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 Harriet Turk, who is a speaker and consultant and has developed and implemented multimillion dollar programs for local state and national level education systems, whilst also building a speaking career for youth and adults seeking to find or improve their leadership skills. So Harriet, hello and a very warm welcome to today's episode. Hello, and nice to be here. Thanks so much. Thanks so much for being here and just out of interest for everybody listening whereabouts in the world. Are you right now? I am in Memphis, Tennessee. Awesome.
Thank you so much. And just to kind of move into the topic of speaking, I know that you're currently I speak and have been speaking and have been working in the speaking and presenting industries. So I wanted to kind of begin by asking you a simple question. How important do you think public speaking is as a skill for people at all levels in their career?
Harriet Turk 1:25
It's, you've got to have it, you have to know how to present and speak no matter if it's just talking to your boss? Or if it's speaking at 10,000 people? I mean, we all need to know how to speak well. Awesome. Thank you. And I guess in your career, how important would you say public speaking has been for you in your different careers and jobs you've had? Well, it's interesting, because I started off a probation officer went to youth programs coordinator. And that's when I put on conferences. And I never could find women's speakers or rarely found women's speakers. And so I feel like you have to know what you can do well, or how you do present well, and I mean, I've been doing it for 20 something years, and there's still times when I'm totally learning. Yeah, what am I supposed to do? But yeah, I mean, you've got to be able to speak well, to anybody. I love it. Thank you so much. And I guess 20 years, you've been speaking. So let's go back to the very beginning, what, what's been your earliest memory of having to stand up and deliver a presentation? And how did it go? You know,
I'm not sure it's not the earliest, but the most memorable, I was at university and I was taking speech one on one, and my college roommates still laughs about this today, that I had to do a demonstration speech. And I was so nervous. I mean, I, unless I had really a role to play in life. I can be incredibly quiet, half extrovert, half introvert so that I had to get up in front of a classroom of people I knew and do a speech was terrifying. And I was awful. And in fact, the speech professor called me to his desk afterwards and said, You know, I know you were really trying, but I hope you're majoring in something where you don't have to speak to people.
Tom Bailey 3:10
Right? Yeah. When she care about what you're speaking about, it's so much easier. Yeah. Perfect. So let's go back to that moment, a second. I think we'll talk about introversion extroversion in a bit as well, because I can kind of resonate with that point. And so what now you've been doing speaking and you know, you've become a speaker, what piece of advice would you love to give to a young Harriet that's about to stand up in front of her classmates? What's that one piece of advice that you think would really helped bring that moment?
Wow. The young Harriet as a student or young Harriet wanting to be a speaker? Yeah, the one the one who stood up in front of that public speaking class and was really nervous and didn't really know what to do like, what what advice would you give to her? I would not tell her to think about everyone naked. I don't understand why that
Harriet Turk 3:59
I really would turn to to find a topic that you really care about. Yeah. So it's easier to be able to deliver the message because if you're only trying to do a speech with something that you're you've just learned about, or you're interested in, it's so much harder and why, you know, I truly believe you got to speak from your heart. Yeah. Yeah. That's, I guess, when we're talking about a topic, we're not really an expert, and we've got no passion about or we're not credible in, we tend to just research loads of stuff, write loads of words down and try and remember it. And it's never going to be an authentic memorable speech, because you're just relaying information that you found somewhere on Google. Absolutely. And the one thing that I've noticed in the last few years of coaching programs, and maybe being a member of different Facebook groups and listening, you know, watching conversations, and the one thing that drives me insane is when they say you don't have to be an expert, just you know, learn or if
People say, you know, I just got booked for an organization. And it's not really a topic I know, well, what should I do? And people are like, Oh, go for it, go for it. And it's like, I would never want a surgeon to learn how to be a surgeon on the fly. I would never want a pilot to fly my plane unless they were certified. You know, I don't understand why want to be speakers think that they can just read a book or do a little bit of research and deliver from the, from the position of I'm an expert in this material. Yeah, that really bothers me. Yeah, exactly. So I guess, you know, the advice in there is, choose your lane, you know, find something you're passionate about, really speak on that topic. And, and I guess you can change lanes in the future, but for now speak about something you're really passionate about. Yeah. Well, you know, I totally believe you. I am not one that believes you can only speak about one thing, you know, I think you can speak about many things, but you have to know what you're talking about. Yeah. And you can be called out. Yeah.
You know, so? Absolutely. And, and I guess one of the best ways to learn speaking is to go and do it and go out there and make a few mistakes. A lot. A lot of us introverts and shy people and people with fear of speaking, we don't do that, because we're too scared of making mistakes in person. I guess my question is, is, What mistakes have you made along the way or which which mistakes stand out as big learning moments for you as a speaker? There are several. One is I went to audiences, larger conferences when I wasn't ready. But I wanted to be out there. And I wanted to get this business going. And what I ended up doing was hurting my business because people thought, Oh, she's not that good. Or she, you know, maybe it's good for a workshop, but she shouldn't have been in this session. And so I learned that and then something else I learned was that I quoted a fee. And there was silence. And the meeting planner just sat there. And I was about to say, oh, you know, I'll go for, you know, less. And he just sat there. And he said, I'm not sure you're the caliber of speaker that I'm looking for because your fee is so much less than I normally pay. Oh, wow. And I remembered, then some you know what my mentors had said, but I didn't know it really applied to me. But it's like, say your fee and be quiet. Yes. Yeah. There's so many times when I negotiated when I probably should not have Yeah, and I should have been. If you're going to quote a fee, then you have to believe in your fee that you are worth that. Absolutely don't. And you're just negotiating because you want to get the gig, you're gonna you're gonna hurt yourself, because there's a network of people that talk. Yeah, and I guess utilize that network to find out what people are paying for those types of gigs. So that you pitch at the right level as well, I guess is another key point. Absolutely. I mean, there's, there's a thing that a couple of years ago that I wanted to do. And I said, Well, who was your speaker last year, and they mentioned who it was, and he's a good friend of mine. So I just called them and I said, Hey, what did you quote?
Yeah. And so he told me, and then I knew where they were looking or, you know, I didn't want to be less than him. And I wouldn't be so much more than him. Yeah. That's why you gotta know your network of speakers. Emma's colleagues, yeah, absolutely do. And so let's go back to that introversion extroversion points. So, and I've done my miles Briggs Personality types assessment, and I know that I'm off the scale introvert based on, you know, the input I put into that, does it mean that introverts are better or worse speakers or could or couldn't speak? What's your kind of view on introversion versus extraversion as a public speaker? I think if you look at actors, the majority of them say they've never watched their own films, or they cringe when they do. And I've been around some actors or speakers who are fabulous on stage and super outgoing. And then when you're with them later, they're very quiet, very reserved.
While speaking as a performance, it's actually also a part of you. And so I know that I'm an extrovert in a lot of ways, but then I'm also an introvert, which means sometimes I think I can deliver a presentation better because I can point out people in the audience who are also like that,
not do high risk interactive activities, because an introvert is not going to want to do that.
But then also do some of those high risk activities, because it's good for people to get outside their comfort zone. Yeah, you got to be able to read your audience and you've got to be able to
guess it. Well, I have to get out of my comfort zone. Sometimes at the same time, I have to say, if it's not going to benefit me in terms of I know, I'm going to be successful on that stage, then I need to refer to somebody else. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Perfect. Yeah, I agree. So I think one of the big things about introversion for me is I can switch it on I can be more introverted as I speak, and
Unknown Speaker 10:00
But I will probably need to have 30 to 60 minutes afterwards on my own to kind of recharge the batteries before I can go again. Oh, shoot, yeah, yeah, my adrenaline will be up and going and then it crashes so hard. Yeah, after I mean, I'm not sure I've ever been awake on a plane
Tom Bailey 10:20
is just it goes down. And that's when I recover. I don't want to be around a lot of people after, yes, because it's just knowing where you get your energy from and how you need to recover and kind of manage that around your speaking career as well, lately. So you've, we've given some advice to those people looking to start out as a speaker, we've started to talk about that transition to actually charging a fee as a speaker. And I guess a lot of people get to that transition point where they're, they may have a full time job, they're doing a little bit of speaking on the side.
Harriet Turk 10:49
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to just become a full time? keynote speaker? That's all they do. What? Have you got any advice there or guidance? But that's exactly how I was I had a full time job. And then I wanted to be a speaker. And I actually misjudged how long it was, I sent some VHS tapes to a speaker who said he wanted to help me. And his response was, Don't quit your day job. And he gave me some pointers. And then after the third time that I sent him a video, he said, you're ready, go do it. And I still didn't quit my day job. But I worked on, when could I speak and keep that day job because losing your benefits and losing your salaries.
Unknown Speaker 11:31
But then at the also, I realized that as long as I had that safety net of a job, that I was never going to be hungry enough to go look for presentations and build that business. And so when I made that leap, I was prepared for months of not having a salary. Because at that time, we were booked six months to two years out in advance. Now it can be two weeks. But you've got to, you've got to balance the safety net, as well as the the hunger to get your business off the ground. Yeah, yeah. A lot of people listening will resonate with that, especially with, you know, rising cost of living and mortgages, you know, you you want that regular income. But equally, you know, when you get to the age of 8090, and look back, would you wish you'd have made that leap and kind of push yourself to become a speaker? That's just something to really think about? Yeah. And you might have to sacrifice a little bit of maybe sell that house and get something less expensive, or get rid of that gym membership. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because things are not going to go immediately off the charts, and you're gonna be successful. Yeah. COVID. And, you know, I guess there is that amateur phase where you're not the best speaker and you're not that good. And you know, you may be uncomfortable, but there is that phase, you're gonna have to go through that. But it's worth it, I guess, is the message in the,
Harriet Turk 13:00
of course, and you have to get again, sometimes people say don't speak for free. Shoot, I wanted to speak anywhere in everywhere. And allow me to practice my presentation. Yeah, exactly. And that's how I built a business because to it, it also gave that person in the audience and opportunity to come up to me and say, Hey, do you speak to sales leaders? And, and then I've gotten a lot of business from some free presentations, but I have to make sure that, yeah, now I make sure that it benefits me and them. Yeah. So yeah, that's a good point. And getting paid to speak isn't the only way to make money as a speaker. So you can obviously sell from stage you can create referral marketing business as well from speaking. So lots of different ways you can generate revenue from that. Absolutely. And one thing when you just said sell from the stage, I agree with that, and I've done it, but I've also understood how important is to get permission from the meeting planner to do that. Yeah. And sometimes speakers don't do that. Because they think this is my platform. It's like, Yeah, but you'll never be back on it. Yeah. fastly without asking. Yeah, yeah. I love that. Thank you. Couple more questions. I guess, one quite topical about a year ago is we all went into a global pandemic. And a lot of people said that the speaking business stopped in March 2020, which I think it did. How did you personally transition during that period? And what did you learn in that kind of transition to virtual speaking?
The transition was awful. I mean, there was a transition, it was like boom, yeah. And typing. Yeah, I went 48 hours I lost my business.
And sure, some transition to virtual to virtual, and some have continued to be virtual. But then if you look at Forbes and you know, entrepreneur and some other sales, industry meetings, magazines, they are expecting huge boom of conventions, and more trainings. And the need for speakers will be greater, I think
And while I was worn out right before the COVID, and think that I'm not going to do this anymore, it helps rejuvenate why I'm doing what I'm doing that I do love it. And maybe it's time for me to not necessarily reinvent myself, but reinvent some of my presentations and audition again. Yeah. Yeah. Get yourself back on track. But yeah, bird, I think virtuals totally here to stay. Alright, love it. And I think somebody sent me it's like 70 to 80% less cost to put on a virtual event than it is a in person event when you think of the travel the flights and catering and everything. So is this for Singapore? I mean, imagine how much less it was for them. Yeah. I mean, when I went over to Singapore, once before, my airfare alone was $2,500.
Tom Bailey 15:50
And that right there allowed them to buy more presentations from me, virtually, then only have me there for you know, one or two because of the cost of hours. Yeah, exactly. So it sounds like you've you've transitioned, you've benefited use that time to not reinvent yourself, but rethink different different ways forward. So there are lots of benefits there. And it sounds like virtual speaking is here to stay, but also rebound to big seminars, workshops, conferences, as well. So there's a hybrid going forward. Yeah, yeah, I think there's going to be a huge resurgence and opportunities. And that's why we have to be ready. We have to be ready, interesting guy. So thank you so much, again, for your time. One final question for me today is if somebody does want to book you as a speaker, or find out more about you, where's the best place for them to do that? Probably my website, Harriet turk.com. And, you know, I'm on social media. And that was kind of avenues as well. But it's always easiest to reach me through my website, because the website is brilliant. And whatever the hell it is. I'll paste a note to your website in the show notes. So people can can click on that and find out a little bit more about you as well. Great. Thanks, Tom. So thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you coming along and you shared such great value with me and our audience. Again, thank you again, so much for being here. You're so welcome. Thanks
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