Ryan Foland speaks with Manoj Vasudevan, the 2017 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking. Manoj is an introvert who has used his engineering background to analyze top speakers, ultimately leading him to be one of the world’s best speakers.
Ryan and Manoj talk extensively about how to go from good to great, and why you need to perfect your keynote if you want to take your speaking to the next level. They also discuss audience engagement, and how to build your influence effectively from the stage.
Listen to this podcast to learn about
- The critical components to a great keynote, and how to use your keynote to get more bookings.
- 3 milestones in speaking that every professional speaker can aim for to be a better speaker and build their business.
- How to brand and marketing your talk in a way that gets event organizers to pay attention.
- Why focusing on audience engagement is the number one way to build your business.
- A simple formula for crafting content that will ensure you meet the needs of your audience.
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Manoj Vasudevan: Hi, I am Manoj Vasudevan, the 2017 World Champion of Public Speaking.
I am a Next Level Leadership Readiness Expert who helps executives and entrepreneurs to get to the next level in career, business, and life.
I had a fun time talking to Ryan at the World of Speakers podcast.
We discussed lots of things and the key things we spoke about were the keynote revenue model, the critical components in your keynote that get you booked to speak.
We also spoke about the 3 milestones in speaking every professional speaker needs to know about to be more effective and get rehired to speak.
And of course, we also shared a lot of the fun facts about how to speak, brand and market your keynote. Looking forward to hearing your reviews.
Ryan Foland: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to what will be a fantastic episode here on the World of Speakers.
We not only are speaking with a World Champion of Public Speaking, but somebody who is taking people to the next level when it comes to their leadership: readiness to become the expert that they have always wanted and deserved to be.
We have Manoj Vasudevan, ladies, and gentlemen. Did I do it right, did I say it correctly?
MV: That's right, Ryan.
RF: Why don't you say it for everybody just so that we see how well I did?
MV: Manoj Vasudevan.
RF: Perfect, that's exactly what I said. Awesome.
Hey, well congratulations on the World Championship.
I'm excited to learn more about how you take people to the next level in their leadership.
And along the way, I'm sure you're helping people, getting them pumped up, learning how to use their voice as the secret weapon when it comes to leadership.
Before we get into your leadership hacks when it comes to speaking and communicating, I want to go back.
I want to go back to where it all began when you first started speaking.
Were you born a public speaking champion?
MV: Where it all started—I am an introvert, and the first time I spoke was when I was 15 years old when I was forced to speak at the end of a summer camp. All I had to do was to come up to the front and share with the rest of the participants of that summer camp what I wanted to become in life.
I remember coming up front, and everybody else had spoken and I was the last person, and I came up front, and I couldn't say anything. I didn't say anything for 5 minutes.
And then I went back to my seat. So, I believe I'm not a born speaker then!
RF: But you did say that you first spoke at 15, but I want to clarify—you learned to speak before that?
MV: I could speak, but not in public. I could speak.
RF: Was your family introverted in general? Did you have brothers and sisters?
MV: I have an elder sister and an elder brother, and my father always encouraged us to speak, and be more understanding.
My brother was better at that time, he was at least more extroverted and had more friends and he was very good at expressing himself.
And you know, as always in families, you get this problem, "Well, how about you?"
You get some gentle push to speak.
And I tried to avoid that actually, maybe because then I was more comfortable being myself.
I am an introvert, and there's no doubt about it.
RF: So ladies and gentlemen, if you're just listening to this, you can be an introvert and still be a champion, a World Wide Champion of Public Speaking, right?
It can happen.
RF: Now, do you still consider yourself an introvert?
MV: Oh yes, I believe I am an introvert because during parties, let's say, I won't be the center of attraction in the party.
But what I do enjoy is talking to people. I enjoy interacting with people but I do like to have my quiet time.
That's when I recharge myself.
So typically I still consider myself as an introvert.
Now, when it comes to your daytime job, are you speaking for a living? I know that you've got your business Next Level Leadership Readiness Expert or expertise.
What is it that you do right now?
MV: Okay, so my background is, I'm an engineer, I've done consulting, I've done management consulting. At some point, I moved into speaking, coaching, and things around that.
I do a lot of speaking, I do a lot of coaching, and I do run my own programs, public programs.
So, that's what I'm busy with.
RF: Are you taking some of the engineering background and meticulousness that happens and the attention to detail to your speaking essentially?
Is it kind of a linear path of what you've done?
Or did you become an engineer and then maybe you weren't happy with it, and just totally flipped to the other side of the coin?
How did you bounce from one to the other?
MV: It's funny because my engineering, the title is called “Electronics and communication”. And my father used to say, "Focus more on the communication."
I was not so focused on that.
But after starting to work, I realized the importance of communication and how that can take your further in life, but I never attempted anything of that sort.
Eventually, when I got into consulting and management consulting, because I have reinvented myself a number of times, from engineer to consulting, to management consulting, running my own consulting company, then becoming a speaker, then being a leadership coach...I reinvented myself several times.
And the reason was a lifelong process of self-discovery and change and learning.
I didn't have a linear path, I just read the signs and took a chance and then followed the signs.
RF: That's an interesting way of thinking about it, and how you're sort of on this—it's like you know that you were going, but you didn't know where you wanted to end up, and along the way, you were just sort of following the signs that might make sense in this transition period. Is that about right?
MV: So eventually, I realized after I learned and mastered kind of public speaking, I became more effective in public speaking and I became a professional speaker.
I also got this idea of helping others to be speakers and leaders, for two reasons: one, I realized it's actually a skill that can be learned, I never thought it was, and never thought I could be a speaker on the world's stages.
And also people started coming to me saying, "How did you do that? You're the last guy I ever imagined to be on the stage. How did you do that?"
Then it became like an organic process of me learning and teaching.
What engineering really, really helped me with was when I was trying to learn and master these skills, I would analyze a lot of different speakers, and speeches, and what's effective, how to engage the audience.
I spent about a year learning about humor, emotions, stories.
A lot of the things I learned I documented and broken down into systems, processes, and formulas which made it easier for me to teach and coach.
So eventually, looking back it was like connecting the dots, everything that happened really helped to make me who I am.
Looking forward, I believe I found my dream job and I really love what I do, and I really enjoy helping others to achieve what I have achieved.
RF: That's awesome and you've been there, done that, to help them.
I like this engineering component that's like, you're almost like a speakeneer—how do we combine a speaker with engineer? It sounds very tactical.
Now, when did you first get involved with Toastmasters?
Was that a gateway to the speaking, or was it an afterthought?
How did that come into the development and along the roads, like what dot was it?
MV: Okay, so around 2003 I was still working in the management consulting with a very large management consulting organization.
I remember going to my boss, I had been working there for 6 years, and I was very happy because every year I'd get a pay rise, a promotion, a new position, and I was happy.
But eventually, it stopped.
Then I realized, "What happens now?" So, I went to my boss and said, "How come you never gave me a promotion or a pay-rise this year?"
And he said, "Manoj, let me be very honest with you, you don't have what it takes to go to the next level. You've reached your potential."
And I was initially disappointed, but then I thought, "At least he is being honest with me."
That's when I started really looking at what was I missing. And some people told me, "You should get an MBA." So I went to Imperial College London and took an MBA. But that didn't change anything in my career.
That's when, for the first time, I started observing who is really progressing in their career, who is getting the next level faster, who was really progressing in personal life and in professional life, who was becoming an influencer.
Then I realized that there are 5 core skills you need to master, it is:
the ability to connect,
to lead and
to influence, (to sell, get people on your side).
I realized I'd never learned, I'd never taken the time to learn this.
One of the first things I did was leave my job and start my own consulting company, it was like jumping into the deep end of the pool.
So I was forced to learn these things, I was forced to come out of my shell. I had just had my first baby and I had a family to support.
But then I got really fascinated by this world of how people connect and communicate and network and lead and influence.
Public speaking was one of the last things I wanted to try, so it was not until 3 or 5 years later, I started thinking, "Now it's time for me to learn public speaking."
One thing led to another, I was also in Toastmasters trying to explore my skills.
But in the meantime, I was also trying to take opportunities to speak, like I was MC-ing, I have tried out stand-up comedy, and I was fortunate to be among the top 25 stand-up comedians at the International Comedy Festival in Hong Kong. I took part in this world championship in public speaking.
And then I just got fascinated by this journey of self-discovery, learning, it was almost like reinventing myself.
So I just immersed into that and I started paying less attention to the consulting work I was doing, even though it was like huge revenue that was coming in from consulting, but my heart was in learning these new skills.
I went to the Championship of Public Speaking because one of my mentors, who was in Toastmasters said, "No, you need to have a goal," and he said there was something about the world championship in public speaking.
Then he showed me some speeches, especially of Lance Miller. He was the 2005 World Champion and he said “You can speak like him!”
Then that emerged as a goal, "Okay, maybe I can pursue that."
So I put some meaning towards all the learning I was doing in public speaking, I got an opportunity to apply it somewhere.
Then later, of course, I got invited to speak, and I became a professional speaker, but the whole objective was just going with the flow, whatever showed up at that time.
RF: Right, just kind of not worrying about the famine part, but just feasting on anything that came your way, and that gave you that rapid exposure, and then more stage time, and it sounds like one thing led to another.
MV: Yes that's true.
I think the key was my passion. The passion I developed for public speaking. it didn't feel like work. I just really loved analyzing speeches, watching speakers, learning from them, applying it, and experimenting on different platforms. As I said, in speaking, in professional speaking, in stand up comedy, in MC-ing.
Then later, I brought in coaching, so eventually, everything got integrated and it kind of synthesized all the different experiences. I think that contributed to what I learned.
RF: One of the things that you said that stuck out as interesting. You mentioned you've put meaning towards the learning.
I just want to unpack that for a second, because a lot of people might hear what you're saying as far as,
"I got every chance I had to speak and I had listened and I took this, which I'm going to say is a speakeneering approach to it. Like I just got tactical and I came up with, and I watched everything."
But it wasn't just the physical act of watching these videos. I have a feeling that putting meaning towards that learning makes all that difference.
I'm curious about that switch. What was that inciting incident that went like, "I need to now not only do this but actually put meaning behind it."
Was it that goal to become a champion or was it something else?
MV: Oh yeah, so one of the key drivers I had was around that time, starting with 2005 or 2006, around that time, I was looking at the world and I was seeing good speakers were becoming influencers, and some of them influencing the world in a good way, and some of them influencing the world in a not so good way.
Then I realized that there were two sorts of people, the people who are confident, and the people who are competent.
My worry was that people who were not competent were getting too much confidence and influencing the world in the way they want it to be.
MV: Whereas, people who were really competent were not confident. And I thought I was in the second category. I had a lot of these experiences, but I was not able to influence anything.
Then I realized, if I become the World Champion or I become very good at this act of public speaking, I will be able to help a lot of people who were competent but not confident.
That's one of the reasons I started documenting everything I learned.
I have piles of books in my home, at my work, where I have systemized, I have put into systems what I learned.
My whole objective was that one day I should be able to teach my children, and whoever wants to take help from me.
So that was definitely a driver for me. Both my children are shy, they are introverted pretty much, but now they can speak, they themselves get invited to international conferences to speak.
My son is 14 years old, he recently spoke at the Women’s Economic Forum and so they can speak to like seven hundred, eight hundred people.
My objective at that time, when you say meaning it was not only for me, it's also the potential I saw that so many people can benefit, if I were to like push myself, because it is one thing to tell your children to speak up, but a better thing is to be a role model.
RF: Yeah. And the way that you even just said that, you said, "I put meaning in it, but it wasn't just me, it was the ‘(me)aning’ ".
You can say that, like you wrote down the word meaning and you have it start with ME, but it's not all about you at the end of the day.
The meaning comes from within you but for this "(me)aning" part.
The "(me)aning" is your children.
The "(me)aning" is this influence.
The "(me)aning", I like that.
MV: It's interesting what you said because I keep saying that there are 3 milestones in public speaking. I like the way you put it at me.
I say the first stage is called me. Me is when you are so focused on yourself, you want to look good on stage, you want to impress people, you want to be awesome.
It's all about me, me, me, me, me.
Most people are at the me stage, the first stage, that's why they have fear of public speaking, they always stress out when they are speaking.
And you go to the next stage, our next milestone, I call it the “message”, that means you want to say something that nobody has said before, so you want to impress the audience.
So, there are two layers, a layer of me and then the message, but I always say if you go to the third milestone, you will really connect with the audience, you will have less fear.
That stage I call “The Messenger” because what you are doing at the messenger stage is, you are sharing what you’ve learned.
You spend your lifetime learning something, which you are sharing, and your objective is to serve the audience.
When you're in audience service, there is no fear.
If you look at the very good influencers of the world, they are pure messengers.
Even the professional speakers: they appear as messengers. They're not trying to build themselves up, or their message up, but most likely coming and appearing as messengers.
So, I like the way you said “me(aning)”
RF: Yeah, I know, it is funny, you can talk about this, you've got to find meaning in your speech, but you've got to get past that first me, to get to the—I don't even know if we can make a word "aning", and it is just the second part of the meaning.
Do you know the differences between me, meaning and aning? Right, it kind of follows those three stages, I like that.
We are definitely getting into the speaker—I want to say, speaker and engineer, I am going to find the rhythm of it in a second here.
Let's talk about the stages and advice and what you would deliver to somebody if you had 10 to 15 minutes with one of the over three hundred thousand people who've already watched your speech, if they got a couple of minutes with you, and they are like,
"Please, tell me what you can in a short amount of time what's just going to take me to that next level, take my leadership and my readiness? How do my words get me there?"
What would you tell them?
MV: I would talk to them about my speech itself, the one that won the world championship was a general message.
RF: I'm saying what type of speaking advice would you give to the 300 thousand people who have already seen your speech?
Maybe they're inspired by it, and they are like, "Okay, I want to be world champion".
What are the tactical tips, what is the speaking advice, what is it that you can deliver to people and what do you tell them to help them on their journey to find their “(me)aning”?
MV: I believe anybody can be a fabulous speaker no matter where they start.
And this I'm saying based on my experience helping people who are so terrified to speak outside of their families.
So there's absolutely no doubt anyone can be a fabulous speaker, no matter where they start, given that they can speak, right, they can speak but to be on the stage is another thing.
Now the second thing is, I believe your heart has to be in the right place.
In the sense that your message, whatever you want to share, has to come from a deeper place, and your starting point is: what do you want to share with the world?
And coming back to the same question, if you have the whole world listening to you, what's the one thing you want to tell them, right?
So, even for the world championship speech, one of my starting points is, if I get 30 seconds to talk to the world, what would be the one thing I would say.
And I look at the world and I say—what I want to tell people is to be more tolerant, be more accepting, so that's where the whole concept of “pull less, bend more” comes in. That's my final speech.
That's a starting point in terms of that, but if you are crafting a speech, if you want to craft a speech, one of the first things I'd say is, “What is your F.U.N.D.A.?”
FUNDA is an acronym which means, after listening to your speech, what do you want your audience to: Feel, what do you want your audience to Unveil, what is the new thing you can tell them.
And that's the reason people come back to listen to you again, what is the new thing you can tell them, unveil.
The “N” stands for what do you want your audience to Notice?
And “D” stands for what do you want your audience to Do, and the “A” is what do you want your audience to Achieve.
And that is the objective of your speech.
And then eventually, of course, you will find stories to support those points and so eventually, it's actually as I said, first is to get the mindset ready. What's the value you want to give to the audience.
If I were to summarize that it would be as: mindset, message and mechanics.
So the mindset is believing that there is somebody out there who has to hear what you want to say and your message matters.
A message is of course what you want to share (that's where the FUNDA comes in.)
Then the mechanics of how you want to deliver those messages to the world.
RF: I am realizing here you are an engineer.
You've got these equations and formulas, and I dig that.
Are these—when you are looking at other speakers and you find they have a feel for it, and then they unveil something—are you constantly looking for these elements of other speeches to sort of combine into these new theories and new strategies, new packages for you in your own brain?
MV: Okay, maybe I didn't answer the previous question well, I realize that, but when I look at the FUNDA itself, I think that's a game changer in speaking.
Because what I'm also looking at is why does someone get like X amount of money for speaking and someone else gets $X plus $5,000 more, right?
And, I always go back to the FUNDA.
So you see, when I said ‘feel’, is that audience at a state, an emotional state, where they are starting listening to you? Your objective as a speaker is to take them to another emotional state by the end of your speech.
So if you start with that and have in mind, "What emotional state do want to leave my audience with?", that should be a driver for what you're going to speak about—what you will say.
So the unveil part is what is something new you can share with them.
This is why a lot of speakers stand out, and a lot of speakers fall short because they are just repeating what they already know, there's no reason why anyone should listen to you.
So all these elements I found are a game changer when we compare why some speakers are doing well, and others are not.
RF: And this is your own acronym, is that right?
MV: This is my own acronym. Of course, it looks commonsensical but I derived it a lot from watching speakers.
But I also heard people talking about having an “end objective”, like what do you want to think, feel, or do differently.
My contribution to this is generally the unveil, which most people miss out. And also the A, the Achieve.
We keep telling people what they need to do, but most speakers do not really present what they can achieve. The results they can achieve by following the steps.
RF: That's interesting, the combination there between what you're saying people will tell their audience what to do, but they don't make the connection on how they can achieve it.
Explain that difference, why not just FUND and why the FUNDA?
MV: Excellent. Just because I told you, Ryan, to do something,you're not going to do it.
RF: You just told me the FUNDA.
This is a great example, you told me to get the feel, to unveil, to get to notice, to do, and achieve. So, you just told me.
That's what I do.
MV: Yes, but if I were to tell you that what you achieve by implementing that is the following—if you have a clear FUNDA, your audience is going to think about how they can apply it in their life and how to be are very clear about what they are going to achieve, by applying what you just told them.
That's the reason they remember you, and that's the reason they will come back to you, and that's the reason they will call you.
What most often happens is people listen to you and they agree with you, but they don't really buy into that idea because they're not clear on how are they going to apply it in their life and what they will get by applying it.
It's the example of the “drill and the hole,” right? You probably heard this, you don't sell the drill, you sell the hole.
MV: So you want to make sure that you speak about the hole.
And they think, "This is how I can apply it, this is what I can see".
Sometimes, as speakers, we keep sharing but we don't really see how. And the whole idea of speaking is to make your audience the hero. You're not the hero.
And that's why I keep saying to be the messenger.
You're not the hero but the audience is the hero, and you show to the audience how they can be more successful by following your advice, and you're more like a guide, or a mentor—a messenger.
This is what they want unless it's again, we keep saying it in different ways, "What's in it for me," and things like that, but it says very clearly what they will achieve.
And if that's missing, they are not going to apply it, they are not going to see the results, and they are not going to remember you.
But imagine that you tell them something, you engage them properly and they are clear what they're going to get, and they are going to try it, and they are going to succeed, they're going to tell more people of how you helped them and you also create an impact, a longer impact.
RF: So, this idea of building the audience as the hero, and essentially what you're saying is a lot of speakers are telling everyone what to do, but they're not painting this picture of what this doing will help people to achieve?
RF: Okay. So let's go back to your 3 different stages, right, where the first stage is people finding the meaning, and then the second stage is essentially their message honed in, and then the third is they are being a messenger, right?
MV: That's right.
RF: So if you look at all three of those words, each one of them starts with ME. You've got the ME-aning, you've got the ME-ssage.
MV: The first one is M-E actually, the first one I said is ME, M-E. If you look at these 3 milestones, it's like the focus of the speaker.
The first stage is M-E, me, as in you're focused on yourself, and that's where most speakers are.
I also did the same thing when I was just speaking in the initial days, I used to buy a very expensive suit, expensive shoes, I liked to look great.
My focus was all on how I will look good, how I will appear.
RF: On this, ME stage, do you think that the speakers in this me stage, they are explaining the do, but at this point, it's all about them, so they're not really focused on how the audience would achieve.
So the me, I'm looking at the connection between these two, so at the me stage you're not going to get all of the FUNDA in there.
It sounds like the me is more focused on what you do, "Here's what I do, here's what I do, look at me, look at me," but at that beginning stage, it's almost like you're not set up for that achieve level?
MV: It's like a salesperson trying to sell something. If the salesperson is totally focused on himself, he's not going to make the sale.
RF: Right, he's selling the drill not the hole.
RF: So, you've got the me as the first.
MV: You can't just say "I have a great product, look at me, look at me" and this is the impression we get because when you start looking at speakers and speaking, people are impressed by speakers and want to be like someone.
Then they start to focus on building themselves up. Most speakers who have made the leap have found out that audience is the most important component in your speech.
RF: So, the second phase after me?
MV: After me is you start to believe that, "I need to give something of value to the audience," that's fine, but also your focus starts to say, "I want to stand out from everybody else."
RF: Would you call that your message?
MV: Yes, your message.
You're trying to share something unique.
You are investing time and energy to get something unique that totally stands out from what everybody else is giving. Right?
RF: Yeah, and then the final is you've achieved that, and now it's just about delivering—
MV: So, when you are a messenger, let's say, Ryan, you are a speaker on my topic, I'm going to give you credit, and share your content with my audience, right?
Because my objective is not that “I be great”, my objective is I learned something, Ryan, and this is what you can also use.
RF: Gotcha, that's really the break from the me.
MV: Now you are having a very abundant mentality or the mindset where you are not really focused on yourself, you're not special, you're an ordinary person, a person who did the hard work, you've learned a lot of things.
But now I'm going to share what I learned with you, the audience, so that you will benefit and achieve what you want to achieve.
So, that's very liberating as it looks like common sense but most people do not do that.
And once you start doing that, the audience really benefits because they don't have to go through your long journey or your pain, to learn, and implement those learnings.
So you are really shortening the learning curve of the audience, and they love that.
RF: You're becoming a "(me)ssenger", the second part of the ME.
So you've got the me, then you've got the “(me)aning” then you've got the (me)ssenger which is the me + ssenger.
What I am really feeling is, I mean, it is you inherently up on stage, it is you being that messenger, but until you have that message and until you can get over yourself, you're not going to get to that level where you really have that impact and really have that influence.
So let's talk a little bit more about that influence now—when you're able to get traction and you're past the me stage and you're in between the message and the messenger, you're honing in so that you can be unique to get to the point to where nothing matters other than just spreading this one unified message.
How do these people who want to spread their message get more stage time?
What is it that you do to help advise people to get more stage time and to get to the point where they're +$5,000 or +$10,000? Do you have any tips or tricks?
MV: So I keep telling people I don't use SEO, I don't use Infusionsoft, I don't have a marketing team and a lot of things that most people do.
But what I realize is, the number one investment you can make is to spend the time to prepare that 40-minute keynote speech.
When your keynote is ready, you'll get booked to speak.
So whatever you do, the first thing is to make sure you're working on that keynote speech, whatever that is, but that has to be number one, that's the number one reason you get invited to speak.
Now, if you, and as you probably know Ryan, if you are not seen on the internet you do not exist.
RF: If you're not LinkedIn... you're linked out.
MV: You don't exist!
If you still haven't got a speaking opportunity, and you are still trying to start out, then most of your time should go on writing that keynote speech.
Now, if you are online, what you could do is to become the number one curator for your topic.
So if your topic is on leadership, start not just your content, because you have to create as well, but also get the best content and share with your network.
I am seeing several of my students, I help them develop their keynote speeches.
They implemented that on LinkedIn, what they do is they take the best articles or content for their topic and start just sharing it to the network, they're just feeding the network.
Marshall Goldsmith is a number one leader, one of the things he says is, "Feed the reel."
Share more! As you share more, you get associated with your topic.
For example, if I am sharing on leadership I share with the hashtag #leadership, or if my topic is, let's say, sales or creativity...I start getting associated with my topic.
And the more you are present online, you'll get invited to speak.
Now when you get invited to speak, you also have those tools, the keynote ready which you can use.
Once you do your first keynote, you record it, and put it on YouTube, you are again putting yourself in front of more people.
You're more visible, you are online, the better your chances are to get invited to speak.
And again, as I said, the first thing with the keynote is the key.
If you deliver a good speech, inevitably somebody in the audience is going to invite you to speak somewhere else.
And as you go along, you get better at it and you increase your fees, and you build yourself as an influencer.
You are actually, I'd say from the position of being a messenger, your objective is you become the number one source of information, the aspirational group should be the number one source for information on your topic.
RF: I love the phrase, "The keynote is the key."
I've heard a lot of people say a lot of things and that should be your tagline buddy. That's a good one. That's your next book or blog right there.
The keynote is the key. I will write that one down.
Well, this is interesting, let's talk about this keynote for a second, because what are some of the key elements to the keynote that will be the key to getting to that next level?
So there are two parts, right, what are the keys of it, and then, how do you actually share that you have the keys to that car?
Right, this conundrum of building something, but not having a place for it yet, so I love the "know your key" takeaways.
MV: Okay, so if you are building a keynote, there are several—I said mindset, message, mechanics, the mechanics can be very varied, but essential elements are the following: the first is, your 40-minute keynote should meet the FUNDA.
It could be a FUNDA you want to define. My FUNDA could be helping you to get to the next level in your career, business and life.
If your topic is creativity you want your topic on distinction, or on branding, elevator pitch, whatever it is.
Now, your keynote should have a FUNDA, and your keynote should meet the FUNDA.
The second one is, of course, to get on stage, to get at least somewhere to speak, a lot of events are happening in the world, and it's not that difficult to get a slot to speak if you ask enough people.
Now the third element is very important. You need to use that keynote to build your credibility and authority.
That means you've got the stage time, you've got the opportunity to speak.
Now this is your opportunity to show that you are the authority on that topic, and you build your credibility.
Now the next element is you need to engage your audience. A lot of people get confused by this part, engage the audience, what does that mean?
I would invite you to rethink engagement.
Engagement is not just humor, asking questions. Of course, these are all embedded elements of storytelling, but the key thing in engagement is make your audience think about their lives. If you can get them to think about their lives, you win.
Because they are with you, they are going to listen to you more.
This is what I would call a “keynote revenue model”.
So you keep doing this, and the more you speak, the better you get, the more you research, the more you know.
And if you're willing to take feedback from the audience, which I do, at least from my critical speeches, that's why you keep improving.
In fact, I was researching on feedback from that work, I call it the ARROW form: Audience, Reactions, Response, Objects, Ambitions.
So I asked them questions like (you can download them for free form my website):
But the question I ask is, "What do you like, what missed, what can be improved, what do you think was a message of my speech, how can I improve?"
Since I'm not a native speaker I ask, "Is there any word I said you didn't understand? Did I make pronunciation errors?" "How do you think I can enhance this?"
You'd be amazed by the amount of feedback you can get from the audience.
Essentially the audience is starting to write your speech now because the next time you’ve got more information.
So a lot of people are waiting to get listed on a speakers bureau or for someone to help them find a speaking slot, but the more time you spend on the keynote and work on it, your time will come.
RF: I dig this.
So I've got a new word for you, we're full today, but what do you think about this concept of engagement to the audience like you said, for some reason, in my brain I thought "themgagement".
Because you said, "You really have to engage them," so it's like "themgagement."
You've got your acronyms, I've got my words, together we can be very dangerous.
Just wait until we come up with an acronym that's made up of the new words! Then it gets crazy.
MV: And that's the strategy people use as well, they come up with their own words to get them associated with those words.
You know Marshal Thurber, I heard a lot about him. He's actually a coach for a lot of these famous speakers like Tony Robbins, and others.
One of the things that I have seen him do—I met him in Singapore—what he does is he comes up with the words, he makes up words that get associated with his brand.
RF: I like this guy already. So, the key is the keynote, to getting up on stage.
And it's a matter of a keynote that you take the key and you bring it back to the key manufacturing when they make a key.
And the machine is the people in the audience that are actually giving you feedback on it, I think that's an important feedback loop because you're talking about, you have to focus on that one keynote, but it lives, it breathes, it changes over time.
MV: Yeah, and actually I should add the keynote is what opens the doors to opportunities. That's extremely important.
And what I realize is that the more and more you speak, you get associated also with the keynote. People start booking you for the same keynote because they just want to recreate the same experience.
RF: So how do you let people know that you have the keynote? Because you develop it, you spend the time, you invest in it.
Do you have to get up on stage to have it, like there's this, "I want to give a keynote, but I haven't given a keynote, but I've developed a keynote and I want to give the keynote." So walk around with a bunch of keys.
MV: Okay, great. Let me give you a true story.
I delivered a 7-minute speech called “the mousetrap”, and I thought it was going to be a great speech and it was a great speech, it was speaking about events in the Middle East, the Arab Spring.
I was telling how this was going to impact the wider world, how this was going to spill over to other nations, and not just a thing that will stay within the Middle East.
I thought it was a brilliant speech and I put it on YouTube.
One year later, I look at it and it's only got 200 views and most of them by me checking it.
So, I was expecting this to go viral! I thought a million people would watch this!
What I did is I took down the speech, and I converted it to a 40-minute keynote.
I delivered once, I delivered it twice, and the third time I delivered it, someone came to me to ask, "Manoj, where can I buy the book?"
I said, "There's no book."
He said, "What do you mean there's no book, it's such a brilliant topic."
I said, "Is it?"
Okay, so I went on to write a book called “Mastering leadership: The mousetrap way” that became my signature keynote.
And it has opened so many doors for me, and doors by the number one leadership thinker in the world Marshall Goldsmith and several others CEOs and executives.
It opened more doors.
Now, to roll back, the point is, your keynote needs to find its audience, So the first 7-minutes I was online, but I was not just adjusted to the audience.
If you can curate content and start to be known for your topic, for your own curation.
Once you have one keynote ready, let's say you get on a stage and speak, put it on YouTube or take the best part of it and start sharing on LinkedIn or Facebook, and other social media.
The more you build your presence on it and you need to believe that it's going to come, you need to keep adding value, and of course, you need to get really good at your craft.
So again, going back to the keynote should be really good. If you have a really bad keynote no amount of marketing is going to get you an opportunity to speak.
RF: Or if you have too many, you're going to be like the janitor full of keys, thinking you can try to open up the doors.
So what is your keynote now, what is the FUNDA of your message now?
MV: My message on “the mousetrap”, I speak on a number of topics. One of the key ones I get called for multiple times is on “the mousetrap way.” Of course, I speak on diversity.
So let's look at one on diversity which is called what is your EQ again, my coin is called diversity caution.
FUNDA is you need to believe and understand that the world is getting more and more diverse.
People are converging into cities with multiple backgrounds.
You're not going to just tolerate diversity or encourage diversity, you need to learn to encourage diversity and the benefits of that and the unveil part is how diversity is improving your creativity.
And I show proof of being diverse, expose the diverse ideas that make you more creative.
Of course, the do part is to embrace the diversity and know how what you achieve is being more creative and getting more people to flock to you.
RF: What's cool about the FUNDA is you can actually sit there and explain the elements of your keynote or of your speech to people in a way that sort of covers all those bases.
I'm almost thinking at a certain point like you FUNDA people or, "Hey have you been FUNDA-ed."
I wonder if you can make an acronym past tense?
MV: I keep asking people who come to me for my program called the KeynoteAcademy.com so people who come to me for coaching with their keynote, one of the things I ask them first is what is their FUNDA.
And that is probably the first time most of them have heard, "Oh, I need to have a FUNDA."
Most people are just sharing stories without any common thread that connects and holds everything together.
So that's when they start awakening to the concept, "Oh, I need to have a FUNDA." So I found it a very central piece of your speech or keynote.
RF: I like it.
And maybe we can kind of close with this, I would maybe challenge you to look at the FUNDA and break it into two parts, maybe to mess with people a little bit more to reinforce.
Because at the end of the day, one of the reasons I love speaking, especially when I'm able to speak all across the world is that it is fun, duh…!
There is maybe something there, like look, at the end of the day, you've got all these different elements we can talk about the FUNDA, but at the end of the day, it's got to be fun, duh...!
Actually, it might even be interesting if you look at it, the first, the feel, unveil and to notice, that's kind of the core like maybe that's where you have your fun.
And then the other is like, what everybody else forgets, like the duh, which you've got to do.
You've got to do it, and then you've got to achieve it.
I appreciate you letting me play with your acronyms and the words here to kind of create some stuff.
I have enjoyed this, I'm forever affected by the FUNDA, I think that like now I have FUNDA in my blenda. This is cool.
If somebody were to reach out, I mean you mentioned a couple of different areas but what is the best place for somebody to reach out and say, "Hi" and get FUNDA-ed?
MV: You can contact me any time on LinkedIn, Google my name...you can find me.
RF: Cool and what's your favorite social platform, is that it, are you a LinkedIn guy?
MV: I'm getting more into LinkedIn, but I am also on Facebook, Google my name, you can find everything about me.
MV: My website would be, I think the ideal website for keynote would be www.thekeynoteacademy.com, that's where I coach people on keynotes.
RF: And that's where everyone, you are going to have lots of fun, duh..!
Hey, well, this was a lot of fun, I look forward to seeing you around the world sometimes. Who knows, maybe we'll share the stage but I'll keep implementing these little nuggets that I've learned and I definitely think that my keynote needs a little bit of sharpening.
And it's a good reminder because the keynote is the key.
MV: It was fun talking to you, Ryan.
RF: Yeah, absolutely, looking forward to being in touch.
All right, well everyone else out there, if you enjoyed this, then definitely give it a review, definitely check out what he's got going on.
We have plenty more podcasts for you to check out from speakers all around the world.
My name is Ryan and I feel honored to have shared this space with a world champion of public speaking.
Everyone, bring your hands together, if you're in your car, just maybe one clap, we don't want you to be dangerous.
But that is no simple feat, so mad props for that and I'm sure you're going to take that influence and inspire people, show them the FUNDA for diversity, show them the FUNDA for inclusion and show them the FUNDA to build and break out of their own mousetraps. Sounds good, buddy.
MV: Thanks for having me, Ryan, nice talking to you.
RF: Alright, more bend, less bow. Or wait—
MV: Pull less, bend more.
RF: Pull less, bend more.
Alright, everybody, we are out of here, we'll see you on the next World of Speakers podcast, bye now.
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.
We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.
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