Ryan Foland speaks with Rachel Gotto, a rapid transformational therapy (RTT) expert and a motivational speaker.
In this episode of our podcast series, Ryan and Rachel talk about navigating through the digital world as a speaker, drawing analogies from their passion of the ocean and boats.
One of the key messages in this interview is how one's pre-talk routine is directly linked with the success of their talk.
Tune in for an interview full of ideas and advice on how to ace your transition to the digital world of speaking.
Listen to the interview on iTunes or Soundcloud.
Welcome to the World of Speakers podcast brought to you by SpeakerHub.
In this special series, we interview speaking experts on how to navigate the coronavirus as a professional speaker. Here's your host, Ryan Foland.
Ryan Foland: Ahoy everyone and welcome to another World of Speakers episode.
This time we are truly going across the world to a place in Ireland.
I thought, "Why not bring someone that I met recently when I was speaking in Ireland to share her knowledge from around the world when it comes to speaking, and more importantly, the tenacity that needs to come along with speaking."
Ladies and gentlemen, Rachel Gotto is here with us today.
She is someone who loves to overcome challenges, in essence, she is the queen of tenacity. Rachel, welcome to the show.
Rachel Gotto: Thank you, Ryan, lovely to be here.
Ryan Foland: In order to get to know you a little bit, because that's what we all want to do before we trust anything that you say.
I want to hear a story.
I know that the Irish are great at telling stories, but the particular parameters of this story is that it's something that on its own could represent who you are as a person, one story off the shelf, not,
"I did this and then this, and 10 years later it ended up over here."
What is something that you can pull off of the Irish shelf and tell us so that we can make our own inferences as to who you are?
Rachel Gotto: I'd absolutely love to. I already know what story I'm going to tell you, Ryan, because both you and I share a passion which is the ocean.
Ryan Foland: Yes.
Rachel Gotto: I've spent a lot of my life on the ocean.
In fact, we actually came to Ireland on a boat.
I have a deep history to do with the sea and traveling on the sea and even below it.
So the story I'm going to tell you today is one that happened very recently.
And I think when I tell you this story, you'll understand why I love to talk about tenacity and overcoming obstacles and challenges.
So, I want you to bring yourself to the west coast of Ireland.
The coast of the west coast of Ireland is actually very rugged and the weather changes dramatically and very quickly.
One of my real passions is to actually row, and I love to row, traditional Irish boats called currachs.
They are about 20 feet long, they're canvas boats, very light framed and the oars which are used to row the boat are like pins so they don't have a big blade and there is no keel on this boat.
The skill is actually in the rowing to keep it on track, if the weather's coming one way or the other you've got to be very skilled at rowing it.
One July day last year, we took a rowing trip from one island on the west coast to another island which is about 9 sea miles.
Now, that's not a long journey, but if you're rowing it, it's quite a journey.
Ryan Foland: Yeah.
Rachel Gotto: I need to let you know that I actually had a dog, a little kind of platform for my dog, a bottle of Gin, a tent, and a little cooker because I was going to cook when I got there, and I was with my partner.
We set off, it's a beautiful day and we're having gorgeous time, rowing 9 miles, sun, sand, the works, it's just ideal. It was just gorgeous.
We arrived and we set up a pet tent and it was all beautiful, we had a lovely evening, gin and tonic and the setting sun, the dog was happy, we ate, we cooked some mackerel we'd caught.
We went to bed under the stars and it was just one of those magical days that ended so beautifully.
About 4 o'clock in the morning I woke to the tent hitting my cheek like this [fast hitting] and being a woman of the sea, I immediately opened my eyes and I was thinking,
"There's something's not right here, there's something not right, something's changed."
I hopped out of the tent and noticed that the weather had really badly come up.
A decision had to be made, it was about 4 o'clock in the morning, in the summer it gets light here by 4:35.
I woke my partner and we went to the top of the rocks and we said, "Right, we need to go."
We swiftly packed, headed out there, and we're rowing out, and as you probably know when you're rowing out from a shore it gets a bit bumpy for the first couple of hundred meters.
We knew the wind was up, we knew we had a bit of surf ups we had to go against, and the poor dog in the stern was practically throwing up over the stern at this point.
What happened was we pulled out of the surf and we decided we needed to check to see are we going to make this or not.
And so we made a decision that we would make it.
As we began rowing, the wind came up, you know when it hisses and spits at you and you're rowing really hard.
It got a bit more difficult and it became a little bit more difficult, and then when we came out of the lee of the island which means out of this shelter of the island, we were facing open sea.
Now, if we could have seen across the Atlantic, I would see you sitting at your desk, okay, so that's what it was, straight across to New York or nothing.
And all we had to do was hit the island next to us, but the wind was going against us.
So we had to make a counter-intuitive decision which was to row the opposite way to get to where we needed to go and that was incredibly difficult because there's no keel on the boat, there's no traction in the water so we had to literally row with the skin of our teeth.
The wind comes up even worse, and it's lashing at us, the waves are coming over the boat, it's getting very difficult and it's starting to get a little bit scary.
And so my partner said, "Would it be okay if I had a piece of chocolate?"
And I was like "No, you're not getting anything," and then he said, "Would it be okay if I had something to sit on," and I'm, "No."
And then it was literally at the point where this was starting to become dangerous.
We had some flares onboard but it really was a question then of digging in, we were midway.
We couldn't go back, we couldn't go forth.
So I devised a little bit of a mantra which was, five short rows and ten long rows.
Five short rows, ten long rows.
As we progressed very slightly we were being blown off course and we had to double up our efforts, which meant we had to do ten swift five short.
We were making ground, losing ground, making ground, losing ground.
Now, I was halfway there, and I was thinking, "We have to do this, we've got to make this because it is life and death."
I dug in, Ryan, into a place inside me that I didn't even have to visit for many, many years.
I dug in as a woman, and I was bare feet on the bareboat, and with no gloves.
I rowed consistently for four and a half hours.
We were just nearly there, with the howling wind and the waves and the Ruf, the poor dog was soaked, and a rock appeared in front of us.
That was an emergency setup again, so never mind your ten short and swift, we were into swift only and we had to dig in, we didn't speak, and I literally shouted out 1,2,3,4, and we did that for 45 more minutes to get around that rock.
Finally, we make it home to the beach at the island we were going to, Inishbofin island, and we get out of that boat together, and I looked at my hands, I hadn't any skin left on my hands at all, not one piece of skin, they were raw.
But do you know what?
I was exhilarated, I was fired up on adrenaline and I was more than delighted because we'd stuck it out and we made it.
So that's my little story, Ryan.
Ryan Foland: Wow, okay, well I feel like I was there with you.
Next time make sure you pack a sale and a spare mast.
All I can think about is the wind, you know.
But wow, what a true story to the age-old adage of you really can't choose the direction of the wind, but in this case, you can choose the direction of your boat, without the sail.
Well, let's get in this boat and let's row to an island that is full of your tips and tricks to help others tap into this Irish DNA rooted in one of the most ancient stages in the world to help people in today's day and age.
Because we have a storm right now, it is 4 in the morning and the wind is blowing, the waves are peaking, and the salt is glaring in your face.
I think that a lot of speakers feel like their hands are raw, not rowing a boat, but just trying to stay alive in this digital world.
I want to know from your experience in this new, turbulent storm called a global pandemic, what are some of the storytelling translated to speaking skills that are your oars, that are the boats, that is essentially the vessel that you are rowing in right now so that we can learn and scrape through it?
Maybe we can give some structure, the 3 top tips as a coxswain in this boat, like what are you calling out, what do you advise people to do?
This is for the actual tactics of speaking, is there one that comes to mind on the top, as you're pushing the boat into the water?
Rachel Gotto: Absolutely.
There's one thing that I've always held dear inside myself is, as speakers, we need to stay in our bodies, and I want to keep this very simple because you probably know I'm also a clinical hypnotherapist, so I deal with belief systems and the voices in our mind and what we're telling ourselves.
And the one thing that I always say to myself is that I have a word with myself before I do any speaking.
I bring myself into what I call alignment tron because when we go out onto the stage, whether we're speaking online, whether we're actually on a real stage, we need to remain grounded within inside ourselves.
It is vitally important that we consolidate and what I mean is that we're operating from a very strong standpoint.
I always like a skittle, you know how a skittle has a centrifugal sense of gravity, it's kinda low dense, it comes back up again?
I always say to people that if we're going to be authentic and speak our truth and speak our story with integrity, we must keep our body awareness, our awareness into our body, of a low down in the solar plexus area.
To me, that gives us grounding, keeps us housed in our own body, and keeps us aware of what we're feeling as we're telling our story.
Because if we're out of our body and we're not aware, we're going to tell the story as opposed to really be involved in this story and really deliver it from the depths of us.
And for me, I give keynote speeches and basically mine are about my story so I have to really go there and dig deep within myself because my story is quite traumatic.
But I'm giving an inspirational standpoint from it, so it's really important that I allow myself to open up that door again to really go there.
But at the same time, have that little bit of awareness that I'm protecting myself from retriggering.
I think this is something that is really, really important that it's brave to do that, Ryan, you know it and you do it, but we need to stay in the sweet spot between vulnerability and letting go if you know what I mean.
Do you know if we're going to use the sailing analogy, and you know when we're going downwind and we're pulling one sheet for the spinnaker and we're doing the other sheet, we're kind of positioning it, where we're working it.
And it's the same, I think, in terms of speaking, no one speech is the same, no one talk is the same, no one stage is the same.
We have to show up ducking and diving each time. That is about listening to what you're hearing and understanding what the energy is coming towards you, and knitting it in some authentic way.
Does not make sense, Ryan?
Ryan Foland: It does.
There are a few things to unpack in there.
The first one that I see that's rising bubbling floating to the surface is that before you speak, speak to yourself.
For those of us who are not licensed hypnotists, which I'm fascinated by, and for those of us who maybe aren't used to that initial grounding, how would you share to go about that process?
Is this more of you repeating a certain mantra or a certain intention?
Is it understanding and realizing those limiting beliefs and calling them out?
Or is it channeling that nervous energy and saying, "The reason I'm nervous is because I'm really excited?"
What are those conversations?
I think it's easy to say "Get ground beforehand," and I'll even do a vocal warm-up and exercise.
I do one thing that a friend and speaking mentor taught me, I don't know if there's necessarily like a name for it, but it's to get rid of all that nervous energy, and I want to see if this is similar.
Before I go on stage I'll actually go in a spot where nobody can really see me and just do like the great shakedown, and it's like noises and flopping, everything possible and you look so stupid but afterward you stop and you just feel the blood vessels pumping everywhere and your body's like, "What happened?" And you're like, "Hoooh"
I use that as sort of a centering but I'm not physically talking to myself, I'm not having a conversation, so there's a physicality to it.
What is it that you're saying or how do you go through that process?
Rachel Gotto: For me, it's a 2-stage process actually, because if you think about it, we're actually preparing ourselves for quite some hours before we actually give any talk or speak anywhere.
So it's basically during the day I have a few little hacks here, okay, one which is really, really exciting one, I love it— the brain does not know the difference between the past, the present, or the future, okay?
Ryan Foland: What?
Rachel Gotto: Yes, it doesn't, it only knows what is, okay.
So it's such a great thing to know.
The other thing to know is that it can't tell the difference if you believe what you're telling yourself or not.
I love this, I'll share with you, the first time I ever did speak in public, I had a pathological fear of speaking.
I cannot tell you I would go to any length to avoid speaking.
And as I became known in Ireland, I had a lot of opportunities to speak on the radio, and the first time I had an opportunity to speak on the radio I was petrified, I didn't know what to do.
And then I figured out the hacks, so what I did was I had a 2-week conversation with myself about how well that radio interview went.
Because remember the brain does not know the difference between faking you'll make it or the present, the past, or the future.
So I created the future in my day.
I had this wonderful conversation going on, if anyone was listening they'd think I was absolutely bonkers but I was going,
"Wow, you nailed that radio interview, oh my goodness, I loved how you remembered how to say that, I loved how it went and I love that you invited that."
So I created this whole scene for myself that actually was fictitious, but guess what— when I landed on that radio station, I was so super-calm but excited and ready.
And I spoke for 25 minutes and I was invited back.
So that's the first part for me, is actually preparing myself for, I don't want to sound arrogant, but my own greatness.
I really like to do something really well, Ryan.
So I am putting everything in there, I'm putting the whole lot in the toolbox or in the bung of the boat, whatever.
Ryan Foland: I want to dissect this a little bit more.
Like for example, I'm speaking in Singapore later on tonight and this was originally supposed to be an in-person in Singapore, and I love that international travel and the things are different, so that's fine.
But before this conversation, I was really tweaking and working with my PowerPoint and trying to, again, make it fresh.
Now, I think we all get nervous before we speak and what's interesting is that this is in front of hundreds of entrepreneurial coaches, which again, has this huge possibility for building my business.
And there's this pressure that builds and then as soon as I tweeted out and shared it out and put it in my newsletter, thousands of people now know that I'm going to be speaking in Singapore tonight.
So to practice your first part or this first hat, so when we get off this, am I literally saying, "Oh my gosh," like out loud, or am I saying, "That was awesome, I crushed it."
Or is it in my head, like you can use me as a test pilot here.
Rachel Gotto: Sure, I mean it's whatever works for you, Ryan.
For me, it's walking around the place congratulating myself, but again, I must reiterate back to, it's not from the ego's perspective, it's from that,
"Congratulations, you are so good at what you do. You move those people, you connected with them, they were hanging on your words because they have something to gain from sharing it."
So it's the richness of what you're saying which is the important thing. If you're going to trot it out, it means nothing.
You have to make the chemistry to match your words. It really has to be believable to your energy field, your body, your mind as well as anybody else's.
So I always say to people how I like to say it is, can you imagine, Ryan, if I rang you up and I said,
"Right, Ryan, it's my birthday today. Do you want to come out and have a glass of wine, we'll have a lovely time?"
You're not going anywhere, but if I go,
"Hey Ryan, it's so great to see you! It's my birthday actually today, would you do me the honor of coming for a glass of wine in a beautiful wine bar, we'll catch up and we'll just have the most fantastic evening?"
You're likely to come along.
So it's the same, we're trying to harness your brain into believing, actually this is the deal, this is how it is and this is how I want it to be.
So you're taking charge, basically.
Ryan Foland: And what's interesting about that is that this is a speaker series, so there were 4 speakers that went before me and I've been in my brain, doing research on them and got feedback and the intro call with the organizers, trying to understand what they've already covered.
And so part of this is like, well they're covering things that I was going to talk about, and then I'm starting to think the opposite of what you're saying, I'm starting to think,
"Well what if they think that I sound like these other people, what if they just tune out because I'm the last in the series?"
And so if you're telling me that I'm believing what I'm thinking and my natural instinct is to sort of question how the message is going to land, especially because it's in Singapore.
Normally, when I travel I spend a week or so beforehand and I get to know the culture and I can really craft it to make sense for them.
And so I'm like, "Is this going to resonate with someone in Singapore?"
And so I'm calling my friends, I have connections in Singapore, but there's still, there's like underlying like I'm projecting the future in a not sure way and you're saying just project it past that moment, sort of what it looks like afterwards.
And is this cognitive dissonance that I'm going to be tapping into?
Rachel Gotto: You're tapping into belief systems, you're tapping into the fact that actually, the outcome is all there for you.
You just need to understand that you can create the outcome.
And just to go back to what you're saying as well about Ryan going over to Singapore, and then there's 4 other speakers and all of this sort of discordant starting to go on, I just think the most important thing, Ryan, is to remember that there was only one Ryan made; there's only one person who sounds, speaks, has the background, the energy, the empathy, the authenticity, the integrity.
There's only one voice that really encapsulates who you are.
So if that's the case then, they're going to see a whole new, fresh story, they're going to see something and meet somebody who is unique and has their own idiosyncratic qualities that are really going to shine through.
The same for me, there are many, many speakers out there who shared their personal struggles and journeys.
What I say to myself is there is only one Rachel, there's only one Rachel Gotto there.
So people I think don't think the way we think when we're looking out to them.
They're thinking about themselves, what can I gain from this and you have so much to offer in your unique way as well as I also do.
And I think we need to always remind ourselves of that every day, that it's our individual, unique characteristics that affect change.
Not actually in essence of how we're trying to pitch it, it's the authenticity that you bring to the table, I think is the most powerful part of any talk.
Ryan Foland: Okay, for those of you listening, I want you to stop this recording, rewind about 2 minutes and then understand that Rachel was talking to you, not just me.
And really, I feel like that was a very private conversation but I want to encourage others to have that same type of initial discourse, especially in this new digital world.
Because for example, this is going to be at night time, my time, morning for them the next day.
So it adds a whole new complexity because I don't have my natural sunlight, so I've got to redo my studio, it's got to be the lights, the camera, the action, all this stuff as opposed to just like stepping on stage.
So I can see how this is super valuable as we transition and reinvent the way that we are doing it.
Okay, I like that.
What is the second step?
The first step, as we're pushing the boat into the water, not as focused on the storm that we see but focused on the shore that we know we're going to get to?
Rachel Gotto: Sure, so we're just about to take the loss a few pulls now, aren't we, we're starting to get traction here.
Very similar to your mental, for me, it's about stretching the body, and that might sound a bit strange, but I know something about the body, that is that we store our stress and our adrenaline in the muscle, but actually it's more in the fascicle that surrounds the muscle, that's where we hold that angst and that fear.
So for me, if it's appropriate and if I can do, I will do some deep stretching beforehand because I know that I'm processing cortisol and adrenaline.
Same is shaking, if we look at the animal kingdom, Ryan, animals shake, you know, they shake it out, they don't store it.
So I think what you do is exactly what I do just in a slightly different way.
Sometimes I do a bit of it if it's appropriate, you know, shouting, because also our voice box can store adrenaline and cortisol in the same way as our muscles can, so to just get the voice cleared and give yourself permission to come into your body and into your sort of speak, your talk embodies it all, then you're ready to go, in my opinion.
Ryan Foland: Okay, so it sounds like the pre-show shake down that I do is more towards the second step in your 2 step prep.
The first being more of a mental stretch and the other being a physical movement, get it out.
The myofascial is interesting, like KT tape, right?
Which is the tape that you put on that creates a little bit of tension on your skin that helps to create movement within the myofascial I've also looked into the gushu it's like a traditional scraping that's done to break up the myofascial but I never thought of stress being held there.
I do want to dig a little deeper on your vocal exercises and I'm happy to share a couple from my acting days.
You talk about the throat, we stay up in here, and even if you're nervous I feel like when we get nervous it even clamps in.
So one of my favorites is the huh huh huh huh huh, so you know you're standing and you're trying to hit the back of the room and it sounds funny but it's diaphragmatic breathing, is that what you say?
Rachel Gotto: Yes, well done.
Ryan Foland: But pushing your stomach out to get it in and go huh, huh, huh, huh. And you do that enough and then all of a sudden you're like, "Whoa, there's my natural voice, like this whole time I've been speaking just out of my larynx," and it just takes a couple of warm-ups to get a little deeper and get more powerful without straining.
So that's, you're almost just squeezing your stomach in, and it sounds stupid and silly, and especially if you're at home and your wife or your kids are in the other room, and you're like, huh, huh, huh, somebody calls, "Are you okay?"
So shouting across, with the hand on the stomach for me that really helps me find that.
Are there tongue twisters that you use or any specific things to help you stretch out your voice that you do?
Rachel Gotto: I do, if anyone could look in on me they'd think I've gone absolutely crazy.
So I'm making facial expressions, scouring my face up and I'm opening my jaw, I'm stretching everything.
For me, it's about moving the adrenaline into a place where it's actually harnessed.
So I may also do some long, long exhales but what I sometimes do as well is I take in a breath, it's an old Japanese trick this one, you inhale through your nose for as long as you possibly can and when your lungs are full, you actually sit in a bit more, so you're kind of going [makes an inhaling noise] and then hold your breath for as long as you possibly can, and it's really interesting, Ryan, because you actually get panic that comes in and then once you get over that hump of the panic you start to drop into this place of,
"Ah, I can do this, I can do this longer, I am actually powerful here."
And you can challenge yourself and that's really what it's about and then you don't let that breath go until you cannot hold it any longer.
And then you give that huuuh and you go for as long as you can.
And I imagine my breath is traveling across the ocean, that it's as long.
Now, what I know about that to be true is the length of that out-breath activates the vagus nerve.
Now, this is an important nerve in the body and you know about it, I am sure, but it is our rest and digest nervous system.
So some really long out-breaths, after you've done your prep, your pap, pap, pap, and your ha, ha, but then some super long exhales.
For me, it's like I use the word I'm shimming and shaking, I'm working now and my mind is also coming way down it's not broadcasting out, it's coming down so I'm going to deliver something from the heart, space and the solar plexus space, which gives to me resonance to what we're going to say or talk about whatever the subject is, it's coming home to yourself, from my perspective.
Ryan Foland: Okay, so I feel like we dug into the boat and got into the builds with that and that's the kind of stuff that I think is powerful.
So I'm going to try and do some research on the breathing in with [makes inhaling noise].
It reminds me of snorkeling because you have this one breath and it lasts, and there is a certain point where there is a sense of calm.
So I dig that.
We are now on the shore, we have bare hands that are bloody, a mind that is calm, and a voice that is ready to resonate.
But a lot of times people don't even know what that shore is that they're going to get to or they just find themselves aimlessly rowing because it's like a digital world and now should I speak for free, there's an association, I am juggling a real-time job and I'm trying to do a side hustle, should I even be a speaker?
How can you talk to people, how can you talk to our listeners about finding these different islands to actually row to, because they might get everything else, they understand the warm-up, they understand the message, they're passionate about sharing it but they just don't see the islands on the horizon, they don't know how to get there.
In today's COVID world, how are you finding stages?
How are you finding opportunities to land onshore?
Rachel Gotto: I suppose the main way is, and I would imagine it's the same for everybody, it's networking, connecting to the right communities, connecting to the right people.
And I think it's a really important thing to note that not always the connections that we have at the moment are going to pay off for anything in return, it's about being genuine in your reaching out and making connections with people, and forging friendships.
Because when we give out we automatically do receive.
So for me, it's about connecting with people in different areas but staying very much myself.
I'm not trying to gain now from it, or have something back now, that it is actually a genuine, mutual connections where we can seek light parts for ourselves because at one point somebody's going to say,
"Oh, do you remember that Ryan fella, you know, he was really engaging or whatever," so it's about setting the seed for the future, from my perspective.
And also, it's about giving back as well, Ryan, some pro bono work because then somebody knows somebody.
Recently I spoke to a group of cat people, believe it or, all cat experts.
It was quite an unusual group, but some of those people are from the university and so on, and so on.
So I think it's about putting fingers in pies, staying authentic, staying genuine, and not ever trying to chase anything down too much, I always think that that is super important, that we don't hustle, we're bringing our wares with us.
Our wares are in our voice and in our hearts and in our stories.
So we're packing up our bags and we're putting them on the boat and we're trusting that if we reach out and we make the connections that actually, eventually the island will come towards us as well as us rowing towards it, it's a mutual thing to me.
Ryan Foland: Okay so it's more about who you're bringing on your boat to find out where that might lead you, essentially?
Rachel Gotto: Yeah.
Ryan Foland: Now how does one take that advice and then know what to do?
Because if you're sort of like relying on other people and you're not out there chasing and hunting down those opportunities, you can become sort of invisible pretty quickly online as far as like those events.
So maybe you can help me with that clarification because in one sense you're saying forging friendships and I love the work forging, it makes me think of actually exploring and going outside of your comfort zone.
But then am I correct in what I heard is that you're not necessarily forging for stages and opportunities, but you're forging for friendships which leads there?
Is that what I'm hearing?
Rachel Gotto: That's part of it, sure.
But as you know, in this day and age because we're online we're obliged to be on every social media platform.
And it depends on the country because Ireland is quite a small country so it's relatively easier here to maybe get some newspaper footage or a feature or to be invited on the radio show, it's a lot smaller, I would imagine it's a lot more difficult in bigger pools, bigger ponds.
But for me it's about staying current and reaching out into communities, offering some wisdom, offering a little bit of yourself, and keep tapping away at it, as we say.
I believe that if you truly believe in what you're doing and why you're doing it, I do honestly believe that it sifts and sorts itself eventually.
Of course, you've got to work at it, of course, you've got to be hungry for it, we wouldn't stay alive if we weren't hungry.
But I think it's a bit of everything and that we have to also find it fun because it can be quite difficult, it can be quite stressful to constantly putting your best foot forward and showing your public face, just a bit of a balance between all of it.
Once we’ve canned it, we can box it up in a way and don't take ourselves too seriously, we have to find the humor in it, I am a great believer.
Ryan Foland: I think what you just said there is what a lot of us are thinking in our head, and at the end of the day, it just ends up being a lot of little things and not necessarily one that we want to put our finger on.
And pre-Covid, you have a historical reference of how things worked, you had a more clear pathway to stages you go and you speak live and that's how you maybe land other gigs, but now that things are digital and people are just less engaged as an audience.
I think sometimes the audience feels like the dynamics have a little bit changed, even when you're in that moment. Is there anything that you're doing that you're changing in your presentations to make the gigs that you have multiplier effects?
And I'll give you an example, is that this talk in Singapore, in talking with the organizers I said,
"What is the feedback from the other speakers? What really hit it out of the park?"
And they said, "The biggest piece of feedback is when people got tangible takeaways, challenges, things that they could do within the next week and then post improve it."
And I thought to myself, "Wow, okay, so the theory is a lot of times what we come out and speak about."
And the audience, at least in this specific group, in this organization, they're wanting tangible takeaways.
So I've restructured my whole talk to talk about 3 things with 2 breakout rooms that are challenges that they're going to have in real-time with a call to action that's afterwards so that there is a way for me to hold them accountable.
That's totally different than the typical keynote that I would have given, just sort of inspiring and let people move on or upward.
Are there any things that you're changing in the delivery of the speech that helps you get more stages, that helps you become more memorable, essentially?
Rachel Gotto: I think it's quite similar really.
We have to be more interactive because we are more online and so we have to get more participation.
One thing that I think is really a great thing, for me anyway, is initially to ask the questions.
How many of you, which one of you, so what you're doing is getting people's imaginations fired up because really what we want to do at the end of the day was we want people to see a version of themselves somewhere in that story.
I think when we seek to get their engagement with the questions and those questions can be pretty smart questions, but people love to be included, they love to be seen, they love to see themselves within it.
I think yes, more questions, more about is that impacting you? How is this for you?
And a bit more dynamism, so I think that we need to be a little bit more animated, this is the difficulty, it's getting that balance between being over-animated because you're looking at a flat screen and actually giving them an authentic part of you at the same time.
It's a difficult balance but I think we're all getting used to it more now and it's all becoming a little bit less fresh and we're settling in a little bit more to it that would be my experience.
What about you?
Ryan Foland: From the interaction side, this is something I've talked about, I've done a lot of MC-ing and hosting and therefore you're responsible for the crowd and you're responsible for the energy to help build it.
And I have a theory called the rising tide theory, which of course, it ties back to something that I'm passionate about, with the ocean, and the tide dictates all boats, like unless you're stuck in an anchor and you try to refuse it and you lose, but at the same time your ankles are pop before your boat is going to sink most of the time.
And so the idea is that if you want the audience to be at said level, you actually have to be and my calculation, unofficially is about 35% more.
So if you want them to be like, "Oh, this is cool," then you need to be like, "Oh this is cool plus 35 percent just a little bit more," and then that energy creates a tide where they slowly lift to it.
And so that's, again, where you're really feeling the energy.
And one thing that I've had a challenge with, in some of these digital opportunities, is when they ask for it to be pre-recorded.
That's something I just, I lose some of my enjoyment in the process because I like calling people up, I am like, "I see you, Carlos, I see you smiling," and it just brings them in.
So when it's just a recording, for me, it's really, really hard to get the engagement, or at least you don't even know, you're taking these chances.
I'll take chances live and I'll see if it works or not, if it doesn't work it kind of works because it doesn't work.
One thing I am playing with, and I'd like your opinion on this, and this will be the final advice around building the speaking business.
How are you playing with your call to actions?
Because I'm not the person that sells from the stage, I hate it.
But we're at a point where like if you just leave with nothing for them to follow up or to connect, or to incentivize them, I feel like you've lost that.
So there's now this opportunity of a creative call to action and in how I'm re-envisioning it is how they consume the content afterwards.
Do I turn that talk into an article?
Do I turn that talk into a podcast theme or an episode?
Do I turn that into an interactive sort of portal, so that they can actually go back to it?
Because I don't think if you miss an hour and a half lecture or talk or keynote, you're not going to go back and watch it.
Rachel Gotto: No.
Ryan Foland: So, for me, I'm trying to create a call to action that has I guess pushes towards content, that has a long tail of me being top of mind, that then connects them on social which creates community, it's a longer-term play but I'm curious your advice to people from calls to action in your talks or at the end or something?
Rachel Gotto: It's an interesting question.
For my mind, it's about reengaging in something like an article or questionnaires, or again, it's about asking that question to re-engage the person back into the subject matter that we've been talking about.
For me, it would be articles, questionnaires.
I think that ideally, it would be in some way of engaging them in the short snippet of a podcast, a bite-sized, 10 minutes, or something like that that brings it all back in.
I don't know how that would work, I think we're all adjusting to that, Ryan, and I think it's something that will be an ongoing conversation for a lot of people, for a while, I think, really.
Ryan Foland: There's a lot of innovation that's left open for the little skinned boat that we're all on, maybe your call to action is the keel that you modify, maybe the call to action is the sail that you can trim when your hands are nice and bloody.
But I will say that your insights will not only help me out in my Singapore talk tonight, but the biggest takeaway for me is talking to myself before I give a talk.
The physicality and getting things out that's something that I'm already doing, but at the end of the day, realizing my worth, not from the ego perspective, but my worth from an impact perspective and not forgetting that, so I might have been caught up in what slide is what and what story am I telling, but you have helped me sort of get out of my own boat and into the water, essentially, not like I'm drowning, but to be able to visualize and see that boat where it's going and feel like I have a little bit more control over it.
Rachel Gotto: Sure. Because you've got your own boats, your own sails, your own compass, and you've got your own destinations.
So if you think of it like that analogy, it's just literally as I said, there's only one Ryan, so let Ryan go out there and sing his song from his heart as opposed to singing it from his head.
That's where you get authenticity and then people see the difference.
So we don't need to name it, we don't need to put it out there in broad lights, we just need to show up authentically as we are as a person how we're formed and I think then we're really rocking it.
Ryan Foland: Yeah and I'm in the process of lending a spot on a boat on the Transpac this has been a goal of mine for a while and so I'm reading and doing research and that's basically from Long Beach to Hawaii and it's amazing how right out the gate everybody's together, everybody's right there on the starting line, and a day, 2, 3 days, 4 days a week passes and everyone is so spread out, you see, on a clear days, you have about 7 to 10 nautical miles of visibility, that's perfect.
And so you have let's say 50 or 60 boats that all start at the same spot, so there are 50,000 speakers we're all starting in the same spot, we know where we want to go, but literally, we are the victim or empowered by the wind and the circumstance and occurrence and within a couple of days we're all going to be so far apart from each other, that nobody else matters and that's just what comes to my mind about focus on your own boat, have the right crew, from that networking of forging, and you will get to an island, eventually.
Rachel Gotto: I just love the analogy.
And we also have to remember that there's a massive ocean out there, and there is plenty of space for everybody.
I think that's a lovely energy to bring to it, as well, there's room for everybody because we are all so different, we have different voices, a different background story and a different take home and so on, so that's a wonderful thing to think is that there's a big ocean out there.
Ryan Foland: Well they just gave me goose pimples on my head and my arms and my gingerness, and it's just like I'm feeling nice and good.
But yes, exactly what you said, there's no reason to sum that up other than saying exactly that. Rachel, this has been a lot of fun, I can't wait to make it to Ireland, maybe if things persist I might just sail over there and forget the whole like travel and everything, I'll kind of sneak in and I'll anchor where your folks were and then we can have some wine on your birthday. I'll take that invite.
Rachel Gotto: That sounds like a great idea.
Actually, Ryan, you're not going to stop there, you're going to come up to the west coast and row one of those currachs with me, between the islands, I think that would be a great challenge.
Ryan Foland: Done and done.
And a special shout out to Samantha Kelly the Tweeting Goddess for connecting us at her conference, she's one of those people who I've forged a relationship with that does pay dividends.
And another shot out to SpeakerHub for sponsoring this awesome podcast, for being able to bring speakers from around the world.
And if you haven't heard of SpeakerHub, essentially it's a marina to bring your boat and you can dock up and you can showcase your boat and the topics and your rudder and tiller and everything that is unique about you, so the people can walk down that little marina and be like,
"Oh look at that boat. I'd like that boat to come and speak at my event."
So if you have not gotten your SpeakerHub profile yet, think of it as a marina for your speaking boats.
Rachel Gatto: Great analogy, Ryan, I love it. It's brilliant.
Ryan Foland: All right.
Well, I'm fired up, I'm going to go talk to myself and then get ready for my talk in Singapore, and you've got the final word here, Rachel, what do you want to say?
Rachel Gatto: I want to say also just to reiterate your words to Samantha Kelly, she's a wonderful woman and she is definitely connecting the dots and that's her byline she connects the dots.
Absolutely go to it, you're going to smash it in Singapore tonight, and they will absolutely be transformed by your voice.
So have a great time.
Ryan Foland: I actually hear myself about how well it already went and I'm not going to tell myself that that's in the future and so technically whenever anybody listens to this in the future, anyway future and all kinds of stuff.
You cannot change the direction of the wind but you can row any direction you want and you can always move your sails.
Rachel thanks again this has been a pleasure, and for those who do want to have your sailboat or a rowboat show up at their island or event what's the best way to get in touch with you?
Rachel Gotto: Get in touch with me at the rachelgotto.com or you can find me on Twitter @RachelGotto, basically Rachel Gotto is the name on all the platforms, so I'm easy to find. And if anyone wants to show up, I'm in Galway.
Ryan Foland: Awesome, alright, thanks again for everything and safe sailing, safe rowing.
Rachel Gotto: Same to you, Ryan, safe winds.
A bit about World of Speakers
World of Speakers is a bi-weekly podcast that helps people find their own voices, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business. This special series of episodes has been created to help speakers navigate the coronavirus crisis.
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