Ryan Foland speaks with Ted Rubin, a leading Social Marketing Strategist. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to Social Media Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to Say Media, as well as being listed in Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. He talks about marketing and resiliency.
Ryan and Ted talk about a variety of topics in this no-nonsense talk about how to excel as a professional speaker, and how to market yourself and get more bookings.
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Listen to this podcast to find out:
- When and how to raise your speaking fees
- How to quickly adapt your content to suit the needs of your ever-changing audience
- How to use MC-ing to segue into being booked for more high-level events
- What effect your mindset can have on your speaking career
- Two expert tips on how to use social media at a conference to get more bookings.
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Ted Rubin: Hey everyone, this is Ted Rubin here on the World of Speakers podcast with Ryan Foland.
I had an amazing time talking about wrestling, parenting, “This Dad Won't Quit, No Let Up, Return on Relationship” and how to get more speaking gigs.
Ryan Foland: Ahoy everyone. We are back. And today we have a special show because you are going to get into the conversation between Ted Rubin and me.
Ted is most famously known for his philosophies on “Return on Relationships” and that ties into not letting up, and being a dad that just won't quit.
Ted, welcome to the show! How are you, sir?
Ted Rubin: Ryan, I'm so happy to be here. Thanks so much for having me.
I'm excited for this conversation. I've been looking forward to it, and I am so glad that Samantha Kelly, the Tweeting Goddess introduced us.
Ryan Foland: Yes, she was great. We had a lot of fun, and I am sure we're going to have fun here.
Let's kick it off with storytelling.
As you are aware, storytelling is a huge part of any type of communication. As humans, we love stories, and I think it's fun to hear stories.
If I only had a story or a series of stories from your past that I was going to use to introduce you to somebody, as in,
"Hey, you've got to meet this guy Ted, he was on my show."
"What's he all about, Ryan?"
"Well, this one time..."
...and we can kind of unpack that and get to know you a little bit at the top of the show here before we pick your brain for all of your unconventional wisdom on speaking.
Ted Rubin: I think that sounds great because anybody that knows me knows that I love storytelling.
I find it's a really important part of brand building, personal and business.
I tell a lot of stories when I speak.
That's a funny question because how do you tell a story or pick a story from your past that really represents who you are?
Well, I grew up with a dad that I really believe this whole “Return on Relationship” philosophy kind of started with him.
My dad was a great family man and a great friend. I always say I try to lead by example versus telling people what to do.
Now, of course, we all speak, we all write, so in some ways, we're telling people what to do.
If you don't walk the walk, it's difficult to do that.
I grew up with this guy that would pull over in the middle of the street to pick up garbage cans, to fix things on people's lawns, to help our neighbors shovel their walks when they couldn't do it.
I was young and I observed this for a long time until I got to 9 or 10 when my dad would pull over and go, "Okay, get out of the car, I'm driving. Take those garbage cans."
I remember looking at him and saying, "We don't even live here, we don't know these people," really kind of the way a young kid would think.
Because you kind of think of your own world, and he is like, "Well, first of all, there are other people that will be coming by here and it's going to get in their way. Second of all, why wouldn't you want to help people?"
He would always say to me, "Do for others without expectation of anything directly in return." Again, as a kid you go, "Well, okay, it's nice to be nice."
I talk a lot about being good to people. I think I learned that from my dad.
He said, "Look, if you want to think about it personally, if you want to think about how does it affect you, is that it'll come back to you because you build yourself a reputation."
I like to say now that I've developed these concepts that a brand is what you do, a reputation is what people remember and share.
I think I learned that only from my dad. He says, "People come to know you as someone that wants to do for people."
And then, as a segue, I got very, very lucky. I wrestled all through junior high and high school.
Ryan Foland: Hey, me too. We are an interesting breed, so now we're all of a sudden connected. I've spent years on the mat. What weight did you wrestle at?
Ted Rubin: It depends what year, of course. I started out in the 7th grade weighing 63 pounds and wrestling in the 72-pound weight class. I went one in six and the good news is—I won my last match.
This is a great segue into the story.
My wrestling coach became a very, very big, important part of my life.
My dad worked a lot. We had 3 boys in the family, and his dad passed away at a young age. It was always important that he was earning.
My coach was incredibly proactive in our lives as a mentor.
And by the way, he is like my second father, he and his wife were like my second parents. I see them every year, they live in Pine, Arizona now, about two hours outside of Phoenix.
My coach taught me this whole idea that became part of my life later about no let-up. He used to say to people that it never ends, there is no let-up in life.
What he'd say is that there's always the next match, the next tournament, the next challenge in your life helping other people.
And when some wise guy would say, "What about when you die?" He'd say, "Well, then your legacy will serve". And this message just really lived with me.
My mother was a teacher in the school system and she really encouraged this relationship and it kind of took me through my whole life. What's led into the final part of my story is that I had this major challenge of keeping my daughters in my life.
Back in 2007/2008, my ex-wife tried to take the kids away from me and I spent 3 to 4 years and 7 figures fighting to keep them in my life.
It became pretty well-known because it hit the newspapers when she was the first woman in the United States to be convicted of child alienation, which is a problem for a lot of families.
People used to say to me, "How do you keep at this, it's day after day." I had to stop working for about 6 months. I had to find a career where I could integrate both.
I just looked at them and said, "There's no let-up, you just don't stop."
That's what led into this “Dad Won't Quit”, because even to this day, my daughters are 22 and 24 or approaching that, and it's still a challenge for them to have a relationship with me.
It started with my dad about doing for others, and how important relationships are, and how important it was not to worry about the recognition. That kind of led into my coach who is still a major part of my life, who just taught me about always persisting, never giving up, that there will always be challenges. And then it led into this challenge with my daughters that still exists today.
My younger daughter is graduating from UPenn this May, I'm having dinner with her the night after her birthday in Philly next week.
No matter how my expectations have to change, no matter what I get, I know that I will always do everything I can to influence them, to help them, to be there to support them.
If anybody wants to hear about this, there is a video out there called "The Dad That Doesn't Quit" it's on my YouTube channel, it's on my Facebook page, just google "The Dad That Doesn't Quit," maybe add Ted Rubin to it, it will come up.
I talk about my coach, I talk about my dad, I talk about my daughters.
Ryan Foland: Wow. All of that together, it made me think of like a New York stock exchange, with the ups and the downs and constant fluctuation with all of these different inputs and outputs and you are literally just fighting the market and you are, as we all are, sort of victim to our outside circumstances.
One thing it sounds like you've really taken control over is not only how you respond to it, but your attitude and this sort of relentless persistence in doing what you know you need to do. Not worried about the return but focused more on the relationship.
That's very much an interesting story, I feel like I know you pretty well now just based on that.
Ted Rubin: Well, either you know me or you're very intuitive. I love what you just said because you hit right on the mark of what I talk about all the time.
You can't change, necessarily, or control what others do but you can always be in charge of how you react to it.
I've learned a lot from my daughters about myself, about other people, about marketing, about how you have to learn to communicate with people the way they want to be communicated with, which I think parents and marketers have to learn.
I've got to tell you, Ryan, about what you mentioned. I find this a lot, that when you are a wrestler you learn this stuff because you're the only one out there.
Again, I'm sure you heard this from your coach, you can't affect how hard that person trains or what they do but you can always take control of what you do and what your attitude is to each match and to your life.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, my wrestling coach was actually Tito Ortiz in Huntington Beach. He was my coach at Marina High School and he was super impactful in my life, and talk about a passionate person, I mean you see his passion now and he's a little bit larger than life because of all his fame and success.
I will never forget, and whenever I'm in that deep, dark spot or moment or when things fall apart, I feel like I'm on the mat getting squished about to be pinned or something like that, and your eyesight is on the mat and you're looking over, and he would just be on the ground, on the side, like just screaming just, "You don't let up!"
And all I remember would be seeing him and feeling that energy and just going, "Raaa!"
Just finding some inner strength to just flip it around and turn the pin the other way.
Even if I ended up losing it was always so powerful to have that somebody else helping you to tap into what you have, you just might not recognize.
Ted Rubin: I know we're a little sidetracked here, but I can't believe that you just said that because those are exactly my experiences.
In my senior year, I'm in the divisional tournament, my coach had to get over to another mat. It was probably the first time he wasn't on the side of my mat for my match, and I am wrestling some kid that I crushed during the season and as we go into the third period I'm losing.
My coach comes walking over, and I know you've seen this expression like the handler of the side, the eyes dart out of his head, and it's kind of comedy, he is like, "What the fuck is going on?"
Ryan Foland: “What did we spend all this time training? For what did I kick your ass for the last 6 months just for this moment?”
Ted Rubin: Right, and you know you have that moment they can talk to you in between periods, and I'm losing. The coach is looking at me and the other kid's doing — do you remember when kids would do the running around the mat to make it look like they weren't tired?
Ryan Foland: Oh yeah.
Ted Rubin: And you're sitting on the edge and you're wheezing, trying to get air, and I am looking at my coach and going, "Coach, I don't know what's going on. I'm done."
And he looks at me and says, "You're not done. All the training, everything we've done, just get out there."
And the minute I touch the guy in the third period, it all changed. I ended up spinning him around 30 seconds later.
It's just like you said, it's kind of that look, the same thing for me, when I'm going through something like that I can see my coach is looking at me going, "What the f**k?"
Ryan Foland: That just gave me the goosebumps, it brings me back.
For those of you listening, what are you guys talking about getting so animated by wrestling, this is not WWS wrestling, by the way.
This is the most one on one, the most humanistic battle-istic you against somebody who is pretty much the same weight unless they are really good at cutting weight and building it back up.
It's just such a pure, there's something that makes you feel so alive, you get so broken, you get so beaten, it's crazy.
For those of you that are not wrestlers, yes, we're having a wrestler moment.
I think this is a great transition because when you're trying to become a speaker, you might not think of it as really you against one person.
You might think about it as you against the world or like all these other people that are in your same class, your same weight, they're talking about the same topic at the same conferences, and you're kind of in a pseudo-match against them.
I want to know if you were my wrestling coach, and by wrestling, I mean speaking, what would be some of the unconventional wisdom that you would take a knee and talk to me about on the mat in the third period, right before I go out there knowing that everything's on the line?
Ted Rubin: Okay, that's a little different than how do I quit my persona or who am I or what am I sharing with people. But that direct, I'm out there, don't rely on your pre-prepared presentation.
Always pay attention to the audience and get feedback from them.
Now, sometimes that's difficult. Usually not at the beginning of your career, because it's unlikely you're going to be on a stage with 5,000 people in the audience, with lights shining in your face.
When you're first starting, the odds are you're going to be on a smaller stage, with fewer things going on, and it's easier to do this.
But I always look at the audience.
I always tell anybody who's getting up there for the first time that I look for cues. I look for whether they understanding the points I am making, are they nodding their heads, are they paying attention to me.
What I try—and I know this is hard, I'm not expecting that somebody the first time can necessarily do it, I will tell you I wasn't able to do it my first time, but I've always been pretty good in front of an audience but the best advice I got was — don't have a pre-prepared script, which was perfect for me because I hate pre-prepared scripts.
So getting that from someone who was a professional and who had seen me speak, helped.
Keep your slides simple.
Use them as just a lead in to what you want to talk about, and have the ability to change on the fly if the audience is not responding to what you're saying.
Now, in some ways that's advanced advice, although I will tell you that a lot of speakers that are advanced in their career on speaking from a pre-prepared script can't do this because they've become so used to speaking from what they prepared.
For beginners, it's actually easier to learn because you don't have something to unlearn.
Project yourself, be empathetic, and then maybe we'll get into some personal things, but I am not the speaker that stands straight up, shoulders back, head cocked.
I think that's when people create who they are instead of actually being what they are or who they are.
Ryan Foland: Gotcha. Okay, so I am going to step back.
I just got so excited about the wrestling, I went to the final match and the big time and the big lights and everything, and that was a great answer for that.
Maybe let's reel it back and let's talk about where the real work happens, which is when you're practicing, when you're training, when you're drilling.
So reeling it back for those people who are maybe more in the beginning side or for people who are really advanced and want to get better by going back to the basics: What would some of the drills or training or advice be, maybe, before you get to the stage?
What are some of the things that you've done that help you to have this kind of off the cuff and authentic feel and vibe when it comes to the finals?
Ted Rubin: I don't know if this compares directly to wrestling because obviously in wrestling practice is really important.
But then again, it can relate because scrimmaging is important. I'm really a believer in just doing it.
Anybody that asks me about speaking I say, "Just do it, just jump in, pick a small, innocuous event and get up in front of people and talk".
Even if it's just in your company, even if it's volunteering to start a conference or start a meeting and being that person that starts a meeting for people and goes to the agenda.
Make it like you're at a cocktail party or a networking event and just hold forth, like you would if someone asked you a question about a topic you're passionate about.
I think in speaking, there's nothing like getting up in front of people.
It's not about getting up in front of the mirror, and again, remember— this is my take. I want to be really clear about this, this is how I view it.
I know there are other people out there who are tremendously successful, who practice over and over again and read their speeches. I don't do that at all.
To me, those speakers — I'm impressed by them, but I've never wanted to be them.
Ryan Foland: Here's a question for you, kind of going back to your past — have you always been an off-the-cuff kind of person?
Is that something that is just like part of your personality?
Whether it's a school presentation or something else — have you always just had this skill of being comfortable off the cuff?
Ted Rubin: That's a great question.
I wouldn't necessarily say I've always had this skill, but I've always had the desire to do it that way.
Part of it, to be honest, came from laziness when I was young.
It's funny! Because I wasn't lazy when it came to practice or wrestling, but I was lazy when it came to school work, and part of that is because I was fortunately very bright, school work came easily to me.
The preparation was not something I loved but that also led me to discover very quickly that I was very good off-the-cuff.
Then I discovered that I was actually better when I was off-the-cuff because it's what made me different.
Anybody can train to speak in front of an audience, repeat it over and over, push out the material.
But wanting to be able to read an audience and deliver the content that people like, it takes a lot of practice.
And for me, again, it was a tip I got from someone else who said to me,
"You're so good when someone just asks you a question around the wrestling mat or in-class or when a teacher just picks on you and you come up with something. It's something I think you should hone."
And then later — and I'm just going to jump ahead a little bit — when I started really speaking and earning from it — and I do a lot of things, speaking is not my main form of income— I got worried.
I'm doing this, all the same, using the same presentation, and a guy who I really respected, Raj Setty, who I was talking to about it, said,
"Ted, this is what you do best and it's what separates you from the pack; your ability to read an audience, your ability to deliver to that specific audience, and your ability to not have to prep.
In that respect your prep is getting to know who you're speaking to, knowing who the audience are."
The fact that you do a lot of the same things, again and again, makes you very good at it and people don't necessarily want someone who's going to try something new with their audience, they want someone that's going to get before the audience and know they're going to knock it out of the park.
For me, yes, it's something that I was naturally good at. I've always been a free talker, I've always been comfortable once I get into a conversation, and truth be told, it's how I develop most of my content.
I tell people, I try to say, "Hey, I'm not a good writer," and look, I'm not a writer either.
I'm a talker, I'm a reactor, and the vast majority of my content comes when I see other content produced and I react to it.
I learned early on the easiest way for me to produce blog posts and social posts was when I read something someone else wrote and either agreed or disagreed strongly.
And then I would start writing a comment, and I would turn those comments into blog posts.
And it kind of leads me to a little extension of this question, it’s the way I get the vast majority of my speaking gigs and the way I've gotten people to allow me to try speaking back to the beginning was because of all the content I produce, and all the opinions I publish, because people wanted to hear me expound upon them in front of an audience.
Ryan Foland: That's interesting and this is actually a really perfect transition in order to sort of dive into that.
Now really quickly, on the topic of this idea that you had, this off-the-cuff as a natural result of maybe being lazy and taking these opportunities off-the-cuff, I saw somewhere that you do hosting.
Is that something you still do by choice or by design, hosting different events?
Ted Rubin: I MC 40+ events a year.
Ryan Foland: Okay, I want to talk with you about that for a second. I love to MC as well. I actually call myself the Ginger MC, because I'm ginger and it just sort of works.
I wanted to know your experience with hosting as kind of a gateway drug to learning how to be more off-the-cuff.
Because there's nothing more exciting for me than hosting where you're literally: I don't know what I'm saying half the time before I say it, and that's what's exciting, and that's what creates the energy, and that's what you're able to vibe and feel off of.
Can you maybe speak on how hosting has been something to sharpen your axe of off-the-cuff, and how it's translated to you speaking more, essentially?
Ted Rubin: Well there are so many things that go into that.
First of all, I've been very fortunate. For the last six years—I'm in my sixth year—I've been MCing events for a company called Brand Innovators.
They do about 60 to 70 events a year and I have an annual contract with them. I probably do 65 to 70% of their events. My deal with them is whenever I can show up, I do.
It's a retainer deal that I get paid whether I speak in a month or I don't. It's also been a great stage for me, for many reasons.
Number one is it puts me, my brand marketer, Rolodex if anybody in the audience even knows what that word means, let's say contact list because a lot of the audience probably doesn't know what a Rolodex is.
But it expands every single month of every single year because the audience are brand marketers and it's also vendors who are there to work with the brand marketers.
So number one, it's a great relationship thing for me.
Number two is, over the years I have come to absolutely own their stage.
I can talk about anything I want, anytime I want, including personal things, politics, whatever.
That's your question, it's allowed me to hone things because I try out different things.
Anytime I want to do a keynote for them—because they have day-long events—if I say, "Hey, I want to try something new," they give me a slot.
Even if they don't give me a slot, I like to say, "When I have the mic, I own the stage and I can talk about anything I want”.
I am not the MC you hire—and I'll tell you who's great at this part, Jay Baer is great at MCing when there's a lot of prep involved. when you have to do research. when you have to know everything about your speakers.
I don't do that, I am the off-the-cuff MC.
I'm the guy that gets on stage to open, and talks about the daily news or what's going on or something that's bugging me.
Or something that I'm keying on this year because I think it's important, like customer experience with your marketing, or relationships, or just not sending a LinkedIn request without a personal note — or whatever that happens to be.
And then I bring the speakers together. I talk when someone gets off stage if there's time. I talk about what they talked about, I might make commentary on it.
I am known for—my blog is called Straight Talk. I tell it like it is.
The CMO could be coming up and I can say,
"Hey dude, just get those damn butts off your site because they're not ready for primetime and they suck and they ruin customer experience," as he's coming on stage and it's accepted because they know that's who I am.
So for me, it's given me the opportunity to build relationships, to grow my contact list, and also to like talk about anything that's on my mind.
And I can do it repeatedly throughout the day, so that's great.
And then it's also given me the opportunity like you said, to get more comfortable. I do so many of them that I'm on stage all the time.
Stepping on stage now is easy. it's given me a great way to test out things, like you said, and it's given me a very strong voice to the community, where I can speak about whatever's on my mind.
Ryan Foland: It's a great example of how speaking isn't just necessarily a keynote on stage. It could be hosting, it could be asking a question at a conference, it could be leading the meeting, it could be all these things.
I like this idea that it's all practice, and I like to say the one way to become a better speaker is just to speak more, and you can substitute speaking time for anything, really.
I think that's refreshing.
Ted Rubin: Let me jump in with something, because you made a point but first I want to say: the other great thing is if there's anybody on this call—and I'm assuming there are people that speak publicly—you'll know there are times when you come off the stage and you think you sucked but the audience is going crazy, because you know all the mistakes you made but nobody else does.
That's one of the biggest and most important key lessons: Don't worry when you make a mistake because nobody but you knows it.
And then I bet you there are times you come off the stage and it's like the Seinfeld episode where George has the great comeback but he doesn't use it in the meeting when someone insults him, and then he is desperate to get back into that meeting. We all come off the stage and if there is one more thing we forgot to say, we want that mic back so badly.
Well, guess what? When you're MCing, you get the mic back in 20 or 30 minutes.
And so you don't have to worry about those things you might have forgotten to say.
And that's one of the things that I love about it.
I also think what it is for all speakers if you get the chance to do it. It gives you that ability to get back on the stage, and even though you can't necessarily do that next time you are the keynote, it kind of gives you some closure on that. It makes you feel like a little bit better about that because you got your second chance and your third chance and your fourth chance when you're up on the stage all day.
I want to be perfectly honest that the next thing I want to say about something you just said I totally forgot what it was, so we can move on.
Ryan Foland: From that it's a perfect transition to kind of the final section here about how you get more stage time, how you've found more stage time.
Landing a deal with Brand Innovators to have a retainer for a yearly host that's rad.
There are all these things that you stumble upon, but if you were going to be coaching somebody who's coming up through the ranks what are some of the best pieces of advice you can give them when they hit that speaking mat?
Ted Rubin: Well first of all, here's the toughest transition.
The toughest transition is going from non-paid speaker to paid.
It's hard because what you have to learn is that saying, "No" defines you way more than saying, "Yes".
Most speakers start out with unpaid gigs, usually unpaid, zero-pay: no travel, no nothing.
Ryan Foland: Sometimes it costs them money, they're actually paying for it, right?
Ted Rubin: Well that happens a lot with companies. That's a great point, by the way.
If you are at a company that's a vendor that pays to have speaking time, then volunteer, be the one that speaks, be their go-to person because you're not paying, they are paying.
They're also thrilled that you're doing it, they are paying for your travel and it gets you up on a stage.
Then the transition comes when people see you on the stage and say,
"Hey, Ryan, I know you were here for [XYZ] company last time, but would you like to come to this event and speak for us?"
Of course, you're so thrilled you accept it without even thinking about pay. You might find out there's no pay, there's no travel.
The next transition is they will start paying for your travel, which is great!
By the way, the best time to start this is when you're working for a company and have a salary.
You've got a full-time gig and a lot of companies. Even if it's not specifically for them, if they're smart and if you're smart because you weave some of your company stuff into it, or at the very least, your name and your title puts their name in front of an audience.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, brand halo.
Ted Rubin: A lot of these companies will let you do that but then there comes a time where you start getting asked to speak a lot, where you're going to have to put your foot down and say,
"I need to be paid."
What's going to happen is you're going to lose some gigs.
People are going to say, "We don't have a budget for it," and there is going to come a point, and this is a critical point if you want to make money, is you have to say, "No" and it's going to be damn hard.
You want to go to an event, it's a great stage and I got to tell you, most of the big events, even a lot of the speakers you think are getting paid are not getting paid.
Social Media Marketing World — they don't pay speakers.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, great example.
Ted Rubin: And there's a whole bunch more of them — Content Marketing World and all these others.
Sure, the biggest names get paid, but a lot of guys who you think are big names getting paid, they are not.
A lot of these guys who are speaking in a lot of places are not getting paid.
Now, either they're hoping that they can turn it into pay, they are looking to be in front of audiences, they have a great time, eventually they go to a party that's great (but it's not going to help you make money) or they're driving business to their company.
Like Jay Baer I am sure in the beginning, and I can't speak for him, but he had a great purpose and he was very successful, he drove a lot of business to convince and convert.
And then he turned that into an amazing speaking career.
Scott Stratten was driving business to his agency until he realized he could make more money just speaking and he became probably one of the most successful guys in the business.
Brian Cramer was driving business to PureMatter until things changed, and now I know Brian gets paid when he speaks because that's a big part of his business.
When I was in e.l.f. Cosmetics, when I was at Collective Bias, I spoke a lot and didn't get paid because it was good for my company, it was great for that company, I started to get my travel paid for.
When I left Collective Bias, even though I am still a shareholder, I made it very clear to people when I first got asked to get speak at Brand Innovators, it was because Mastercard was doing an event at their place.
Brand Innovators does events at Major Brands. I had been doing consulting for them and they told them they want me to speak, Brand Innovators spoke to me,
"We would love to have you,"
I go, "Great, here is my fee,"
they said, "We don't pay fees,"
I said, "Then I don't speak. This is a big part of my business."
At that time, Mastercard stepped up and paid my fee, and then Brand Innovators loved me, I built a very quick relationship with Mark Sternberg and Brendon Gutman, the two founders, and they immediately asked me to come on as their basic keynote speaker.
It segued into MC work within a month of that, I became their acting CMO because they needed some help with their marketing, and now it's been a 6-year relationship.
You've just got to find that point, but when you make that transition, you've got to be firm.
And the same thing goes when you raise your fee. You ask for $2,500 and someone says, "Yes".
Well, if people start saying yes very quickly, that's when it's time, in my opinion, to start raising your price.
But at some point, you'll hit a wall.
I've done this 3 or 4 times in my career. I'm raising my price, all of a sudden, I'm not getting gigs.
And all of a sudden I am realizing, "Okay, I might have to take it back a notch."
And then I got some great advice about how to do that from Seth Godin: "Instead of reducing your price, do the extra: sign books, go to the VIP dinner, meet with some of their senior executives for a luncheon, so then you don't have to necessarily reduce your price but you can give them more value for the dollar."
But again, just like you're paying attention to the audience, you have to pay attention.
I'm lucky I have a sales background, but it's what any good salesman knows, you have to see where you hit the wall.
And then how can you take that back a little bit without looking like you're weak.
I just remembered what I want to say before so I am going to throw this in before I forget it.
Ryan Foland: Do it!
Ted Rubin: A great way to get speaking experience and to build your personal brand is to ask questions when there's an audience and there are people on stage.
My advice is, and this is so important, so many people stand up, they don't say their name, they don't say their company.
I make everyone do this at Brand Innovator events, and we do it because we want people at the event to know who's asking the questions.
But I look at these people, I go, "How could you not say your name and company, or at least your name and a one-liner about who you are."
Everybody's here talking about how they want to build their personal brand, and now you're in front of people.
So go to the biggest events, and before you go, do your research, look at who's speaking and what their topics are, and create some questions in advance that are intelligent. You don't have to do it on the fly. Of course, if they end up not making sense at the event, make sure you're aware of that.
Then get there early, sit up front, be the first one that raises your hand with a question and now you get a microphone and an audience of hundreds or thousands of people to say,
"Hi I'm Ted Rubin from Collector Bias. I'd like to know what you're thinking is on —" You just got in front of their audience for free.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, absolutely.
And a trick too for that is making sure that you scope out where the microphone will be for the questions, and sitting close to there.
Because the first one to the mic is always good, and if you're stuck in the middle, you're going to be, "Excuse me?" Yeah, that's a brilliant strategy of speaking that's leveraging a $20K stage and maybe 3 thousand people that now are on your radar.
Ted Rubin: I do it at every event. I don't only save it for the big ones.
Any event you attend, come prepared with a few questions for a few of the speakers and get your hand up. By the way, at a lot of events, nobody raises their hand.
It's not hard to be that guy that gets the first question, because it's the first question that starts the avalanche of other people feeling comfortable asking questions.
Ryan Foland: Yes, and one thing that I love that you do, and I'm a big fan of this too, is tweeting what I'm thinking.
I think people are not leveraging social in a way in real time at these conferences. I accidentally stumbled upon something that I now do all the time which I call a “Tweetnado.” it was actually at the social media marketing world in 2016, I think?
I took all these crazy notes and I was super inspired and I did nothing with them. So then the next year I'm like,
"Forget that, I'm not going to take notes, I'm just going to tweet all the things that I would normally note," and then there's this app where I was able to basically tag all of my tweets so I had all my notes publicly.
And then I thought, "Whichever tweets get the most likes, then I can see that's the best information to then create content."
Long story short, I'm on the train coming back up home because I had to leave before the final big rah rah, and I got all these messages and phone calls, people were like,
"Congratulations," I am like, "What?"
They are like, "You just got named the top mentioned speaker of the social media marketing world."
I was like, "What are you talking about, I didn't even speak, I was just there as an attendee."
It was because I had so many tweets that got so much traction, people just assumed that I was speaking at that conference, because I was so engaged.
The level of engagement, even from the audience, you can still build your brand and all these things.
Ted Rubin: I'm so glad you said that because I used to hijack conferences.
I don't go to conferences now unless I'm speaking for the most part, unless I am doing somebody a favor.
But when I used to go to a lot of the conferences, for Open Sky for e.l.f Cosmetics, for Collective Bias, whatever, I used to go there and keep all my best tweets in my “like” file.
I like my own tweets whenever there is content that I think is good, whenever I tweet out something that either I love or gets very well received, and I keep them in a file. And I used to go to events and I would just put in the search the topic that was relevant, whether it was blogging or marketing, or social, whatever.
And then I would sit throughout the conference, using their hashtag just tweeting my content throughout the conference.
And the same thing, people were like, "Oh my god, wow".
The same thing, the person who tweeted the most on this thing, and there are so many ways to get yourself recognized, and sometimes people say that's cheating — why is it cheating? It's my content.
And then I love the people that say, "You tweeted the same thing more than once."
Why do you think people remember my content?
Because I use it again and again and again. The same thing with your own hashtags, I watch all these young guys, they come up with their new hashtag, they use it for a month and then they abandon it,
"Well, nobody liked it."
Dude, you've been doing it for 2 months, my hashtags are years in the making. And now I go to an event people go,
That's how you build the brand.
And even better is, earlier I used the word persona, and I don't create a persona — I am who I am.
And I tell people, "Look, there are some people that create personas and it works for them. But the reason I'm always on brand is my brand is me."
Ryan Foland: Touche, my friend.
Thinking of all the stuff we've talked about, we're going to close with what we started with, which is what you're known for, which is the return on relationships.
And whether it's the relationship that you have as a father, as a coach, as a mentor, as a human being, as a speaker building relationships with these conferences that you want to speak at, it all, everything basically could pull the yarn throughout this entire stitched conversation, and it all comes back to return on relationships.
It's a long term game that you're investing in, whether it's a hashtag that you don't ditch after 2 months to whether it's just relentlessly trying to raise your fees until you hit a wall, I really see how this all fits in together #RonR.
Ted Ruben: Exactly. Just so people can wrap their heads around this a little bit, I do have a site returnonrelationship.com. There's no s at the end.
I don't care if you say that I just want people to go find the site. It's ReturnOnRelationship.com.
It has a lot what it's about.
Also, every week I publish somebody else's blog post on returnonrelationship.com as a return on relationship, I try to share other people's content, but just as a quick definition, simply put, it's the value that's accrued by a person or a brand due to nurturing the relationship.
ROI is simple dollars and cents but RonR is the value that will accrue over time to connection loyalty, recommendations, and sharing.
I use it to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating authentic connection, interaction, and engagement.
Again, for a one-liner to make it simple, relationships are like muscle tissue — the more they're engaged the stronger and more valuable they become.
Ryan Foland: Fantastic.
Ted, this has been a blast. I feel like we're kindred souls from the wrestling mat all the way to the stage, to aggressively using Twitter to have fun with it and not really caring.
I think of all that you said, one of the things that resonates the most is this idea that you are not creating a brand persona, you are just yourself.
I've got a book coming out in October called "Ditch the act," and I'm obsessed with that. The only way to really differentiate yourself is just to be yourself.
That is so refreshing to hear, and just the no-nonsense straight talk about how to get on stage and how to not let up, whether it's on the mat or whether it's as a questioner in an audience.
This has been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing you online and maybe sharing the stage some time.
Ted Rubin: Well I'll tell you what — I am MCing a Brand Innovators event in Torrance, California on the 21st of this month, and I would love to have you as my guest if you're in town?
Ryan Foland: I will be there. Count me in, that sounds great.
And see, this is how it starts, people — it's just return on relationship, singular not plural.
This will be great, and again, thanks to the Tweeting Goddess, we'll make sure to tweet you up and shout you out as well.
I'm jazzed, I'm pumped up, I feel like I'm ready to go out on the mat. I'm feeling like we've got people a little bit inspired today so that's great.
Ted Rubin: Well I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to bring you up on stage and I'm going to make sure to introduce you to the audience.
Ryan Foland: Absolutely. I love it.
If you want to point people to one place to find you online what would that place be?
Ted Rubin: TedRubin.com.
Ryan Foland: Perfect. Alright buddy, I'm inspired, let's just keep doing what we're doing and we will see you on the flip side.
Ted Rubin: I am looking forward to it.
Ryan Foland: All right, thanks everybody. Tune in to other episodes, we've got so many of them with so many great people, with great advice to help you become a great speaker.
This is myself, Ryan Foland, follow me on Twitter at @RyanFoland, jump in the conversation.
Check out Ted Rubin at @TedRubin on Twitter. Tweet us up and we will see you around. Have a great day or night, or evening or morning.
A bit about World of Speakers
World of Speakers is a bi-monthly 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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