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How Speaking Creates Connection - Andre Daughty

succeed through speaking tom bailey Feb 22, 2023

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Andre Daughty.

Andre Daughty (pronounced Daugh like how) is a public speaker delivering conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars and student assemblies. He enjoys sharing strategies to create and build culture within a school and organization, bringing awareness on today’s generation, understanding, and developing attitudes of at-risk student populations, and motivating excellence in the classroom and school with students of colour. His ability to connect with people from every walk of life allows him to deliver hilarious, yet thought-provoking presentations, workshops, and experiences.

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Tom Bailey  00:07

Hello and welcome to succeed through speaking the place for experts and entrepreneurs who want high value ideas to boost business results. Hello, I'm Tom Bailey. And in today's speaker stories episode, I'll be getting to know Andre Daughty, who is a keynote speaker, personal development expert and workshop facilitator who helps build better cultures within schools and organizations. So Andre, hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Andre Daughty  00:44

Hello, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Tom Bailey  00:47

Fantastic. I really appreciate you coming along and sharing your expertise with us. So a real quick question. Whereabouts in the world? Are you right now?

Andre Daughty  00:54

Yes, I am Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Awesome. Thank

Tom Bailey  00:59

you for sharing. And I know from did a little bit of research about you and I guess stalking you online for a few hours that one of your superpowers is your ability to connect with people from all walks of life. And when you do present onstage you get you can get the right balance between humor, thought leadership, and also creating memorable experiences. So I guess my first question for you today is how do you get that right balance on stage?

Andre Daughty  01:25

Yes, I was the kid growing up who never met a stranger. Yeah, I was a good you know, just go up and just start talking to random people and then just start from there. And that kind of traveled into even the speaking now, where if I am on stage, my first thing is to connect with the audience. And so that may be a two minute joke or a story that really brings in the audience and captures the theme of whatever the speak or the talk is about. And then from there, you kind of balance, like you said, you weigh in some of the good stories and the strategies and ideas. And then you have to also lighten the mood, and put some humor in it in some jokes and funny, funny things like that.

Tom Bailey  02:10

I love that. And I guess, you know, all of that wrapped up does create that experience and a real memorable moment for the audience. And, and I guess a lot of new speakers, they're so focused on themselves, how they sound how they look, what are they doing with their hands that actually sometimes they forget about the audience. So it's really important that you start with the audience.

Andre Daughty  02:31

Yeah, and I'm also a musician. So growing up, I was always around like other musicians and seeing singer seeing musicians play. And so I remember them sharing with me, you have to connect with the audience, you've got to be able to look them in their eye, whether they're in the front seat, or whether they are in the balcony, you want them to have that experience. So you find a way to connect with them. And so that's all a part of that balance as well. I know the information will be good, I know the speak is going to be great. But if they are not going to do with me, they'll or they'll just tap out or walk out. And so that's up to us like as speakers to really make that connection with them.


Tom Bailey  03:15

I love that. And you've already mentioned this, but you know, telling a story, I guess. Why is why story is so important when you're presenting and how do you think you can tell like, what, what's the top? What's the trick? What's the magic of telling a great story?

Andre Daughty  03:33

Yeah, it's the connection. Think about our favorite books, or think about our favorite movies. The reason why they were because they were impactful. You felt tension you saw like a hero's journey, you felt them. And for some of our shows or movies, we saw ourselves in them, we saw characteristics of us in them. So when telling the story, you've got to make that connection where they feel empathy or sympathy, or they're like, Oh, I've had a similar experience. And so connecting that to those stories, it just makes it more powerful. Friend of mine called them hook them and cook them. You throw the line out there like fishing, and you first got to hook them in. And then once when you have them eating up the palm of your hand, you can reel them in and take them on that journey. And then you're cooking them by then

Tom Bailey  04:25

I love that. That's a great example. And I think I'll remember that, hook them and cook them. Thank you for that. So I guess you know, you're a keynote speaker right now, but I guess it wasn't always the case. So let's go right back to the very beginning. And when did you first when did you first get a taste for public speaking?

Andre Daughty  04:45

Yeah, so I'm an educator, been inside of the classroom and I was doing workshops for like our school. And I noticed how exciting the audience was. Yeah, they were loving what I was teaching loving what I was doing Like, they were laughing at my jokes, and sometimes my jokes like corny, because you know, dad jokes. And I was like, Oh, I like this. And so then I started to study it. And then from there, I had more opportunities to like speak and to perform workshops or, or professional development days for schools. And from there, it just, it just started to snowball started to roll. Yeah. And I just thought to myself, I wish I could do this forever. And that's kind of how the journey has been going so far.

Tom Bailey  05:29

I love that. And I guess you know, it started in the classroom, then you were speaking in front of children, and I know you've run workshops for parents, do you? Do you become a different type of speaker and you're onstage in front of a class or audience of children, then you would have been in front of parents? And what is the difference?

Andre Daughty  05:47

Oh, absolutely. Most people, their attention span doesn't go very long. And so I relate that to music. Once again, I'm a musician. And so I remember Clive Davis, he was the person who found Whitney Houston, Rolling Stones, Earth, Wind, and Fire, I mean, all these famous acts, and he said, within that first 1015 seconds, you will know if it's going to be a hit or not, you can tell just within the first 15 seconds. And so it's the same with a speaker, when you're speaking on stage, you got to hook them and cook them quick, or they'll tap out. And so immediately you go forward, you give them some of your great information, or you give them a heartfelt story to connect, or you tell a fact, or statistic or truth that really hooks them, and cooks them. Yeah. And so it's that exact same way, that exact same feeling. And then once we're there in is great. So if it's a student led or student auditorium or a student audience, you still hook them and cook them. But you've got to do it more relatable to students. Yeah, especially if it's elementary students. So we're talking like Spongebob and other cartoons, you're gonna have to be able to look them and cook them the exact same way.

Tom Bailey  07:01

Fantastic. I guess the big takeaway for me there is knowing your audience, and being able to flex a little bit depending on who your audience is. And one thing I've seen from you straightaway is your infectious enthusiasm, I think is the best way I would describe it and present something you have had to turn on more as a speaker if you always just had that.

Andre Daughty  07:24

Yeah. I've always said that, you know, inside of like your classes, when you get the report card, they would always say that actually has a lot of energy. He talks a lot in those small things, then we came the gifts and the talents that I have now.

Tom Bailey  07:44

That's amazing. Yeah, and I guess, I guess not everyone can relate to that. You know, a lot of people struggle with enthusiasm and being vulnerable in front of an audience. But I guess, you know, maybe for some people, they do have to switch it on. But I think it's important that they do do that. Because as an audience, you know, you want to be entertained. Do you want to feel engaged? Do you want to see the enthusiasm of the speaker? So I think it's really a great trait to have for you. Yeah.

Andre Daughty  08:07

Is that infotainment? I've heard a friend coined that phrase, like, if you're up there listening to anybody speak, you want to be entertained, but you also want some relevant information. Yeah, for some people, it comes really easy on a stage. For others, it takes some work. Just once again, just like a musician, there are some people who are just naturally talent. And they're virtuosos, and they get on the stage with whatever instrument and you are just amazed or amazed at their voice. And then there are other people who really have to go through vocal training and rehearsals to get better. So both ways do work.

Tom Bailey  08:45

Yeah, both right, that and that's a really good point, actually, because a lot of people starting out in their journey, think, Oh, I'm not like Andre, I can never become a great speaker like him, but, but it just means you have to work a little bit harder, and you know, work at it. And maybe you'll end up an even better speaker one day if you put in the effort and energy.

Andre Daughty  09:01

And then vice versa. There are areas where it comes natural and easy for me. Like, for example, when I'm in front of a stage and let's say 2000 I don't get scared, I don't get nervous. For others, they get scared and nervous. And you know, anxiety gets the best of them. For me, it's the end. I want to make sure that they have they've had a great experience. So wrapping up that conversation wrapping up that talk that those last two or three minutes for me is the nerve racking. For other people, they're like I've already done this now. So there's some weaknesses for some who are strengths of others, and then vice versa.

Tom Bailey  09:43

Fantastic. quite topical one. You're obviously natural or used to being in person face to face eyeball to eyeball with people. I'm assuming that that changed in 2020 when we had the pandemic So how was it for you to transition from in person to virtual speaking

Andre Daughty  10:01

Yeah, that was really challenging because a lot of my audience were educators. And so we it was all about in person education, in person learning, hands on touching, learning. And then COVID came in the pandemic came, and it was no hands on, and everything shut down. So I'm great video conferencing software that I was already familiar with the just transition some of those workshops, some of those talks to online learning. And then once again, that's like you said earlier, knowing your audience, being empathy, empathetic with your audience. I'll give you one example. There was one school that wanted me to come speak like to their parents, and then to the teachers. And then they asked, Could we postpone? And I said, Sure, you know, no, no big deal. We're going through a pandemic, I get it, then they asked, Could we cancel? And so in the midst of our conversation of the cancellation, they were talking about how there were three of their educators who are like the heart and the soul of the school. Yeah, how they passed away. And so if I would have shown up, you can't compete with that we would be crying the entire time, because they will look around and see their colleagues, not there. Yeah. And so as speaker, you still have to be empathetic to your audience and have sympathy. Yeah. Yeah, of course.

Tom Bailey  11:31

Yeah. clearly understand that. And yeah, I guess it was useful for you to talk about, you know, how you managed to get that transition between them in person to virtual so are you now making the most of the both in terms of bit of virtual bit of impersonal? Have you really gone all? All in back into in person? Presentations? Yeah. going all in? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, makes sense. Fantastic. And I think I lost you for a second then. But you but you are back. So I guess what my one final question, or the one fun place to want to go today is to talk about advice and guidance. So specifically, around choosing a niche, you've obviously got your niche, what you talk about building cultures within schools. How would somebody go about choosing a niche? And what advice if you got somebody

Andre Daughty  12:17

on that is I've heard one speaker, say, if you've ever you've ever been like at a job in an organization, and it's that one thing that gets on your nerves, and in your mind, you know how to fix it. But they continue to do it wrong. But in your mind, you know how to fix it, you know how to make it run, chances are, that's your niche, chances are, that's your passion. Yeah. And so for me, walking inside of schools or organizations, and seeing that teammates don't talk to each other colleagues are not smiling at each other. They don't have those inside jokes. For me, I'm like, I know how to fix it. That's, that's culture building, organizational building, that's leadership building. But I also have been in schools or in, in jobs in companies, where I've seen that as employee, and I was frustrated with that. And so I'm like, I know how to fix it. So chances are to our speakers and our listeners, if you are in a position, or you are at a place, and you see something that is like getting on your nerves, you know, there's rubbing you the wrong way. And you know how to fix it. Chances are, that's your passion. And that's your niche.

Tom Bailey  13:34

And that's great advice. So you know, you don't need to necessarily get a blank piece of paper and try and figure out what you need. She's actually go out there experience, live life and just spot where you're naturally inclined to help and to change, you know, yeah, I love that. I think that's really great advice.

Andre Daughty  13:49

You already have the tools because chances are you're already somewhat of an expert in that part. Yeah. And so then you just using what you already know, to help an organization, an audience, a school or whomever it may be

Tom Bailey  14:02

fantastic. And I guess a lot of the stories you'll tell around that will come from a really authentic place of it's a natural gift that you have anywhere else on that topic. So yeah, I love that a bit of advice. So I guess my final question, a really important one is if anybody wants to book you as a speaker or find out more about you, where's the best place for them to go?

Andre Daughty  14:22

Yes, there are only two Andre daddies in this world. I've Googled it. One person lives in New York. The other one is me. And so I have mine under all social media. Andre dowdy, a MDR EDAUGHTY. So wherever your social media platform is, chances are I'm there. And then also, I have a website, Andre Fantastic, and then you can contact me and I love to help you with your vision and your speaking opportunity for whatever it is.

Tom Bailey  15:00

I love that. So what I'll do as well is I'll post all of those links in the show notes. So people can just click on that and find out more about you. So once again, thank you so much for coming along today and sharing such great value with me and with our audience. Thank you very much.