Tom Bailey 0:07
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 Chris Barez-Brown, who's an author, a keynote speaker and founder of both upping your Elvis and talk it out. So Chris, hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode.
Chris Barez-Brown 0:41
Great to be with you, Tom.
Tom Bailey 0:43
Thank you so much. And just out of interest for me and all the listeners whereabouts in the world are you right now.
Chris Barez-Brown 0:48
So I'm actually in my home. And it's also the headquarters of my organization's in Lyme Regis, then on the south coast.
Tom Bailey 0:56
Awesome, thank you so much for sharing. And I just want to share a little bit more about you before we do get started. So Chris has a natural ability to uncover everyone's inner genius, and therefore, people to get their energy right. So that they can achieve more through their unique talents and be extraordinary every single day. It's a quite an incredible journey. And I know you regularly work with global brands like Nike and Coca Cola. And I've also just found out you did 14 speaking gigs in 10 days. And given the topic of this podcast, I'd love to find out how important has public speaking been for you over your career? Yeah, it's
Chris Barez-Brown 1:33
good question. I, I really enjoy public speaking, because it gives you a chance to get a message to a different group of people in a different way. So, I mean, I like writing books, you know, I do social media and all that kind of stuff. But there's nothing quite like being in a room with people and sharing more meaningful communication. And obviously, you know, we've done quite a lot virtually, which, which is great. And I've done a lot of that, but actually to actually share space. With with large groups of people, there's something energetically quite unique about it. Yeah. And therefore, most of my work actually comes from referral from word of mouth. And a lot of it comes from speaking people have had an experience of me, and this age, you know, I need that in my business. Let's get it on.
Tom Bailey 2:19
So I guess, benefits for you benefits for the audience, but also benefits for those people booking if you can bring some great value to their events and workshops. And you mentioned that difference between I guess creating content, you know, written content versus being in the room and there's a massive energy difference. Do you think it's is it connection? Is it been able to look in people's eyes? What what do you think it is for you?
Chris Barez-Brown 2:42
Well, it's I'm a huge hippie. So I honestly feel as if you know, we're all in each other's auras. And we're all therefore energetically connected. There is a different bubble of consciousness that happens when you're together. Yeah, and and actually, if you learn how to surf that and play with it, everyone benefits because everyone gets elevated in some way, energetically. So there's just something about that it's quite unique. And, you know, you see this I mean, Glastonbury is on at the moment, right? There is an energy there that's palpable, it's unique, it's really special. It's not something that you will get down the tube on a TV, it's gonna be a very different experience. So there's something about being there. And that's something very special about speaking.
Tom Bailey 3:21
Yeah, yeah, I love that I can tell you so passionate about it. So let's go back to the very beginning, then What's your earliest memory of having to stand up and deliver a presentation? And if you can remember, how did it go?
Chris Barez-Brown 3:35
Oh, gosh, I mean, when I was in the army at 16, so it made you do that quite a lot. We just have ballooned debates and all those sorts of things to basically diminish all your confidence, which is why the army works. It was it was a, it was a character building thing. So there was a fair bit of that, then it but then I mean, you know, I used to run Carling, Black Label, I've had to do quite a lot of presentations, lots of media, to the press, etc. And I just kind of got into it. Just because there's something about communicating with people in a meaningful way that just feels good. So what I learned very early on was I wasn't very good at doing scripted performance. Right. So that's just not me, Tom. So. So as soon as I learned that, actually, when I was freewheeling, I did better to embrace it. So if you've ever seen me speak, there'll be very few charts. If they are they're all pictures, a word. And the fewer the charts, the more freedom I've got to go with the flow of what's in the room. And I think I learned that relatively early on. So I mean, admittedly, everyone I think has disasters, don't they? Yeah, correct. Yeah. Where they get things wrong. They tell a joke that doesn't land. They fluff their lines, they forget where they are. We've all had that. But each one of those makes you better eventually,
Tom Bailey 4:50
I think. Yeah, I love that. And I think scripting was a big mistake that I made early on in my journey, and I think it was through, wanting to be perfect wanting to not embarrass myself wanting to not make mistakes, I used to just script everything, learn it word for word. And then whenever I delivered, it obviously sounded robotic, quite monotone. And I didn't really have that connection. So I think you figured out early on that going away from the script is better. It was a really good thing for you, I'm sure.
Chris Barez-Brown 5:16
So yeah, there's a bounce point, you got to get this point. And that will lead into another into another. And how you get there. You kind of do in the moment, don't do as long as you know, your bounce. Points. You good.
Tom Bailey 5:27
I love that term. Bounce points. Yeah, I think I'll definitely keep that one. And so one bit of advice, I guess you would have given to it earlier, you is definitely don't script is there any other advice you would give to an earlier or younger Chris? Um,
Chris Barez-Brown 5:45
so for me, I think the secrets of good speaking that for me, and we're all slightly different, how we come at this, this is quite personal is number one only talk about stuff you love. Yes, passion for it, there are so many speakers out there, there's so many things that people can listen to. And you can tell the difference, can you tell the difference when they are genuine, and they mean it and they want you to get it because it's going to help you versus somebody who's just doing it. So do the stuff that counts for you. That is really important. Secondly, note, you know, practice, practice, practice, when I say practice, live audience practice, do stuff for free, yes, just to get people in front of you, and get the hours in because there is no substitute for it. There's no substitute for it. And then obviously, when you do that film, as many as you can get feedback and kind of learn as you as you iterate, those are super important. And actually why I think is a very important thing to be able to do is to be able to vary your medium length, right? There are some speakers that have a 45 minute gig, and it's the same every single time, almost second by second cannot vary. It is brilliant stuff, get me wrong, it's perfectly executed. But the world's changed and people have 145 minutes anymore. This week, I've done everything from 15 minutes. Actually, I've got one on Wednesday, that's an hour and a half. Yeah, very different gigs. And, you know, I've done 10,000 people in the room, similar, sold cars, 220,000. And you know, this week I've had on one of them, I had 30. Very different gigs. So flexibility, I think is really important. Because actually, you should address those in very different ways. So those are a few things that I would certainly go for and then just free yourself from visuals and scripts. Actually, you can just be there and you can be the show. Tom, I don't want to I don't want all these puffery around you, Jeremy.
Tom Bailey 7:32
Yeah, I understand. I think being able to flex and being able to go from a 15 minute to a three hour talk, I guess, the bounce points is what will help you do that and just knowing those key points you want to talk about? And then you can add in the stories to flavor expand on them, depending on how long you've got. Excellent. And see loads
Chris Barez-Brown 7:51
and loads of you never get that. Sorry. Yeah, just gonna say you never get the time that they set. Right. So yes, like for my gigs in the last week. They said you've got an hour or 45 minutes, and I've lost a third of it. Yeah. So you need to be able to flex as well, don't you? Yeah,
Tom Bailey 8:07
absolutely. So you've given loads and loads of advice there to people, I guess, just starting out on their journey wanting to figure out how to get into this world? What about the other end? What about those people that have been speaking for a little while they're starting to build up their confidence and the science you think, how can I actually get paid to do this? What's that tipping point from doing free gigs to actually getting paid to speak?
Chris Barez-Brown 8:29
Um, it's just confidence is what you have to do is you have to say, and here is my fee. Yes. Simplest. And most most people have got this abject horror of doing that, because they think that they'll be found out that they're not good enough that they don't deserve it. You know, people deserve it, you deserve. You've got to get that money out there. And for me, it's really interesting. When I have worked for free in the past, and I've done quite a lot of it, I get it quite a lot for the charitable sector. It's really interesting. People don't show up. Because they haven't invested in it. Yes, no. And it's very easy for the audience not to turn up or if they do turn up, they're not engaged and not committed. When people pay more for me, I get very serious audience that wants some value. I like that, to be honest. Yeah, I want people to show up and get value. So interestingly, charging often means I get a better gig. Got it? Yeah, they're they're doing the AV with you properly at the beginning. Yeah, for sure. You got what you need. Because they know if they don't they're not getting their money's worth. Yeah. So so it changes the whole ratio. It also changed relationship for me, because I've been paid. I'm going to be on point, right? Absolutely. I'm gonna make sure that they get their value. So so it's a mind game. And a lot of people don't charge because they just go Oh, my goodness. I can't charge that somebody else charges that they're really good rubbish. Get out there. Charge the money. See what happens.
Tom Bailey 9:51
And I think one key point you mentioned there is them getting value. So as long as the audience are getting value, and there's content that they can take away, they can learn from their input. And, and it's worth something, isn't it? So that's something else to replace? Yeah. How do I add?
Chris Barez-Brown 10:07
One of the things that I've done, and I'm quite strong at this. So I've spent 20 years speaking and anyone can entertain. Right? It's it's simple, like we can all tell some stories we laugh, you know, we can hopefully make them go, oh, that's made me think. Yeah. But how many people can change behavior? Now, for me, I want something to change. As a result, I don't want somebody just to go, Oh, that was funny or entertaining, or that's engaging. I want something to change at the end. So my question would be if you want to be a good speaker, yes, you need to be engaging, you need to be compelling. You need to have people's attention. But what is it that you do that's unique to you, that means something will change? Yeah, yeah. And one thing I've got is I've got some stuff that comes after my speech that locks it in, there are things that happen afterwards. It's like a sustainability package. That means everyone that's listened to me if they want to, can go to that get support, or making sure that something happens afterwards. Because Because for me, life's too short, just to entertain. Yeah, yeah. And
Tom Bailey 11:07
I guess that's also the power of public speaking is if you're trying to work with people one to one over and over again, your impact is limited. Whereas if you can speak in front of 100 120,000 people online, like you just mentioned, and you can change lives, think of that ripple effect that you have out there in the world. So it's so powerful as a public speaker. And quite a topical question. Given the 2019 global pandemic pretty much wiped out in person stage speaking, what did you do to transition during that period? And and kind of what what did you learn during that period?
Chris Barez-Brown 11:41
Yeah, so funnily enough, in March 2020, I had my biggest series of live events booked I've ever had so much. And literally overnight, they all get turned off, all gone. All gone, and all gone. And actually, there's some pain involved in that. But you know, what, I really, really got an advantage from having some time and space to think about who we were and where we're going. I launched a new business in that time, because I had some time to think we actually turned our clients on to digital quite quickly. So I would say we had three months before we got really good programs. So we have all of them on within six months. Yeah. Great. And we're back to base. And actually, the advantage of not traveling was incredible. Yes. So I had more time with my family, which was amazing. I learned a lot because delivery on online is different. And you need to do different things. One thing I invested a lot of time and effort in is tech. Yeah, yeah. So you know, if you've got rubbish tech, you will have a rubbish session really, very simply. If you learn how to use it, and you know, use like TV production switches, you've got pro mics, you've got pro cameras, all that kind of stuff. It makes such a difference. So I invested pretty heavily early on, you know, great lights, all that kind of stuff. You know, I'm so pleased it's paid for Yeah, 100 times over. Yeah, but don't don't scrimp and save don't try and do so on a laptop. Just doesn't work. You know. And by the way, where you're seeing me right now, this is not my studio. Yes, My studio is over here with all the pro stuff. Right. Incredible, very different. Looks great. William, you know, Sam monitors, visual monitors the whole lot. And it's, it's a game changer.
Tom Bailey 13:19
Yeah. I love that. That's great. And I guess one one question, I guess to follow on from that. And what I've seen a lot of now is the hybrid event. So where you've either got a speaker on stage with audience remote, or you've got to speak and remote with the audience on the stage. But what what do you think's going to happen going forward? Will we keep hybrid events? Or will it just go back to completely in person? So
Chris Barez-Brown 13:42
I'm gonna be slightly provocative on this. I think hybrid is gonna be here, because that's just the way that is. Most of my clients will not tell their people to do anything, they will always give them choice. Yeah, yeah. So here we got this event is live, we'd love you to come, if you don't know, it's okay, we'll make it work for you. So you will therefore have hybrid forever. I think making hybrid work is tough. If you think you need good tech, just to do a virtual event, you need amazing tech to do hybrid, right? Because if you want people to be equally represented, they need to have a visual representation of themselves, their see their faces, hear them as an individual. That's nice, expensive stuff. I mean, there's there aren't many people that have got that kit Google do. You know, there's, there's some companies out there, but most people don't. And therefore they fall down. And what you ended up having is a second class audience. Yeah, but the people who were the first class and then the others, you know, they just kind of shooting and they're not really engaged. They're doing some emails, because you know what, we can't work with them. And so you got to work Wait, your tech to make that work? And you've got to therefore also think about your design differently. Yeah, because what can you do? I like interaction, what can you do interactive, that works for people in the room and not in the room? How do you manage that? You know, so you got to think these things through and a lot of people aren't and therefore I've got a lot of clients To organize big events, they're going God. I wish we didn't have to do hybrid.
Tom Bailey 15:03
Yeah. Yeah, of course. Yeah, it is. But um, like you said, make sure that you've really think it through half the tech. And and yeah, I think it's one that's going to continue to develop over time. So, very last question from and we've had so much value already, but and this really wants to either book you as a speaker or find out more, where can people connect with you online?
Chris Barez-Brown 15:25
Yeah, so I mean, you check me out on Chris, Baris brown.com. You find that the speaking office there, my agents who are fantastic, are up in your Elvis, you know, so lots of places you can find. If you look up Chris Brown's Brown,
Tom Bailey 15:39
I'll be there. Awesome. Thanks so much. And what I'll do for you, Chris, as well is I'll post all of those links into the show notes. So people can just click on those and dive right in. So Chris, I just want to just thank you so much again for your time coming along and sharing such incredible value with our audience. And I've personally enjoyed listening to your story today.
Chris Barez-Brown 15:56
Hey, it's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me on. Tom. Have a great one.
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