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How To Communicate Better - The Nigel Risner Story

succeed through speaking tom bailey Jun 17, 2022

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Nigel Risner.

In this episode we hear about our guests journey with confidence, public speaking and presentation skills and how it has helped them succeed in life and in business - in other words, how to succeed through speaking.

The only motivational speaker to have been awarded Speaker of the Year from all three CEO groups . Author, TV presenter, coach and loving husband and papa to his amazing grandson . Nigel has also licenced his zookeeper model to many countries thus enabling millions to communicate better

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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 Nigel Risner, who is a motivational speaker, TV presenter, coach and author of the impact code. So Nigel Hello and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Nigel Risner  00:40

Good afternoon to you how you doing my friend?

Tom Bailey  00:43

Very good. Thank you. And just for everyone's reference whereabouts in the world are you right now,

Nigel Risner  00:47

today in North London, and near Barnet. Elstree film studios, that's where we are

Tom Bailey  00:54

amazing. Thank you so much. And I'm just gonna just share a little bit more about you before we do get started. So Nigel has also licensed his zookeeper model all over the world, which is now enabling millions of people to communicate more effectively. And finally, he is the only motivational speaker to have been awarded speaker of the Year from all three CEO groups. So Nigel, my first question, just because I'm really intrigued, what is the zookeeper model? And why do you think it's so impactful when it comes to communicating?

Nigel Risner  01:22

Okay, so that's a brilliant question to start with. So, the speakers who are beginning their journey, they're going to hear lots of things about professional speaking and styles of communication. And they can hear things like Myers Briggs Belbin, this site Colorworks. And a lot of speakers, they, you know, they want to have this model, they want to have this big idea. If you can formulate your own idea, then you become the director of urine life. And what happened was, everyone I spoke to was talking about all these wonderful schemes. And I used to challenge audiences to say, well, bear in mind, I've been speaking for like, a half an hour now, what's my style, and they go, Well, I can tell you my style, but I don't know yours. And I then said, well, then you've wasted your money. Because unless you talk to yourself, it doesn't matter who you are, you need to know who your audience is. And if you're a professional speaker, or your wannabe speaker, you need to know who your audiences. So I came up with an idea, which I got from working at Whipsnade zoo at the time, that everyone you're dealing with is a different animal time. And your job is to become an effective Zookeeper. And the job of the zookeeper, which has over two professional speaking, is to feed the food, the animals you're dealing with want, not the food that you've got. Now, I don't drink how go to someone give me a president have a fantastic bottle of champagne, or a whiskey, that's a 1932 glenmoor, he is brilliant. If you drink whiskey, I don't. If you give me cameras, chocolate, which I'm a big fan of, I can see that, then I'm going to be able to be a happy person. And I'm going to adapt to the style. So I came up with zookeeper in principle that you've got different animals, and I'm a classic monkey, you know, I've got I've got not much common sense. I'm a bit all over the place, as you're gonna find it in this interview. But I'm very creative. Which means I don't want to know questions in advance of anyone who's listening to this, I haven't been sending any questions. Then you've got structured people who are elephants that would hate the style of interview, unless they had 700 questions in advance. And they've done research. And they're people in an audience and more information than you do. Then you've got the HR directors, and you've got the nurses, and support and care workers are what I call dolphins. And then you've got the CEOs, chief execs, people who are fast, furious, through alliances, if you imagine you are dealing with those type of animals in your audience. So forget this idea. Imagine them naked, that's not going to help you at all, that's fine. But that's one of those little things. Just imagine that I cannot help you speak. It won't. But if you imagine you had this zoo of animals in front of you, and you had a collection of food, you wouldn't give just one food to all the animals. So sharing a story with lots of facts and deep understanding and how knowledgeable you are is only going to work for the elephants. Yeah, no, not me. I'm going to be born in about eight seconds now eating sweets and rustling my papers. I'm now squiggling doing note, and I'm talking to the person next to me, and you've lost my attention. If you do funny jokes, if you do, and I do some great videos, and I do some funny jokes. But if I didn't for too long, I'd lose 50% of the audience to think I wasn't serious. If I did too many personal stories about my wonderful wife and my son who's got mild cerebral palsy, and you know the traumas of the world, then the dolphins would love it but I'd lose the other three animals. So your job as a speaker, whether you're a newbie or your spirits are you want to start earning money is to think, who's in my audience? And you might not know. So then you've got to pretend you've got these different animals. So you need an opening line. If you visualize my hand in an opening line, that's a guaranteed Yes, question. So if I said to you, would you like to have 5% more success in some area in your life? What's there going to be? Yes. Okay. So it doesn't matter what animal you were, you're going to say? Yes. Yeah. 99% of my audience are going to say yes. So I've grabbed all four animals attention. Then I'm going to share three or four different stores, which will grab the dolphins exoticism, nice, I'll be in your face for the Lions. Are we a bit crazy for the monkeys, there'll be some information for the elephants, not too much, because I'm not that's my mind and images animal. Yeah. And then I'm going to close with something that all four animals are going to understand, it might be a quote, I've got a funny video with two tortoises, or a self deprecating joke. So I'm going to grab all the animals on the first line, I'm going to share some stories that the three or four different animals, not only because at some point, you're not going to hit every single person, and then I'm going to close with me, they're all going to enjoy it. If you can master that, you're nearly going to be a very good speaker, and they get paid good money. Yeah, if you share scientific papers, to an audience, and 75% of the audience have not got a clue about neuroscience, and the diversity of the Mental Health well being act of 1972, you're gonna lose 75%, within minutes, and your facts might be correct. And it might be brilliant. But if I started teaching you the history of Ukraine, Russia war and the understanding of Putin and understanding why he did the invasion, just after the Chinese Winter Olympics, I'm going to lose half the audience. And again, brilliant stuff I'm sharing. But you're going to lose people. Yeah. You've got to think what's going to attract your audience to like your story. And notice, they don't have to like be, they have to enjoy the process.

Tom Bailey  07:07

Yep. Yeah, that's so valuable. And I think one of the best things that I've captured from that is the fact that it's putting the attention off you as the speaker and actually putting all the attention on to what the audience wants, needs desires, because a lot of my audience who have a bit of a fear of public speaking, they're too busy focused on what they look like, what they sound like, what they're going to come across as well. I'll

Nigel Risner  07:27

give you an example. Do you know what I'm thinking right now? No, I don't. Okay. So when you're speaking, you're so worried about the audience are thinking they're all thinking that they're either thinking wigs lunch, yeah, they're gonna be a T Rex and I need to pee. Most of our answers when I do zoom are thinking, how much chocolate does he eat? So little? We can have I got exactly every word. Right. I have done you're going to like this. 3000 paid professionals features. Okay. I've never done a perfect speech. Yeah, ever. If I was to, I mean, I a lot of my stuff is video, and I get a chance with my team to look at some of them. I've never, ever, ever done a perfect speech. I've done some brilliant speeches, some phenomenal speeches, some short ones all the way. But I've never done a perfect speech. And the problem is lots of new speakers think they're gonna be perfect. What they want to strive for is what I call excellence. Yeah. You are gonna miss judge by 5% some of the audience, but if I get 95% of my audience thinking, I'm pretty good. Hustle. Right? The problem is, if you strive for 100% You're gonna lose a lot of your audience.

Tom Bailey  08:39

Yeah, make makes complete sense. And and just on that point, I guess for those speakers wanting to start and, and they're waiting for perfect. And would you advise to be just get started? Just find that first speaking.

Nigel Risner  08:50

I'm going to repeat myself it Yeah. 3000. And I've never done a perfect radio. So if I had have waited for perfection, this is my 25th year in September, we might 25th. year as a professional speaker. I've never done a perfect speech. Yeah. So that'd be waiting forever. Yeah. And I've got to tell you, there are people who think that if they just do one more practice, or they do the mirror exercise, or they do it, just do it. So the phrase I use is you're like this ready, fire aim? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Sometimes you just gotta go for it. So I do a deeper quote, which says, You cannot aim a duck to death. At some point, you just got to do your speech. Now, the advantages. When you do a live speech to a live audience, not your family. You're just going to be on the spot and you're going to deliver, I promise you, if you let go of perfection, you are not going to be a lot better than you think. Now, let me give you a caveat. But if you don't mind, if you asked me to speak on nuclear physics this afternoon. I'd be terrible at it. I know nothing about it. However, Pretty much I practice I don't know about it. If you asked me about leadership communication, motivation, goal setting, there's a good chance I'm going to know 50% Or at least more than the audience. I don't know. 70% more. Students seven said 100% more. So you've got to start thinking if you're a new speaker, what subject are you passionate about? What subject do you love? What subject do you not bored about? I've got sent videos in my speech that I've played for 20 years. I still laugh at them. Yeah, they're funny. If you don't love your speech, don't deliver it yet come across.

Tom Bailey  10:39

Yeah, yeah, it makes complete sense. So we talked about the the the individual, the new speaker finding their lane, I guess, finding that topic they want to talk about? What's the first place they should deliver that talk? Should it be online? Should it be to a small audience?

Nigel Risner  10:51

Well, again, brilliant question. I will tell you now that online is totally different to live. Yeah. And when I did two live presentations yesterday morning, okay. Forget that. I got booked again, within minutes to get them to have the audience members within seconds asked me about dates can I do well, but that wouldn't have happened the same way online. Because I also need to touch feel, feel the energy breathe when the audience otherwise, I might as well video in advance and just send it. So if you'd asked me the questions in advance, I could have answered the question and sent this video to you and said, right, what I think you should do to be a speaker is, and I promise you, you wouldn't be the same energy from me now. I understand. And I've done 190 Zoom presentations in the last two years. But I had never done a zoom presentation before April 2020. Ever. So I've never done online before when people have began to start doing it. Because my passion is being with people. I suggest you ask any of your friends. Any of your friends that work in a company. Can you do what I call a brown bag, which is an American free by lunchtime session? Yes. As what I call get ready for this a showcase? Yeah, you never want to do it for free. Okay. The minute you say free, you feel cheap. So it's going to be a showcase event where you want 20 People from any organization, and you want to share for 30 minutes, your best stuff. Now. When you see someone like Michael McIntyre, I don't know. Have you ever seen Michael McIntosh not live by him on TV, obviously. Okay. When you see him on TV, he has done 100 plus small shows all up now the country. So I followed Lee Evans. About just before the pandemic I was speaking in the middle of a place called St. Asif, in north Wales. And on the floor on the stage was Lee Evans notes. Yes. So he was doing this venue in the middle of nowhere. Trust me on this. Yeah. Because we fall he goes to Wembley Arena. He wants to practice his live events. He would have messed up Mr. Lyons all the rest. So when he's at something like Wembley in front of 15,000 people is phenomenal. Yeah. Yeah. Michael mcid. I live in North London, Michael McIntyre did the randlett conference center in front of 500 people. And he was shocking. Yeah. But it was okay. Because he was doing it. But live. He wasn't doing in front of five friends. He wanted reform. So you've got to put yourself out there as a new speaker. And think that if Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre, who are some of the biggest communities literally in the world, are still practicing, they don't just appear at Wembley and just nail it. Yes, understand yet. But you look at professional speakers who've got some of the signature stories, I think, well, they're just brilliant. Um, they're 25 years old. And I won't introduce a new story, unless I've practiced that story on small audiences, or lower fee gigs. But I'm telling the auditor, I am going to try a couple of stories out. And they may not work.

Tom Bailey  14:08

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So just get get started. And I think doing it on zoom on webinar might be another avoidance tactic to not having to be in front of real people and, and maybe just find that first audience, even if it's 20 people, and just get started

Nigel Risner  14:22

and also what I mean, I'm going to do something a bit weird now that if I do this, and you can't see me, which is what happens with certain audience members, it's really hard to connect. Yeah. Now I'm back live and you're seeing me it's a different energy is so you've got to anybody who's listening to this. Recognize Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre. I'm gonna put myself in the same category. I wasn't. I wasn't as good as I was when I started. And I'm still getting better. Yeah, there was never a winner who wasn't a beginner. Yes, it a bit cheesy. Yeah, you don't you know, the average football player at 17 Isn't playing in the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year. He's going through some of the stages. And even when you're at Man United, you sometimes get moved to another club to get practice whilst you're trying to get your team. Like, absolutely. Yeah, I'm trying the right word they get. I think of the word of the minute. As I speak. I can't even think of the words. They get

Tom Bailey  15:20

moved about. Yeah, but it's a journey is what you're trying to say, you know? Yeah. It used to be perfect.

Nigel Risner  15:24

And I'm going to teach you a new word here. How do you spell it? Joy? Nj Oy, I spell it i and j. A why I enjoy when I'm doing live work. Yeah, I think shows in my face. Yeah. If you're not enjoy with your speech, don't deliver it. Yeah. Yeah. So you're gonna be a bit nervous. And if you want to have some notes, and you know, you've got a couple of cards in front of you. It's okay, just to quickly look at them and say, I've got a couple of points I want to share. But your notes down, I have a lectin or have a table. I said, Michael Becker, don't leave it all on the floor until they've done it. 100 times.

Tom Bailey  16:07

Yeah, yeah, that's really, really valuable. And I think I've seen on your website, you've done a little bit of virtuals work for a lot, quite a lot of virtual speaking as well. And my question is, do you think that it's going to move towards hybrid events? Or are we gonna go back to in person? What, where's the direction travel? So

Nigel Risner  16:22

for 20 years, I've been told there's going to be holograms? Yeah, virtual is the way forward. I'm telling you now, the advantage that I did Specsavers in Australia. Online. Yeah, the same fee that I got paid. And when I went there, again, the beauty of them was they weren't paying travel and all the rest. I was up at six o'clock in the morning. And I went back to bed at 715. Yeah. But I'm telling you now the feedback I got when I did it live was 10 times better than doing a virtual Yeah, no, I was good. Yes. And so I have lots of feedback said, Call me that much energy you've got online, you really come across well, but I know deep down because when we finish this interview, what's going to happen is you're going to press in, okay. My heart's going to sync. If I was at a live event, I chat with you over lunch, and have a chat with you. I feel the energy, I get some proper feeds, etc. And I probably you might invite me to speak again, that doesn't happen the same way. Online, understand, yeah, close down the program. So there's nothing wrong with doing hybrid events. I don't think the world is going to say we're never doing it. But if you've got 60 countries, and I've done to massive worldwide conferences, where there's 60 different countries, the idea that some countries don't have to come all the way for a two hour meeting. I think there's gonna happen. Yes, but national UK conferences, you know, the National Association of roof makers, you're gonna want people in the room?

Tom Bailey  17:50

Yes. Yeah. Yeah, completely make sense. And, and I think like you said that that feeling of energy in the room is so important when it comes to speaking. And one last question, because I just didn't pick up on this. A lot of speakers get to a certain point in their career with the figured out how to speak, they can deliver great presentation, but they're not yet getting paid to do that, because there's a little bit of a jump. So how do you get paid to speak? I guess, is

Nigel Risner  18:12

the question. Okay. So here's an interesting fact. You're get paid when you say to somebody, these are my fees. The one of the questions you want to ask an audience are I have you used a professional paid speaker in the past? Okay, yeah. Yeah. If they say no, then that you're gonna have to educate them about your fees. Yeah. If they have, the next question to ask is your clever is, who have you used? Now, I forgot to ask that question with a major bank. And they had used a speaker who charged 35,000 pounds before? Well, yeah, I charged nine and a half. If I had have known who they charged, they'd use Wi Fi made me double. Yes, I got in my own way. Yeah. Sometimes if you ask better questions, you get better answers. Yes, they've never been used as a professional speaker. So I've done some work with nurses before, where I'm in a room in a hospital, where there are plastic cups at the back of the room. The only expense is me. I've been in other conferences where it's a conference of three days, multi pharmaceutical, they're spending a billion plus Murphy's material. Yeah. So it's about judging your audience and having what I call fee integrity, which is maybe a subject we'll come back to next year, when you invite me back. Listen to my language, when you evaluate. Yeah. Does that make sense? So there's at some point, you've got to say this line. I'm a professional speaker. These are my fees. But what happens people go? Yeah, if you just pay me some expenses, that will be fine. Yeah, then yeah. I mean, I don't want a plastic cup on stage, which is one non paid speakers get? Yeah, I want sky Coke, a bar camp. was chocolate. And these are my fees. I don't always get my whole fee. But then I have another whole program about what my negotiations are. So they expected to pay expenses. They're expected to buy some books. And here's a tip for everyone. Start writing now, don't wait for years to write a book, start journalizing start doing articles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, all that stuff is part of your marketing. Don't wait too long. IPS have several ways to be more effective in the workplace, whatever it might be. Books are a great business cards. So I give lots of books out to people as a business card. And by just saying,

Tom Bailey  20:43

you know, best selling author, author of X book, it just gives you that extra credibility as well. All about

Nigel Risner  20:49

credibility. Yeah, but they then feel very comfortable that you've got a book that makes sure your book is good. Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Tom Bailey  20:55

Brilliant. Well, Nigel, thank you so much. I could talk to you all day. And but thank you so much for the value. I think the next question from me which is really important is if somebody wants to book you as a speaker or connect with you online, where would they go? Go to

Nigel Risner  21:08

my website, which is Nigel Yeah, make sure your your website is easy for people to find don't do some Elevate, speak a hyperlink underneath of the champion, etc. On LinkedIn, Nigel Resona on Instagram On Facebook, just go to Nigel There's a quiz to find out which animal you are. We don't even ask for your details. Just get have a quick look, Wiz. We've got books on there. If you put in Pivot Pei VOD, there's a discount. I don't know what it is. I'm a monkey. But there's some discount. But thank you for allowing me to be part of your webinar your your your whatever this is because I forgot what we call God cast podcast and you don't get there in the end. And if I can support anyone, just ask.

Tom Bailey  21:48

Amazing thank you so much Nigel. What I'll do as well as I'll post all of those links in the show notes so people can just click and connect with you straightaway.

Nigel Risner  21:54

Brilliant. Have fun. Have a fantastic weekend.