210 FS Finding Leads at Conferences with Matt Krause
01:38 - Matt Krause Introduction
- They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople) 02:56 - The Mindset Change/Attitude Adjustment and The 3 Most Common Misconceptions
- C-Level Executives
- The Elevator Speech
- Follow-up Collateral 08:50 - Impressing and Connecting with the Right People (Positioning)
- “Stalking is only bad if it’s unwanted.”
- Podcast Movement
- Toastmasters 18:53 - How do you write a speech?
- Talking to the wall (Rubber Ducking)
- Boy Meets Girl
- HGOMM (Hero, Goal, Obstacle, Mentor, Moral) 30:15 - Audience Participation37:13 - Speechwriting No-Nos
- Do not read off of your script 40:58 - Topic Selection
- Problem => Resolution
- Philip Morgan: What Jerry Springer can teach you about positioning
- Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories
- Lead Generation Trust Velocity (Philip)
- Inbox Zero (Reuven)
- Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden (Chuck)
- The Malloreon Series by David Eddings (Chuck)
- Get help from the panel! (Chuck)
- Newbie Remote Conf (Chuck)
- Get A Coder Job (Chuck)
- All Remote Conferences (Chuck)Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories (Matt)
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CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 210 of The Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Reuven Lerner.
REUVEN: Hi everyone.
CHUCK: Philip Morgan.
PHILIP: Hello hello.
CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week we have a special guest and that is Matt Krause. Did I say that right?
MATT: Hello. Yes, you did. And it’s a pleasure to be here.
CHUCK: Do you want to give us a brief introduction, Matt?
MATT: Yeah, sure. I am originally from the US, from California and Seattle, but now I live in Istanbul. And I do speech writing for people in the finance industry like bankers and portfolio managers and stuff like that.
CHUCK: Every time somebody says Istanbul, I have that song go through my head.
MATT: Yeah. I try not to get that song right into my head because once it starts, it just can’t stop.
CHUCK: Alright, well then I won’t quote lyrics at you.
PHILIP: Wait, wait, which song are you guys talking about? I seriously don’t know.
MATT: Istanbul – what's it? Istanbul –
CHUCK: Just look it up.
MATT: Constantinople, right? It’s from – who was that?
CHUCK: Isn't They Might Be Giants?
REUVEN: They did it, but it’s a much older song, but they did a modern version of it.
PHILIP: Got you. Alright. I am hereby educated.
MATT: Yeah. I highly recommend not looking any further into that.
PHILIP: Let sleeping dogs lie. Alright.
MATT: Yeah. Just let sleeping dogs lie. [Chuckles]
CHUCK: Alright, well we brought you on to talk about finding leads.
CHUCK: I’m curious as to where would you start in talking about finding leads. There's so much out there about it, so much advice, so many ideas – where do you recommend that we start?
MATT: Where I would recommend that we start is what I call the mindset change or the attitude adjustment. I think that speaking as lead gen is great. It’s how I make my living, it’s how I put food on the table, it’s how I pay my rent, but 90% of the people who think that “hey, I need to speak”, I think they come at it the wrong way. They have way overblown expectations about what's going to happen. And so there are three in particular, and so that’s where I would start is diving into those three.
CHUCK: Now, you said attitude adjustment. My mom always said I needed one of those, so I’m eager to get started.
MATT: [Chuckles] Ok. Shall I get started with the three most common misconceptions that we see?
MATT: Ok. One is that somehow attending a conference, whether it’s as a speaker or as an audience member, is somehow going to change your life and your businesses. We see this – I've got a client right now who’s at a conference in Germany. I’m on the mailing list for this conference and so they send me their promotional emails. And one of the promotional emails mentions how many C-level executives are going to be at this conference. It’s one of their – they promote some big number like “45% of our 9 million participants are going to be C-level executives”. And a lot of people will read that and they think “oh wow, if I attend this conference, then the decision-makers that I’m trying to reach all year long, they're all going to be in the same room and it’s going to be like manna from heaven, and all of a sudden my life is going to change”, and that is totally totally the wrong way to go about it.
The little C-level executives, they're not thinking about you at all. They're there for the same reason you are which is to expand their businesses and to meet people and do some networking. They are definitely not there thinking “hey, I’m going to meet this great vendor” [chuckles]. So that’s one misconception is that somehow the richness of the C-level executives in a room is somehow going to magically change your business overnight. That’s misconception number one.
CHUCK: Yeah, but if I eat a baloney sandwich and the C-level guy is eating a baloney sandwich, then I’m not much smarter, right?
MATT: No. [Chuckles]
CHUCK: Man. I’ve been doing it wrong all this time.
MATT: Yeah [chuckles]. Sorry to break your dreams about that, but that’s not how it works.
The second misconception that we see a lot of people have is for years I've been hearing about the elevator speech, and they think “oh, if I have just the right – if I have the perfect combination of words in the elevator speech, then somehow my life is going to change. I’m going to have 10 seconds in the elevator with this person and I’m going to puke my elevator speech out on him, and they're going to get off that elevator and think ‘oh my god, when I get back into the office, I need to hire that person immediately’”. And so that's misconceptions [inaudible].
And I love elevator speech and I think they're great, but they have almost no effect on other people. They're great for you to finding what it is that you do and for you focusing on what it is that you do and who you serve. And so it’s a – coming up with an elevator speech is a great exercise for you to do in your living room or your kitchen. It has no effect at all on anybody else. That’s misconception number two.
CHUCK: There I admit that I've been in the elevator with somebody who gave me their elevator pitch, and then they looked at me expectedly like “aren’t you impressed?” I was looking back at him like “I’m almost to my floor”.
MATT: When you dump out your elevator speech on somebody, they're not thinking “oh my god, here I am in the elevator speech – or here I am in the elevator and I’m just waiting for this guy to rock my world”. They're not thinking about that.
CHUCK: “Haaaaa!” Right? The light shines down from above.
MATT: They're not thinking about that at all. They're not even hoping for that. They're just like “oh my god, this was such a long day, and there were so many boring speeches. I just want to get back to my room and call my wife and then maybe go to the pool or something”. That’s all they're thinking. They're not thinking “ok now. Here’s your big 10 seconds, rock my world”. That’s not what they're thinking.
And then the third misconception that we run into is that – and this one is about the follow-up collateral, the PDF that you attach to an email and you send to this new contact that you made when you get back in the office. And there's this common misconception that more is better, that a page white paper in which you dump out all of your years of hard one experience and all of your brilliance, this 20-page document where you dump all of that out is somehow going to rock their world, and that’s not the job of that at all. It took you years to acquire that experience, and to expect somebody to be impressed by it in a couple of seconds is completely the wrong way to think about it, I think.
CHUCK: Well, then I know a few people at the C-level and they don’t have time to read a 20-page thing. They’ll read it if you’ve already primed them to be interested in what you have to share. Otherwise, forget it.
I want to go back to that first point though because I think there's plenty to dig in here, and that is if they're there to network and you're there to network, then how do you make it so that when you're at an event that you are connecting with the right people and that they are actually going to be interested in talking to you. Because – I don’t know – it just doesn’t seem like it’s that automatic to me. You can follow them around, but eventually they're just going to get weirded out that you won’t leave them alone.
MATT: That’s true. They are going to arrest you for stalking if that’s the way you go about it. And the key to – I think the key to making these contacts is – it’s like going to a conference, and networking is – it’s very much like going to a singles bar. You don’t go to a singles bar – now, I’m the last person who should be giving romantic advice, but when you go to a singles bar, I think the most successful people at the singles bar are the ones who have crushed their egos, not in a bad way, but crushed their egos enough so that they're not there trying to get their needs fulfilled, they're – before they get their needs fulfilled, they crush their needs long enough to see what is the other person needing.
And so when you get these networking events, you might have a roomful of a thousand people that your goal should not be to make all of those thousand people interested in you; it should be to pick out the 3 or 4 people who you want to meet and figure out what interests them and maybe something that you know or some service you provide interests them, and then you have a reason to talk with them and establish the connection.
But to walk into the room and say there are a thousand people here – I’m mixing metaphors here – singles and conferences – to walk into a conference room with a thousand people and think that somehow you're going to find a way to interest a large portion of that thousand people is setting yourself up for disappointment.
REUVEN: This sounds vaguely, or even not too vaguely, like positioning. Just as your website and just as your business isn't going to appeal to everyone, you shouldn’t expect to appeal to everyone at a conference. I have a friend who before she goes to a conference tries to find who else is going, and goes through those people’s profiles in LinkedIn and tries to find a few of the people who are most likely to be of use to her and her work. And then she targets them and goes and talks to them and figures there’s a great chance of success there.
And until you just said everything you said, I used to think that was just like kind of cook-y and a little stalk-ish, but now it actually sounds like it makes good business sense.
MATT: It does make good business sense. And before I talk about that, I want to acknowledge that when it comes to positioning, I know I’m on a podcast in which one of the people is like the god of positioning. [Inaudible] you Philip. So by the way, a shout out to Philip because over the past year or so, he has been one of – not that exclusively, but one of my lighthouses in the quest to specialize.
But back to the LinkedIn stalking –
CHUCK: Stalking is only bad if it’s unwanted.
MATT: There you go. And stalking is only bad if it’s unwanted. And there is absolutely nothing unwanted about looking on LinkedIn. Let’s say you got this conference of a thousand people, and you know that in this time you're only going to be able to meet 4 or 5 of these people. And these people, if you have – if you can solve one of their problems, then they want to meet you. Doing all the little LinkedIn stalking to find out who those 4 or 5 people are, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.
PHILIP: So Matt, I’m curious. I know that most conferences are going to publish their speaker list. How would you know – go on later deeper on the LinkedIn stalking – how would you know who might be there? Maybe you're going to build a shortlist of people that you think you're well-positioned to help them in some way, solve some problem their business is facing – how do you go about finding them?
MATT: If you have a conference of a thousand people or a hundred people or however large the conference is, less than 10% of the people are going to be speakers. Most of the people in the room are going to be audience members. And so if you just look at the list of speakers to find out who to talk to, you're not going to have much luck there. And it’s going to be very competitive because a lot of people are going to be trying to speak or talk to the speakers.
So one of the best ways is a technique that a lot of people use naturally, which is you're going to a conference; it’s probably in an industry that you work in so you know some other people in your industry. So you talk to them and say “hey, I am really interested in digitalization of financial services”, and they’ll tell you “oh, you should talk to X Y Z or A B C or this other person”. And so that kind of retail sourcing is how most people go about it and it’s one of the most effective ways to go about it, I think. Ask other people who are in your industry, tell them what's on your mind, tell them what you're looking for, and if they're in your industry they’ll probably know somebody.
CHUCK: I can tell you too, and I’ll just give brief example of this, I’m going to be attending Podcast Movement in Chicago in a few weeks. And I had two different people – one of them interviewed me for his podcast, and the other one has been a member of the Ruby Rogues panel and she’s going to be there as well with her husband, and they both mentioned that they were going to be at the conference. And one of them basically said “do you know many people there?” – and I've gone to this conference for the last 3 years, so I definitely know people there – and I said “yeah, I know people” and she immediately said “well, can you introduce me?”
And just that much, even though she doesn’t necessarily know who she’s targeting there or the people that she’s going to want to talk with, the reality is that since I know what her podcast is about, I know what she does, I know what she cares about, I know what personality type she is, there are definitely people that I’m going to introduce her to that I think are going to be able to benefit her with the relationship and also will be good overall for both of us for her to know. And so just that much, just “oh, somebody I know is going to be there” is in many cases enough to at least get that ball rolling and get that door open.
MATT: This sounds tangential, but it’s actually not. Istanbul is a city of 15 million people or whatever. It’s not a city of 15 million people; it’s a lot of little groups of 50 people. And conferences are the same way. You might have a thousand people at a conference, but it’s not a thousand atomized people; it’s a bunch of groups of 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 people. And most of your life is going to be lived in that group anyway. And to try to live your life outside of that group, then you're going to have a really low success rate if you approach things that way.
CHUCK: That’s actually pretty true. It’s funny that you mentioned that because at this particular conference, at Podcast Movement I mean, I do actually move in a couple of different circles. So I know a lot of the people in the business podcast base, and then I also know a lot of people in the Christian podcast base, and then a lot of people in the technology podcast base, and all of them move in different circles. And there's some cross-pollination because I introduced some of the people between them and they introduced some of the other people between each other, but yeah, generally the people in the one group aren’t going to be spending a ton of time with people in the other group unless they actually fit in to that group already.
MATT: This business that I have now, the financial speech writing business, it kind of morphed from another business which was broader – in my naïve days 2 or 3 years ago, my naïve pre-Philip Morgan days before specialization, I would do presentation training. And for some reason a lot of people seem to think that when they stand up in front of a group and somebody turns on PowerPoint, they magically become different beings following a different set of rules. And that’s the wrong way to go about it.
You're used to seeing human to human communication tools that you’ve been using since you were born. Going to a conference is the same way. If you try to use anything but the human communication techniques that you’ve been using for your entire life, you're setting yourself up for massive failure and disappointment.
CHUCK: Yeah. This is again something that I've learned in Toastmasters where each speech focuses on the different part of the way that you communicate. And yeah, every bit of it from your vocal variety all the way down to telling stories, you have more people’s attention at the same time. But ultimately, it’s the things that people identify with – they don’t change when you're giving a speech, and those are the things that really pay off for you.
MATT: At some point in this podcast day, I’d like to go a little deeper into – now that you bring up Toastmasters, the speech gene comes out and at some point in this interview today, I’d like to go into the [inaudible] structure of a speech and how we go up on [inaudible] – I don’t know – do you want to do that now or should we do that later?
CHUCK: I think that’s a pretty good segue.
MATT: Ok. A couple of days ago, I got this newsletter and I subscribed to 9 million email newsletters and so this was just one of them. And the guy was talking about the importance of writing a book or the value of writing a book and I totally agree with that. I’m completely down with that idea that the importance of writing a book. I was reading through that email thinking “yeah, I understand how important writing a book is. How do you write a book?”
So we’re here on this podcast and we’re talking about the importance of speaking as lead gen, and it’s easy for us to all agree that “oh yes, speaking is great for lead generation”, but then you get to this question about “well, so how do you write a speech?” and you can solve that by learning some techniques from Toastmasters. And by the way I’m also a Toastmasters member, Chuck, so I am a big fan of Toastmasters.
But the question of how do you write a speech comes up, and the first step that we used when writing a speech, it’s what I call talking to the wall. I don’t mean talk to the wall as in like talk to inanimate object that doesn’t care. I just mean talk to an inanimate object like talk to the TV or a plant or your cellphone or whatever.
CHUCK: In programming we call it rubber ducking.
MATT: Rubber ducking. I have never heard that term, but by rubber ducking, do you mean –?
CHUCK: You talk to a rubber duck.
MATT: Yeah, ok. Talk to a rubber duck – you're just doing a brain dump of the things that are on your mind. Is that what you're talking about?
CHUCK: Yeah, without the stress of having a real person in front of you that might be scrutinizing what you're saying.
MATT: That’s what I mean. Spend a couple of hours talking about somebody – talking to a rubber duck or to a plant or to a wall or whatever – some inanimate object that doesn’t care or isn't critiquing what you're saying, and just randomly unstructured dump all the stuff that’s on your mind; just dump it out onto the floor and just see what's there.
And one of the benefits of that is that in that process, you might find some new way of describing something or some new perspective on something. Every once in a while you'll find that “ok, I started out I was talking about X, but [inaudible] that I was really interested in talking about Y”. That happens about 20% of the time, but about 80% of the time what’ll happen is that you see another perspective or another angle on the issue. That’s the main benefit that comes out of the rubber ducking. For programming, is it a similar benefit?
CHUCK: Yeah. Usually it’s a technique you use for debugging or for designing the code. And so as you work through the problem, as you talk through the problem, explain the problem to your rubber duck, a lot of times you'll have the insights of “oh, I didn’t look at this. Oh, I didn’t try this. I didn’t think of that”. My brain took me to a different place because I’m vocalizing about my thought process.
MATT: Yes. The next stage is what I call Boy Meets Girl. It’s adding some structure to this miscellaneous [inaudible] stuff that you puked out onto the floor. And when I say Boy Meets Girl, I wouldn’t in a million years claim that that was my idea. That idea existed god knows how many thousands of years ago.
So basically Boy Meets Girl is something good happens, boy meets girl. Something bad happens, boy loses girl. Something good and inspirational happens, boy gets girl back. It’s a useful structure that works for many industries. And we can even take a speech about Istanbul’s corporate debt markets and give that speech coherence and interestingness by running it through this Boy Meets Girl structure. The Boy Meets Girl structure, it works for a lot of things, but you still need to check it. So you need to run it through some tests. It’s after you apply this structure, you still need to run it through some tests.
And a couple of the tests that I recommend running it through – one, I call it Stick to the Delta. The delta is – delta as in change, and not delta as in the Mississippi River delta. Delta is a change. Humans love movement. They're fascinated by movement; movement and change. So as you're reviewing the structure that you applied, the Boy Meets Girl, look at it from the perspective of is there a change, is there a movement in the speech. And with the Boy Meets Girl story, there will almost always be movement because first, the boy meets the girl then the boy loses the girl and the boy gets the girl back.
In the example of Turkish corporate debt, the Turkish corporate debt market used to be great, now they're not so great, this is what I recommend for getting them back on track. So almost always you'll pass this first test, the Stick to the Delta test. The second test, I call that HGOMM, and HGOMM stands for Hero – H stands for Hero, then Goal, Obstacle, Mentor, Moral. And again, this is not an original Matt idea. I stole this from Copyblogger. When you're reviewing your corporate debt speech or whatever other speech you're writing about whatever subject, make sure that these 5 elements are in your story. If you’ve missed one of them, then you might need to work it in there.
REUVEN: So Matt, let me just ask this then. I know this is going to sound a little silly, but why would you care about having these elements of a speech? Is it because – and let me try to bring it around maybe a bit to consulting and freelancing and even a bit to lead generation – is the idea that because I give a lot of talks at conferences, and I know – I just know from experience that when I give a talk, at some point within the next 6 month, and it can’t take that long, someone will call me and say “I saw your talk and I’m interested in hiring you or I’m interested in exploring” – if you use one of these structures then it sounds like it will resonate more with your audience and you have a greater chance of that happening, am I right?
MATT: Yeah. That’s why I recommend using these structures.
REUVEN: Ok. It’s not just it sounds nice, but there is actually added effect to just do it.
CHUCK: Well, the thing is we – I think we all work in narratives. I explain programming concepts in narratives. The fact that somebody can follow a story, somebody can invest in a character, invest in a process, invest in an outcome, and that’s where – so they invest in the character, they invest in the hero, they invest in maybe themselves as the hero; you have the goals that you're working towards so they get invested in a particular outcome occurring. And you move through this narrative and you work through it.
And people are somewhat familiar and expect things to follow this pattern anyway, and so by doing this you give them something that they're familiar with, but at the same time you give them something that they can latch on to and feel like they're a part of.
REUVEN: Got it.
MATT: Actually when working with a – the sector that we work with is financial people. And the story that they tell themselves about their place in the world is that they're all through rational, everything is by the numbers, everything is reviewed and maybe that’s true. In the end, if you pull back enough of the layers, you'll find that there's a human below there. And humans, for whatever reason, they respond to these kinds of structures.
And if you mention the word story to the sector that we work with, the finance types, they’ll often think of story as “a fable that I heard when I was a kid and there was a beautiful princess, and there was a brave knight on a big white horse”, and that what's a story is. And so when you mention the word story to this particular cohort, you might lose all credibility really fast, but if you peel back the layers, that is basically still the tool that you're using is the structure of telling a story.
CHUCK: Yeah, absolutely.
Well, and if you go read – I’m in the middle of a series of fantasy novels right now that’s kind of my escape and there are still things that – morals to the story so to speak, but people really latch on to that and they really identify with it because effectively it’s a narrative of a struggle or a narrative of something familiar that they have dealt with. And so it takes them to a place where they can then relate to identify with and invest in whatever you're talking about.
MATT: Reuven, you said that you do speaking at conferences and that invariably someone [inaudible] up with you. Is that correct?
REUVEN: Yeah, yeah. I thought not necessarily after my talk, but it’s pretty – I would say 80, 90% likely that after you give a talk at a conference, someone will ask me at some point to – if I can help them out, for sure.
MATT: Getting that kind of response especially if you're giving a talk at a conference or if you're a speaker on a panel or something at a conference, whatever, you have an opportunity while you're in front of that audience to portray yourself as somebody who’s approachable. Sometimes and often mostly out of nervousness, people will get up there on the stage and their conversation will just be one-way. “I’m up here. I reached for my script, and you're sitting in that chair, and then in 10 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever, I’m going to sit down and this will be over”. And the conversion rate on that tends to be very low. The conversion rate isn't the number of people who are going to approach you either afterwards at the break or a couple of months later at your office or whatever. The conversion rate on that approach tends to be pretty low.
So I also think it’s important when you're speaking at a conference to drum up audience participation, a two-way participation in some way. And it doesn’t have to be fancy or sophisticated or well-developed or whatever, but it’s important to drum up that two-way conversation. And if you're there to network or to generate leads for your business, that kind of two-way participation in your speech will pay huge dividends at the break or months later at your office.
PHILIP: Matt, do you have any go-to ways to do that? Is that like asking for a show of hands from the audience or something more involved than that?
MATT: No, it’s as simple as that.
PHILIP: Ah ok.
MATT: There's a misconception – I wouldn’t put it as the biggest misconception, but there's a common misconception which is that drumming up this audience participation is a personality skill; there are only a few charismatic people who can do it. And to some extent, that’s true. Now, I would say that roughly 30% of a person’s ability to have a two-way participation with the audience is personality-based, but 70% of it is structural. It has absolutely nothing to do with your charismatic powers.
One way that you can do it is by asking one person. You can do it in stages. To walk out cold onto the stage and to ask everybody to open their mouths and start speaking, it’s like you'll be terrified, the audience will probably be shocked, the whole thing will just go south real fast, so it’s much better to start slow. And you can start by asking one person a simple yes or no question, and all you want is for them to say yes or no. And that just signals to the audience that “ok, it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be fine to open your mouth and speak”. And that’s all you want.
And it doesn’t even have to be about your subject. I've seen people get up and just do a quick time check. They get up there on the stage and they look out into the audience or they look at the organizers or whatever and say “I’m going to be up here for 20 minutes. If I go over, can you signal to me?”
REUVEN: That’s good.
MATT: Somebody says yes; that’s all you need, one person saying yes or no. And [inaudible] ok, some voice – opening your mouth is ok. The world is not going to end if I open my mouth. So then you move on from there to a larger group of people and not asking them to say anything, just the show of hands. “Today I’m speaking about how to solve problem X. How many of you had experienced problem X in your professional lives”, and 40% of the audience raises their hand. They don’t need to vocalize anything, just raise hands.
So now you have one person opening their mouth, you have a little physical activity – 40% of the people raising their hand – now you move on to something a little bit more difficult which is getting one person to stand up and vocalize. Because remember at the first time that you got somebody to vocalize, it might have been about an irrelevant subject. Somehow you [inaudible] step number 3. You get one person to stand up and vocalize, and that’s a pretty hard step to make.
But one of the ways that I recommend doing that is at the coffee break beforehand or at the lunch or whatever, some break beforehand. Talk to some of your audience members and find out why they're there and tell them what you're speaking about and get them to ask you a question about the subject and then say “that’s a great question. Would you mind standing up during my speech and asking that question?” And talk to 5 people, 4 of them will be scared, they're not going to do it, but one of them will jump at the opportunity. “Yeah, I’d love to stand up during your speech and ask this question”. So now you’ve recruited your [inaudible] for step number 3.
So you reach the time in your speech where you want to get to speech or technique number 3 – you want to show people that “ok, it’s ok to stand up and open your mouth”. So when that time comes, get your recruited person to stand up and ask their question. Now the audience knows that it’s ok to open your mouth and it’s ok to raise your hand. It’s ok to a have a two-way conversation with the speaker.
REUVEN: You know, it’s funny you say that – I do mostly training, and before, there's a company that I did a lot of training through for a number of years, and they had me do a screen test kind of thing. And so it was just me giving as it were a 5-minute lesson to one person. I did my 5-minute thing and she said “well, you were ok”. I said “ok, what can I do to improve?” and she said “the first thing you should do when starting a talk or when starting to teach is you should go around the room and ask people’s names and what their background is”. And I really [inaudible] that until I started to do that. And I really feel it’s like a crucial part now of when I teach talking to people and learning who they are and starting the interaction already from the first moment.
And so I was in Beijing about 2 weeks ago now teaching, and I got feedback, of course indirectly through the training company that I was working with there, saying that the training manager at the company really thought that this was a huge waste of time that I was talking to people and getting their names and getting their backgrounds. I should really do that before the course, not during the course.
And my feeling was it was a game changer because it showed I want the interaction, and it showed that I’m curious about them, and I could use that information in my teaching. And so from my perspective, it’s not a waste of time at all; it sets the stage for better interactions and better learning and a better talk in my part.
MATT: When you do these trainings and when you ask people to introduce themselves, how larger are the groups?
REUVEN: It depends. Usually it’s a maximum of about 20. And 20 is like the most that I would even want to people through it because I do realize it could take 10 minutes or so.
MATT: Yeah. I've seen some organization – it’s kind of an organizational cultural thing, and I've seen some organizations where they’ll have a group of a hundred people and they’ll have all of them stand up and introduce themselves, and it’ll take half of a day. [Crosstalk]
But yeah, it is painful. It’s much easier when you have a small group. But even if you have a large group, a technique like this would be very useful even if you have a large group and don’t allow everybody in that large group – let’s say you have a thousand people. It’s logistically impossible to have all 1000 stand up and introduce themselves, but you can have at least 10 people introduce themselves. You pick 10 representative in a reasonably diverse people to introduce themselves, and what is that tell the audience? It tells the audience that “ok, maybe I didn’t get this chance to stand up and introduce myself, but my interests are represented by that person over there who works in a similar industry and is also a man” or something like that. So yeah, that introduction technique is a very useful technique.
REUVEN: Are there any big no-nos – because I’ll tell you also because I do a lot of teachings, so people come to me and ask me for help in terms of speech writing or I should say giving talks, and I never know because I've been doing it for so long, it’s one of these things that’s like natural. “Oh, you do want to do X, Y, Z. You don’t want to do A, B, C”. So will you give us some ideas on what you do want to do? What are some things that might seem like things you want to do that you don’t if you want to get people attention and then have them become – have them be interested in becoming potential clients?
MATT: Before we move on to new territory – sorry, I’d like to go back to the introduction thing which actually is a no-no thing. [Inaudible] when doing these introductions is not going around the room in a predictable manner. Let’s say that you have a group of 20 people in front of you, and you start over on the left side of the room and you gradually move over to the right side of the room. The fact often will be that the people who have not yet spoken will be – they’ll be rehearsing in their head what they're going to say. And after they speak, they’ll be sitting there slightly shy and thinking “man, did I screw that up really bad?”
And so the only people who will be listening to the introductions will be you, the speaker, and the person in the audience who’s introducing themselves. No one else will be listening. So instead I recommend jumping around a little bit over here on the left side of the room, then introduce the person over here on the right side of the room, and somebody from the middle of the room, so mixing it up into an order; a more random – a seemingly more randomized order.
But Reuven, you asked the question a moment ago about big no-nos. What was that question?
REUVEN: Yeah. So someone’s giving a talk, they're at a conference or something, and they want to maximize the number of people who are interested in contacting them either right after the talk or in the weeks and months afterwards. So you’ve mentioned something they should do. What are the things they should not do?
MATT: I would recommend that they not reach from their notes. I've seen some speakers who get up there and stand by in the podium and they’ll grip both sides of the podium and they're so nervous and they’ll read word for word from the speech, and that tends to be really bad for the conversion rate on the lead generation activities because what do people learn about you? They learn that you're not approachable. And they want to talk to an expert, and if you're up there and you're reading off of your script, you might not be an expert. If you're an expert, if you know your subject really well, you could probably just talk off of the top of your head.
Any of us are experts on some subject [inaudible], and on that subject, we don’t need a script. We can just talk about that something on the top of our head. So that would be probably number one on my tip of big no-nos is do not read off of your script. It’s perfectly ok to have some notes to help you stay on track, but if your audience wanted you to stand up there and read off your notes, they could’ve stayed home and they would’ve read a book or something.
CHUCK: I love the [inaudible] that comes off of that too because it’s always “uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh”.
MATT: Yeah [chuckles]. Yeah, the [inaudible] also tends to – not only the technique, but also the [inaudible] tends to put people to sleep.
PHILIP: Matt, I was curious if you have any advice on topic selection like what kind of stuff should you talk about if your goal is to project expertise and hopefully pick up some really good potential client leads. How would you choose the right topic?
MATT: Problem resolution. Choose a topic that it’s a problem that most of your audience is having and how have you resolved it. You don’t have to – actually, you probably should not stand up there and try to appear perfect like “hey, all of you [inaudible] out there. You're having this problem. I've solved it. I’m the big wise one now. Everybody follow me”. That’s a bad way to go about problem resolution. But “5 years ago, I started having problem. And so I started trying to solve it. I tried this and it worked well for a while, but then I ran into some other problems or it didn’t solve the problem completely. So I tried technique number 2, and that solved it a little bit better, but there were still some problems. So I tried – I made some adjustments and I tried technique number 3.”
So the audience knows that you can solve the problem and you can solve the problem that they're having, but you also understand that not everybody has the perfect knowledge of the solved problem. And you're probably going to be patient as you're walking them – or walking them through wall they stumble through the attempt to solve this problem.
PHILIP: Yeah, I can see how that Boy Meets Girl dynamic story structure could work with that where you're not like “here’s a problem, and then tadaa” magic wand solution. But it’s like problem, and then apparent solution, and then setback, and then other approach and then – and so it’s more interesting, it sounds like, to describe it that way.
MATT: It’s more interesting – it makes for a more interesting speech – what do you humans like to do? One of the things that humans like to do is they like to see other humans trying to solve problems. So if you get up there and you try to position yourself as the guy who doesn’t have any problems because they’ve been solved already, nobody’s going to be interested in that.
If you get up there and you position yourself as the brave guy who sees the problem and isn't quite sure how to tackle it but tries to do it anyway and here’s what he learned, they’ll be much more interested in that. And because you come across as more approachable, your conversion rate on generating the leads will skyrocket if you take that approach.
PHILIP: My email to my list today was about The Jerry Springer Show, and I think that for listeners who are not familiar with that, I can’t really recommend that you familiarize yourself with it, but that’s the core dynamic of that show is like people with problems “trying to work them out in public”.
REUVEN: I seem to remember hearing someone talk about Hollywood where they said “why is there always conflict on shows in TV or in movies? Because otherwise, it’s really boring”. No one wants to see “Mr. Jones went to work. Mr. Jones has a happy family”. No one’s interested in that. We’re always interested in some sort of conflict. And so if you can put some conflict or tension into your talk or in your story, then people are more likely to be interested.
MATT: There's a video that I’ll mentioned when we start talking about our picks, but one of my picks is this YouTube video, and in this video Kurt Vonnegut is diagraming story structures. And one of the structures that he diagrams is called – he calls it Man in Hole. The structure is extremely simple. It’s man gets himself in a hole, man gets himself out. And he says people love that story [inaudible]. But yeah, it’s absolutely true if you try to portray yourself as “I’m the guy who never got himself into a hole and all of my problems are solved”, you'll be like the most boring person on the earth, the most boring person who ever existed.
REUVEN: You call it [inaudible].
MATT: Yeah, exactly.
CHUCK: Alright, well let’s go ahead and wrap this up and get to picks. Philip, what are your picks?
PHILIP: I should pick The Jerry Springer Show. I was just reading it [inaudible]. It’s a lot of things, but it is a successful example of dramatized storytelling. It’s been on the air since 1991; 25 years, I think. Anyway, I’m reminded of what Matt was talking about here. There's a lot going on with speaking as lead generation that relates to building trust, and I think half of the game is ability to be authentic in a high-pressure high-stake situation.
So I’m going to pick my thing again – trustvelocity.com, which is a list of lead generation techniques sorted by their ability to increase trust. You'll see when you look at that list that speaking is way up the top, and I think that’s because it’s just so – when done right, it’s just so fast and rapid at building trust and I think that’s one of the reasons it makes for a great lead gen technique if you can pull it off. And I feel like now we have a lot more information about how to do that well. So that’s my pick for this week.
CHUCK: Nice. Reuven, what are your picks?
REUVEN: I have a simple pick, which is the famous term, Inbox Zero. I finally after years of having tons and tons of email and being stressed about it and not getting back to people for days or weeks or months, and being profoundly embarrassed about it, I finally decided the time has come to do something about this. And so over the last few weeks, I little by little chipped away at the email in my inbox. And about I think it was 3 days, I finally was able to make that famous claim of inbox zero. We’ll see how long it lasts. I hope it lasts a while. But I have to say that for the last few days, it has been shocking how relaxed I am now. I mean I’m not really relaxed; it’s still me, but relaxed about email, and I can close my email program and not be terrified that there's all these stuff backing up. I feel like in some ways it’s like getting out of debt. They're right; it’s like this sort of thing off your shoulders. So it is possible.
And I should say the other thing is I really didn’t understand how all these people who are clearly way more overworked than I am and have so much – and do so many more things than I do, how is it that they are not totally backed up with email and they're able to turn it off for [inaudible] times a day when they respond to it all. And I see now that if you get rid of a lot of it and then you get in these measured chunks, you can actually deal with it more easily.
So for those of you out there struggling with their email, it is possible and I strongly recommend you try it. And again, I’ll let you know how long it actually lasts, but even if don’t last a few weeks, or even hopefully a few months or longer, I can tell you already it’s going to make my life a lot better.
CHUCK: Cool. I've got a couple of picks here. So I think last week I've picked Start with Why by Simon Sinek, and some of the same folks who have recommended his books to me recommended another book that I’m reading now, and it is also blowing my mind. It is Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden and he talks about – it’s basically about prioritizing the right things and then setting up systems to get them done. And so it’s kind of a time management book, but it is – it goes well beyond that, in my opinion. I’m still reading it. I’m really enjoying it. So yeah, I’m going to pick that book.
And then the fantasy series that I mentioned that I've been reading lately is called The Malloreon by David Eddings. It is really a fun read. It’s 5 books in the series. If you want the back story on it, there's another series called The Belgariad, also by David Eddings. That’s another 5-book series, and you probably want to read that one first. You can follow the story in The Malloreon without it, but it has a lot of the same characters in it, so if you want that in order, you can.
And then I’m also going to push a few other things here. One is that if you have a burning question or problem in your freelancing practice and you need a little bit of help, we have things set up where you can record a quick YouTube video detailing what your problem is and who you are, and you can submit that at freelancersshow.com/struggling. And if we like your question, we might invite you on the show, dig into it a little bit more, and have you on the show so we can talk through it.
And then finally, this show will come out a couple of weeks before a couple of other things that I want people to be aware of. If you're in Chicago, I’m doing a meet-up in Chicago on July 9th. And then the week after that is Newbie Remote Conf. So if you're a new programmer or you want new programmer content, you can check that out.
And finally, much less relevant I guess to this audience, I’m putting together a webinar series on how to find a job. So if you are a new programmer and you’ve been listening to this just out of some interest in freelancing, but you really want to find that full-time job, you could go check that out at getacoderjob.com. It’s going to be a webinar series that I’m eventually going to turn into a paid course and hopefully that can help some folks jump that hurdle and get that job.
So anyway, lots of stuff there, but go and check those out. Also putting on a couple of other remote conferences if you're into those things, and I’ll just shout those out real quick as well. Outcoming, we have Robots Remote Conf, Rails Remote Conf, Angular Remote Conf, and React Remote Conf, all coming up at the end of the summer and beginning of fall. So you could check all of those out at allremoteconfs.com
Matt, what are your picks?
MATT: My first pick is that Kurt Vonnegut video that I mentioned, and I’ll send you the link so you can put it in the show notes. But he graphs 3 stories; 2 generic structures. One is – he calls it the Man in Hole – man gets in hole, man gets out. And the second structure that he graphs is Boy Meets Girl. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.
And what I really liked about this video – it’s a short video. It’s like 3 minutes, something like that. What I really liked about this video is that he takes these complicated mysterious things called famous stories that stick around for years, and he makes you realize that the basic structure is amazingly simple. He even takes Cinderella and he graphs the whole story of Cinderella and you see that graph and you're just like “oh my god, this structure is so simple”. So he takes this big mysterious thing – stories that get handed down for thousands of years and he graphs them in a very simple and clear way.
CHUCK: Cool. Now, if people want to check out what you're up to these days Matt, they want to follow you on Twitter or maybe get a little more information from you, what should they do?
MATT: They should go to a particular page on my website. It’s dopplercomm – comm, as in communications. So dopplercomm.com/fs, fs as in Freelancers’ Show, and there they’ll find a guide to the 3 mindset changes that we discussed at the beginning and then a 5-day or a 5-installment email course about how to structure a speech, stuff like that. So dopplercomm.com/fs.
CHUCK: Alright. Very cool. We’ll go ahead and wrap this show up. Thanks for coming Matt.
MATT: Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
CHUCK: We’ll catch everyone next week.
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