just selfish of me because I'm more concerned about me than them. And so there's these hang-ups that we are concerned with as speakers. But I always remind myself if I'm hung up on anything, it's just me being selfish. And I don't want to be selfish. I want to give. I'm here to give. And in your case, it was this reminder of a message. 

Berke Brown: Yeah. 

Ryan Foland: So I do like that in the case of I think sometimes they might be mistaken for nerves, right? Because you get nervous and things sort of clam up. I'm a big fan of translating the nerves into excitement. You can feel nervous, but you recognize just as easily it could be sort of exciting. And so I still think that we could go a little deeper into understanding this reverse engineering because we're still talking about these like generalities. And so I'm curious from writing on your hand to what other things do you do pregame? Because, you know, you're talking real pregame, like the day before, what is my message? And some of this like the whole idea of like, who am I? Right. 

Berke Brown: Like, what is my meaning? 

Ryan Foland: How do I do that? Like, it just gets so fluffy. But then it's like, OK, you know, the talk's coming up. And so how do you prepare? Because I'm curious if some of your preparation inherently has a process that people could see that follows to step by step.

Berke Brown: So let's say what I do, this is I call it a discovery call. Before then, a lot of what speakers do is they have their generic talk and their generic talk is their talk. And it works. It works very well for me. Every talk that I've done, I have a discovery call. I'll talk with the leadership. I'll talk with the needs. I ask what the pain points are. When I say, hey, how do you want them to feel afterwards? I gain the clarity of what they're looking for.

And I tell them up front, I'm like, you're giving me a cheat sheet on how to be able to take what I'm going to say and speak it in a language that they understand. So if I'm doing a talk, I did a talk for planning commissioners. I have to understand what are the pain points that are occurring, what happened during COVID. I want to gather information because as soon as I say words that they know, when I mention mandates that they know about, then all of a sudden I become more real. So for me, I have my process of behavior change. I have my process of being able to inspire people to act. But what I want to know is what do they want to walk away feeling?

And then also, what are the specific pain points that are occurring so that when I bring up those pain points, I can talk about a new way to perceive it. And then when they're there, I then remind them of why they got into this work in the first place. And when I know why they got into work in the first place, then I can do work that can get them to tap into that, use that natural fuel, and then push it into the work that they're doing now. So ultimatelyis if you get clear on what the outcome is, you get clear on what the pain points are, you get clear on the message that you're trying to get across, and then you're also clear on who you are and what you're out here to do, then you merge them together. Because I'll never leave myself out of it. My purpose is a part of the work that I do everywhere. Right?

Ryan Foland: And I think that last part about sort of keeping the you in it makes it so that you are still speaking about this general topic that people want to know about, whether it's sales or about authenticity or whether it's about communication. But I've always had a hard time trying to find and fit into those categories versus having what you want to talk about fit into those categories.

And if you're leading with who you are and that no matter how much discover you get or understand how people want to be, do, have and feel afterwards, you're still putting that with a lens like the Berke lens, that personality that you have, what you've brought to the table. Because I can see how somebody would take a discovery call and they go, oh, the pain points. Oh, this is what you need. Oh. And then just you're kind of fully crafting something that's totally for them. But that's maybe doesn't have as much of you in it. And so this idea of like keeping you in it, I think, is unique. 

Berke Brown: It's interesting because it's the you -ness is not the identity of just Berke. It's what Berke is doing for the grander vision. Right. So it's a tie. It's a relatedness to the greater design, a greater thing that we're doing today. There's a great quote, itsays, forevery thousand hackings at the leaves of evil, there's one chop at the root. And what I understand is, though they're telling me the symptoms, the pain points, I do know what it is. It's a human element. Everything points back to the human, the individual. And so my work is no matter what it is that you're trying to get to stop or go, I understand that human is that the natural driver when you can connect people to what they care about. And it doesn't matter where I go. I always incorporate that human element because I know that's what drives change. 

Ryan Foland: OK. So now I'm going to challenge you on your human -ness because I know you, like I, are super bullish about AI. OK. And we've had conversations. 

Berke Brown: We're going to go. Let's do it. 

Ryan Foland: We've had conversations about, you know, literally replicating our likeness and duplicating our voice and making how we're able to get us out there into the world in a more easily accessible form and format, understanding that you have to pepper in your real self with that. But what is interesting to me is the passion and the knowledge you have about the importance of keeping human in it. And like I probably could do a tally and you've maybe said human like six times. But yet we are both on the same page about how inspired we are of how the future holds with specifically speaking and our likeness in a digital AI Web3 world.

So are they intertwined? Is it mutually exclusive? Is this something that's new that we're exploring? 

Berke Brown: They're all orbits. They're all orbits around the sun, which is the human. Ithink that when I look at AI, I see an opportunity for more tentacles further reach. The more eyes, the more ears, the more of a platform, more platform, the more that the message can spread. Right. So I don't believe it should not replace the human element.

It should magnify it. And that's really what I care about. So when I look at AI, I'm yes, take advantage of these incredible technologies that are coming out. And you and I have had conversations about just how amazing it is. And it's we've just scratched the surface. But the goal is if what I'm focused on is about the human, then you have to. It's there's a great quote. Itsays this is it's from the Tao. It says, why is the sea king of a thousand streams? Because it lies beneath them. 

Ryan Foland: Oh, wait a minute. Right.

Berke Brown: It says if the leader is to help his people, he must do so from behind. Right? Because he does not compete, he does not meet competition. And it's this idea that all these tributaries, whatever technologies exist, should come down to us as the human. Right? And for me, how does the leader best show up as a servant? Because as soon as I become a leader, I become a guru. I become the person that changes people. No, my goal is to become obsolete. If I look at gyms, if you really thought about what a gym is, it's a place where people go to torture themselves.

If somebody really just looked at it, you realize kind of how sick society is to a certain extent, because naturally back in the day, we didn't need gyms. Right. So the existence of even us as speakers and motivators and coaches and all that, that's a part that's just it's a bandaid for the issue. But the goal for me is I want to live my life. It's not just self-development and coaching and speaking. I love to travel. My values include adventure and creativity. Imake music. So what I'm thinking is, OK, I can either wait till I get there or bring my whole self into the process and create from that space. So my human element is always the center of everything that I do. And it also affords me the ability to bring music into my speaking. It affords me to pull in media and entertainment. And it gives me the ability to be able to touch on those human heartstrings in a way that people are motivated, because those are the jet fuel to action. 

Ryan Foland: I like that it still goes back to you can have an AI generated voice of a talk that you are creating in an avatar that looks and seems like you. And to one extent, the naysayers might be like, that is code, that's digital, that's not human. But what you're saying is from the origins of the intent of even creating it in the first place still has those threads. And it's these tentacles that are going out to create more opportunities for your human to spread more, to help more people in whatever path that you're helping them with.

Berke Brown: One hundred percent. Everything's a technology. 

Ryan Foland: Now, are you a real person right now or is this your avatar? 

Berke Brown: This is the avatar. And this is not pretty good. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah, pretty, pretty good. 

Berke Brown: Yeah. Yeah. 

Ryan Foland: Is this the free trial you're working on right now? 

Berke Brown: It's the beta. You can see the outfit. 

Ryan Foland: Well, let's let's transition into the third part of the show where we talk about how you have built your speaking business, some of the stuff that's worked, that is working, some of the stuff that's not working. And I'd love to challenge you to pepper in some of the AI tools and tricks and hacks that you're using, whether it's a content perspective, whether it's as we kind of discussed, you generating an avatar of yourself or if you're tapping into Web 3. I mean,there's just so many things and tentacles that you have out there. But if we were to take those tentacles, chop them off, put them into a nice sort of like broil and then we were to eat that octopus leg right here, what would be served up? 

Berke Brown: What we could do is we can start from what's happening in the real world and then kind of go into the technological space. But I would say, you know, for me, as weird as it is, word of mouth is a huge thing for me, especially when you're speaking, you're speaking in a large to a large group of individuals. And as long as you have products that are set, as soon as they experience you, then what happens is you're able to build your business in a huge way that way. So I have products, I have online evergreen programs like the Art of Living. I have programs on how to become a mindset coach. I have mastermind groups that I have together. I can do strategic visioning more so than just doing a speech. So having a net to capture all of the potential leads that happen after the talk is huge.

But also word of mouth. When I do a talk at one place, Iwas there was a conference that I was doing in the Bay and I was the closing keynote last year. They had me come as the opening keynote this year because everybody in the feedback was saying we want him in the beginning. So we have this mindset as we're going through the program. So what happens is when I'm speaking in different places, it's just a large swath of individuals who are experiencing me and then immediately trust me because I'm showing up as me speaking to something that matters to them.

Then I have the net of products that are available. So that's a really powerful way that happens. 

Ryan Foland: And your net is on the internet. 

Berke Brown: Internet. Right. So those things are available. The strategic visioning and stuff, I do that in person. But what then you start to see is when you're coming to something like chat GPT or you start to come to something like 11 Labs, which can take your voice and literally recreate it. And even you can choose through this throttle kind of how much intonation occurs and doesn't. There are so many potential things that you can do in the social media space.

And I think for me, that's kind of where I was at. I'm like, I don't want to be a slave to the social media world. That's just not important to me personally. Right. There's people who have to like, follow, subscribe. I'm like, no, love. Right. There it is. No, for me, what I say is I'm like, no, love. Right. Contribute and enlist. These are the things that I care about. Right. So I don't want to be beholden to the audience. I want the audience to know what I care about. And if they like it or love it and follow and want to move in that direction, take it. Go ahead.

But it's not something that I want to be constantly having to create new and new and newer and newer and newer content with the advent of AI. It can understand who I am, what I care about. And from there, I can start to speak to those things. Right. But at the end of the day, I never wanted to go so far that. My human isn't showing up. And that ultimately is the place that I want to lead people to, to where they can see how I live. Not how I live is to be like, whoa, okay, but to see how they can pull that out of themselves. And that's at the end of the day, the most that is the art of living. Everybody has their own paint style, their own brushstroke. But I want them to be able to see an example.

My goal is to be the actual prototype of what I'm trying to create in the world. A person who is fully expressing themselves. 

Ryan Foland: So if you're like, if you like what you see, if you like what you hear. 

Berke Brown: For just four easy payments of $19 .95. 

Ryan Foland: What would you say to those speakers who have heard about chat GPT? Maybe they've played with chat GPT, but they don't necessarily know how this can help them build their business or build their identity branding or things like that. Because you've dove in into the rabbit hole and you are sort of jumping in and out.

What would you say to them? Maybe just from this belief, how can you get them to believe that they can get caught up, that it is something that they can do, right, that they can pick this up, that they can move. Full story. Whether somebody is heavy or not, I think that with a heavy heart, people don't know whether to reach out and grab onto this chatGPT. What would you say from a belief standpoint to get them to even try so that they could see?

Berke Brown: It's kind of universal. You know, when I was teaching a class at Berkeley, I was I was talking about, if you forget everything that I say in this course, just remember moving the direction of your fear. Like that to me was the most important thing. And if you can't move in the direction, at least look in the direction. You know what I mean? Maybe touch it. And what happens is by the feeling that you have, and this is just so important. And what I say is every space thing is everything. So the way that people are worried about, can I even mess with this AI world? Is it too late? Have I missed the boat? But you absolutely have not. 

Ryan Foland: The boat still with it. Actually, the boat still in the shipyard. They don't even know. It's in the shipyard. Yeah, it's not even the water yet. It's not even done being built really. 

Berke Brown: So moving in the direction of the unknown is the only place that your power can magnify and evolve. Because if you're moving in what you know, you're moving in your past. Period. It is only by stepping into the unknown. And here's the thing that's so interesting. If I say move in the direction of your fear, the way that I've taught this to myself is I feel fear in my throat. So I've changed the name fear to opportunity.

So when I feel opportunity, I know I have to move forward because if not, I'm moving back into my past where I feel safe. So when it comes to this AI world, start by starting. Dive in. You could go on YouTube. There is so much information that's being poured out. But that's even intimidating. 

Ryan Foland: Where would you start? Give somebody a toe dip. Is there an influencer that you would watch? Is there a search tool that you would use? Is there an informational something that you would start on? What is it that they write not on their hand, but into the search engine? 

Berke Brown: How to use chat GPT. It's not that hard. It's really not that hard because ultimately what's happening is you don't want to you don't need YouTube is so available. You literally could start with that and all of a sudden you're going to get so much information and something. I wish I knew the person, but I was looking it up and I remember a person who had this download for prompts on how to use chat GPT. And the great thing is when you just search for it, trust me, that's more than enough. That's that's a toe. It's easy when you begin.

Ryan Foland: The alligator comes and grabs your toe and drives you.

Berke Brown: Exactly. But you want it to grab your toe because you want to go down that rabbit hole because the thing is, is that this really is the future. It is the future. And you call what did you call it earlier? A prompt something. 

Ryan Foland: It was a prompt engineer, a prompt engineer. That's a real thing right now. 

Berke Brown: This is because what it does is it forces you to think. It's like if I wish for a piano and a piano falls on my head, it puts you in a place where you have to think logically. You have to ask better questions. You have to begin to sit back and become more mindful, which I'm a fan of, because mindfulness is one of the most important things in all the work that I do. But I think it is as simple as going on YouTube and searching it. 

And I'm sure you may know some people that truly do you have people like that that you are following right now that you think are incredible. 

Ryan Foland: So one person I think is worth listening to is Sam Altman. And I think that understanding the logic between the individuals who started it, how the company was formed, their structure, the investment that they've had, the partners that they're working with, their approach to the problems that it has, I think for me that fundamentally has given me some of the fundamentals or the baseline of how this came into existence. So knowing and I basically watched every interview that Sam Altman has had, and it gives me context of like the people who are working and thinking. And part of that context is that they've been working on this since like 2015. And so it seems to just all of a sudden appear.

And so I'm a fan of looking at the backstory and knowing the people involved with it. And I think that is an interesting sort of historical look. And I found that in my car when I'm driving, this is the actual tactic. I will search chat GPT. And that's how I discovered auto GPT. And that's how I discovered some of these other elements to it. And so I believe that if you are on the pulse a little bit every day, that for me is what works, because what sucks is when you're like, oh, I'm just going to learn the hell out of this right now. And then you're like, binge watch and everything. And then literally two weeks later, you're like, now it's three point five and now it's four and things have totally changed. So I'm a big fan of sort of grazing because things are moving so fast. 

Berke Brown: Yeah, I think it's a yes. And two, because it's understanding the base of how it happened. But people are literally saying they're going on chat GPT and they're asking, how do I turn one hundred dollars into a thousand dollars? And it's coming up with ideas and people are doing this and people are starting to make I mean, there's a person is just reading this person is creating their own avatar and people can pay one dollar per minute to just have conversations with them like it's anything is possible right now. This is a massive blue ocean. And I do say if you want to go and deep dive, deep dive, like go because you can learn if you are ahead of the curve on this. There is so much money to be made, so much impact to be made and so much destruction to be made. Let's be honest. 

Ryan Foland: And a lot to learn. A lot to learn to.

Berke Brown: So I've been about yourself. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah, I've been I've been playing with it, you know, almost every single day. I asked myself, how can I use this? I had a really verbose email the other day and I know it and I'm like, gosh, if I had more time, this would be shorter. So I copied it and threw it into chat GPT and I said, can you tighten this up? It tightened it up, but it removed all of my personality. And so I said, can you put my personality back in there? And then it brought my personality back. By just seeing the initial email. Now you can give it prompts and say, I want you to be inspirational. I want you to add humor. I want it to be dry humor. And I want it to sound like somebody said it. So you can do that. But I found if you just drop in something that you've written, it can take the context and sort of the flair. And so the reason I'm sharing this story is that I was able to look at the third result and compare it to my original, read it, even make a couple of tweaks. But honestly, be like, I just learned how to be a little bit more concise. I see that they remove that and tighten that up. OK.

And then I feel like the next time I'm going to write an email, I will be a little bit smarter. And so I think that it's not only about it just providing things, it's teaching us things. And the access to information, I think, is gnarly. I'm also doing this little test where, you know, I Google stuff all the time and it's just, oh, so I will Google something and then I'll also chat GPT it. Right. And with the plug in to jump into the Internet now, it can take three or four or five results, summarize them and back. So, like, I think right now we Google things. Eventually, we're going to chat GPT things. 

Berke Brown: That's already happening.

Ryan Foland: And you have people that have these crazy data sets, right? Like LinkedIn has their data set. Quora has their data set. Twitter has their data set. These companies are holding their data without releasing it. And I think eventually each platform will have their own large language model that's just specific to that. So it's going to be a battle of the premiums. But it's here. It's here to stay. 

Berke Brown: Yeah, it's interesting because so one of the things that I did is I created a head chat to learn my written voice and my speaking voice. So I pulled my audio from my speeches or from my YouTube videos and everything like that, transcribed and then place it through that. And I taught it. This is my speaking voice. 

Ryan Foland: And when you say teach it, you're referring to putting that into an individual thread. 

Berke Brown: Literally just put it into one single thread, inundate it with that. And then I ask, give me feedback on what this is. And it talked about how you speak, what you can use a lot of inspirational speak and it understands my jargon and the parables, analogies and metaphors. I'm really big on those because that's what people can see through. Right? So I have that. And then I have the written version, which is a lot more eloquent, a lot more prose, a lot more poetic. And so it understands that. And so if I want something, I literally have taught it to where I say, say it in my speaking voice. OK, say it in my writing voice. And so what it starts to do is it understands and you can literally respond to it and say, OK, a little bit too much here, a little bit too much there. Because if you start off and say, OK, take this and make it funny, it'll it's so generic how it does it. And so it's this idea of really what you what I really believe when I look at things like AI, it lets you know how well you communicate. 

Ryan Foland: I like it. 

Berke Brown: It lets you know how well you communicate, because what happens is people don't know. It'sjust like a text conversation. There's no tonality. You can't really imagine. Soyou kind of in a lot of ways project how the person is saying what they're saying. If you know them, then you're pulling that personality in and then you're able to read it with that context. The same thing occurs when you're using something like this. It is the genie in the bottle. Right. And you have to be able to speak to it in a way that it understands. And so your ability to communicate in general.

Ryan Foland: Like your piano rub the genie and say I want a piano and it drops on your head. 

Berke Brown: Exactly. So that actually helps, too. Because if you really think about the work that I do, when I'm doing the values work with my clients, we go deep into the paint because they say, oh, I value freedom. And I'm like, do you? And I play devil's advocate because they have to prove to me and themselves that this is really one of the most important things to them. And when they get that clarity, and this is what's so powerful, when they get that clarity, they can show up more clear in the world. Right. So this is just another method or tentacle in which that can occur. 

Ryan Foland: Cook that tentacle up. Take a manch. Wow. We've come a long way from from somebody lifting something to you, recognizing in a moment that you're able to help inspire people to believe in themselves,which sounds like that motivated you to really figure out yourself to then understand how to make that something that is based in mindfulness with something that is sustainably focused. But at its core, human with tentacles into all things technological and advanced.

And they're so polar opposites. Right. Like, I am all human, yet I'm super bullish on this over here. So I love this combination of the two. 

Berke Brown: It circles back to the mind matter question. It's mind and matter. And that's why I'm doing a talk here in the Bay next week. I'm going to talk about not work life balance, but work life fusion. It's the same thing. It's just different sides of the same coin. 

And it's that understanding that for me, my work is human centered. It's not just all humanity. It's human centered because everything that springs out of that pulls from that soil. And that's what matters the most. 

Ryan Foland: And humans are a little bit messy and we're not perfect and we're fallible and all these things. So you're you're sort of planting your roots into something that is messy and does change and is emotional and is unpredictable and is flighty and is paranoid and is nervous. And like all of these human things, I think if I'm hearing you correctly, owning that and bringing that to the stage and not hiding from that is how you're able to get your audience to be, do, have and say, because you're not asking them to be anyone other than they are. 

Berke Brown: This is one of the most important kind of core tenets of it. 

Ryan Foland: Tentacles of it. 

Berke Brown: Right. By being yourself and at the same time, this goes back to the bookends, right? Because what that being yourself is you knowing who you are, but also knowing your desired outcome, that vision, because what that does is creates this beautiful creative tension between your current reality and the place that you're trying to go. And that creative tension is called living. And the goal is to move that current reality to become the vision. And that's the impetus. That's why I say what if goals were just excuses for adventure? I set goals so I can engage in the adventure to get to them. Not so I can get to the goal. Once I get to the goal of something called hedonic adaptation, it lasts only three months before I'm like, oh, it's just a car. It's just this amount of money.

It's just whatever. The adventure is what I'm imploring for people to focus on. Because then the human element moving through time, seeing it as an adventure as opposed to waiting for a moment to happen or foreboding every experience they have going to work. That's not a life. My goal is to move you towards a vision and enjoy the process. 

Ryan Foland: Now, take that beautiful metaphor and turn it into something that makes sense for speakers who want to face into the fear of the reality that they do have to give a bunch of free notes before they get keynotes and that they are going to basically grind and hustle and not make any traction and try to follow and emulate. It's just like there are so many things that are fearful about getting to the next, the legitimate professional level where you're getting 10, 20, 30, 40, $50,000 honorariums. That's a fearful thing to charge into because if you don't know it, then you're just sticking with what you know and that holds you back. How can you help to inspire our listeners that this idea of living and facing what is what they're trying to sort of get to but don't want to get to?

How can you help them understand that like, you know, this rut that you're in or post pandemic or not liking the digital traction that you're like all of these things? How does this idea of living translate to gaining a living as a speaker? 

Berke Brown: I want to break out into a whiteboard right now because there's so much incredible stuff, even from my research, that is just powerful on how to break through that.

But what I will say is at the end of the day, the thing you're afraid of is larger than the fear of doing it. Now I'm going to explain this. They say the fear is a false evidence appearing real. There's the shadow of fear and then there's the thing you're afraid of. Imagine like a cup on a table and it's sunset. The shadow is longer. The cup itself is not that big. What we're afraid of are all the potential realities of what could go wrong. And so we paint this massive wall about what potentially could go wrong. But if you just do it, you'll experience whatever happens and it won't be all of them.

But the people that stop actually believe the projection that they place of every potential reality, whatever parallel universe, worst case scenario, and they don't engage in the fear. It goes back to what I said, move in the direction of what you're afraid of. And when you can build the muscle of feeling fear and going in anyways, which I had to do many times speaking every time I had to get that lump in my throat. But what was it? It wasn't fear. It was opportunity. And by you putting yourself in that position, all of a sudden you'll start to meet people.

You'll start to realize that fear is a muscle and that you can actually, as you grow stronger, the courage grows and the fear becomes more atrophied. It's this process of moving. And I wish there was a way where it's just flip this switch dial, take this class. Because if you look at the research on how many people have taken courses, have wanted to become speakers and haven't done it, it's not because of knowledge. It's because of the belief that they have and their inability to take that step. When you take that step and you do it on a consistent basis, you become a different person. 

My client did it when he couldn't lift 20 pounds. And then all of a sudden was at his own wedding, looking the way he was acting the way he was. He lifted every weight. He did it every single piece. And that's as simple as it is. It's the action of moving forward and doing it. Getting that feedback while having a vision. 

Ryan Foland: Full stop. 

Berke Brown: That is wonderful. 

Ryan Foland: Well, how do people get in touch with you? How do we spread the word of mouth to have people get you to speak on a stage nearby? How do you best like to connect with people? 

Berke Brown: Yes. My website is And not local. Man, I'll talk anywhere. Like I said, my value is adventure. So I just did a retreat in Fiji, spoke out there, did it in Antarctica. I'm traveling. I'm living my values everywhere I go. But Berke Brown is the best place and you can see everything that I do in terms of the courses that I have, speaking, strategic visioning. It's all there. 

Ryan Foland: The net on the Internet.

Berke Brown: The interweb. I don't know about the net, the web. The interwebs. So yeah, that's the best way. Or [email protected] is the easiest email. And then I can have, we can put some stuff together. So this is who I am. This is what I do. And every single day is just like, I feel like I got the jackpot because I've managed to create or architect a life where I get to fully and constantly express more and more of my unique greatness. And I want to empower others to do the same.Speaker 1:

Ryan Foland: Boom. Starts to 20 pounds at a time. Maybe 10 pounds, maybe five. Keep it here. Yeah. Stretch first though. So you got to move. Well, thank you for having this conversation. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for our crazy AI conversations that people are got a little taste of today. And keep me up to date on things as they come apparent. And I will do that as well, because the best type of video is usually a word of mouth. So for every five or 10 videos I watch, I lob the best one to you and back and forth. So I encourage everybody to just share the content that resonates because we're all learning here together.

The boat is in the shipyard, but it's continuing to be built. It will set sail. 

Berke Brown: Yep. 

Ryan Foland: All right. Well, that does it for today's show. I hope you are as inspired as I am to get on the go and move no matter what the fact is. And be the buffalo. I don't know if you know this. This is good for your storytelling. But buffalo in the wild, when they see a storm coming, they run right in because they know it's going to be less damage. They'll run right through it. So if you run away from the storm, it's going to chase you down and drill you with a lightning in the back of the head. Directly. 

Berke Brown: Run into the storm. Run into your fears. 

Ryan Foland: Well, big shout out to our sponsor and the people that make it happen over at Speaker Hub. Are you on SpeakerHub yet?

Berke Brown: I will be. 

Ryan Foland: You will be because I'm going to get you a VIP package there. It's another place to be found. You can have a call for speakers. You can create one pagers. You can do all kinds of crazy stuff. And if you're a speaker who's up and coming, it's a place to get started. If you're already established, it's one more place to be found on the interweb.

And if you enjoy my style, if you like my craziness, if you want to have me come speak at your event, I'm easy to find online. If you remember my first name and my name is Ryan and you can find me online at That's it. I'm on all the social platforms, although I will not respond to you on Facebook because I have never really. I've just been there. Yeah, well, I have it, but I just don't use it. But you can get some daily dose of Instagram figures on on Instagram. And, you know, I used to tweet a lot more. I just don't tweet very much anymore.

Yeah. Well, find me. Reach out to me, [email protected]. And hey, who knows, Berke? I hope that we share the stage sometime soon. 

Berke Brown: We will. 

Ryan Foland: All right. Well, usually things are digital. So I'm going to reach across the desk and actually shake your hand. That's kind of cool. It was good. Yeah. All right, everybody. Keep tuned in and we will be back again soon with another speaker from around the world to help you get on the move. All right. Adios, everybody. We'll see you next time. 

Berke Brown: Thanks, 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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