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 Jim Carroll who is a keynote speaker, author of 39 books and over a 25 year timespan has built a reputation as the world's leading global futurist trends and innovations expert. So Jim, hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode. Thank you. Thanks so much for being here. And just out of interest whereabouts in the world are you right now.
Jim Carroll 0:50
So I'm located in a little community outside of Toronto, Canada called to Guelph, the interesting thing is a big, you know, great big world out there. So when you hit my website, the first number you get is Dallas, the second number you get as New York, the third is Hong Kong, and the fourth is London. And the fifth is my Toronto number that sort of plays into what I do from an international perspective.
Tom Bailey 1:11
Absolutely. Thanks for sharing that. And I know from reading your bio, and your website, you've featured over 3000 interviews, now you've spoken to over 2 million people from stage. So clearly, I want to know where you find the time. But most importantly, I really want to learn about your relationship with public speaking. And I'm going to start by asking was public speaking something you always just born a natural talent? Or was it something you had to really develop over time?
Jim Carroll 1:37
That's a complicated question. Like anything. I've been at this for 30 years on stage. So I mean, I've been at it for a long time. But you know, there's kind of a fun story I tell on my website years ago, I mean, when I was like, eight, nine years old, I was in something called the Optimist Club. And it was a public speaking course in competition. And I remember I went to the provincial championships, and I lost to this whiny kid who had a really whiny voice, and it really bugged me. I think it traumatized me for life. But no, I just completely fell into this by complete accident.
Tom Bailey 2:07
Yeah, yeah. And I guess thinking back to that, that competition, when you were young, did you have any fears around public speaking? Or again, we quite competent at that age?
Jim Carroll 2:17
No, I think it was pretty competent. I mean, the thing with me is I, in Canada, we had something with kids, we we accelerated so yeah, halfway through grade two, they pushed me out of grade two, and then put me into grade four. So I was always a year and a half, two years younger than all the other kids. So I think I had to, I had to work extra hard, you know, in terms of my confidence, and my ability to stand up for myself, and you know, maybe that bled into my personality. So I mean, when I got, you know, onstage in front of groups way back in the early days, you know, 90 to 93, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't something that was terrified.
Tom Bailey 2:49
Okay, fantastic. So a lot of the audience that listen to the podcast are what I'd call aspiring speakers. So some of them have a fear of public speaking, but they're just really drawn to it for whatever reason. Others, they're naturally confident, but they just don't really know how to cross that hurdle and become a public speaker. So I guess if you've got any advice for both categories, aspiring speaker who's pretty scared of it and aspiring speaker doesn't really know where to start to become a keynote speaker.
Jim Carroll 3:16
Play the clubs. You know, this is this is like a rock and roll career. You know, I mean, in my case, you started out with the small clubs, small audiences. I mean, you know, I remember I had an event, I had 10 people in the room, and it was, you know, a set for 100. You know, it's sort of playing the clubs, you're getting out there, you're honing your craft, the more of it you do, the better you get, you know, I ski and it's just like skiing. I mean, you got to put in a lot of mileage. He got to do a lot of twists and turns to, you know, get your technique down. I mean, that's really the only advice I can give. It's not something that is magic. It's not a career that is particularly today, easy to step into. I mean, if I get one question from people, it's, well, I want to become a speaker. How do you do that? And my first bit of advice is, well, it's a crowded market. Right now. Everybody wants to be a speaker. And so I think you know, I think not only do you need to get out there and play the clubs, but I think you need to keep your expectations in check.
Tom Bailey 4:14
Yep, yeah, I completely understand that. That one thing a lot of the speakers tell me is to kind of alluded to this but but choose your niche. Choose your niche, choose your lane. Choose your expertise, because because it's such a crowded market, you really do need to find that that lane, I guess, but with you have noticed that you spoke in insurance and agriculture and retail in technology. You know, how have you managed to speak in so many different audiences and industries?
Jim Carroll 4:41
Well, but I do have a niche. I mean, I'm represented by most of the major global speakers bureaus in Washington speakers, leading authorities APB big speak Harry Walker. And you know, if you talk to some of the agents there there's sort of the mindset that if you if you're hit by a client with a really unique topic oriented The trends or innovation theme that is really, really unique, called Jim Carroll. Yeah, guy, my niece, my niece is cutting highly specialized stuff that somehow has a trends or innovation and a hook to it. And that's because of the research I do. I mean, I'm, at this point, I'm down to only 20 or 30 keynotes a year, I don't take on a lot of volume. And I mean, I delight in taking on very specialized topics. So I mean, last week, I was in Zurich, outside of Zurich, Switzerland, and the focus was the future of risk for corporate organizations going forward, what what unique risk issues might we, we hit so there's a lot of formula sort of focused speakers out there, they've got a stick, they've got a story, and they'll tell the same story to every audience, regardless of who the industry is. I mean, you know, I mean, I go into a roomful of farmers and talk about the future of genomic farming in the era of microclimate meteorology. I mean, if that's what the client wants, that's where I can take them.
Tom Bailey 6:00
And I guess for you, you don't necessarily need to know that information before the client comes to you. You can you can do the research, like you said, to find out and, and put your lens on it through innovation. Well, but
Jim Carroll 6:10
I do a bit. Well, I mean, when you've been at this for 30 years, you've got a tremendous amount of experience under your belt. So I mean, I've actually spoken about meteorology, and microclimates, you know, in, you know, farming for a number of years. But yeah, I mean, there is a fair bit of research, I'll often get a call from a bureau, you know, before that sort of introductory call with a client, can you talk about this thing, I'll dive into the research tools that I use educate myself. So I can have a fairly high level intelligent exploratory call with the potential client as they figure out their options.
Tom Bailey 6:43
Excellent. Thanks for that. And one thing that I like to always ask as well is in you mentioned, work in the clubs getting out there and really honing your skill in those in those clubs. There's a transition point then to go from free speaker practicing getting out there to paid speaker, you got any advice around that in terms of asking for a payment to speak for the first time,
Jim Carroll 7:04
I didn't have the traditional path, not path into this industry, I didn't decide I want to be a speaker and did it for free. And then, you know, transition to paid. I mean, my story was, I wrote 34 books about the internet in Canada, in the 90s. And so when the internet exploded on the scene, I'd already been online for 20 years ago, I was asked to come into organizations, can you describe to us what this means from a business perspective. So that got me onto the speaking path. And I remember the first time a speaker's bureau called me and said, you know, we're gonna pay you I think the fee was, you know, $3,500, and my wife's gonna look, I'm gonna get money for this. And she said, this will never, this will never last. And we still have a good laugh about that. So yeah, I sort of went from the perspective of falling into the industry by accident, and then figuring it out, as I went, you know, over the last 30 years, steadily increasing the fee. It's, you know, I look at folks who are trying to break into the industry today, and I think it is a bit of a challenge, to try to make that leap into going from free into paid. And I think that's why playing the clubs is critical, because you certainly can get gigs at a lower fee. By playing the clubs to hone your craft, develop the experience, get some good stuff in your resume, get some client comments, and build up all that collateral that you need to truly succeed in this industry. Yeah,
Tom Bailey 8:29
okay, understand, for those people that can see the video for those podcast guests, you won't but I can see you've got a really nice virtual studio there. Was that something you had to build because of the pandemic and the whole speaking industry. And
Jim Carroll 8:40
here's my, here's my spaceship. So my whole theory of what happened when COVID came about, I realized I was gonna be stuck in my basement, you know, here's where I was gonna be stuck in my basement for quite some time. And you know, what I realized was a lot of folks were doing the standard sort of headshots type of video and I mean, I saw a lot of people droning on to a PowerPoint and I decided I was going to do something a little bit more significant. So I mean, I you know, I have this massive green screens. Yeah, a whole bunch of lights and a whole bunch of gear and seven cameras and I mean, I can if you if you give me a moment here I can go back on my stage shorts and all and show you what I can do and I can actually walk around and give me one sec.
Tom Bailey 9:25
Fantastic. And and I guess for those people that listen to the podcast, what we can see is a green screen room, seven cameras, lots of lighting, fantastic experience that Jim can put on for his audiences.
Jim Carroll 9:36
You know, my whole theory was that a lot of speakers in their transition to virtual they were like deer in you know, deer staring the headlights, I mean, they didn't know how to deliver so I invested a lot of time in this. So you know, I'm going back to in person events now. I still think there's something significant here. I'm still trying to figure out how to leverage it. I mean, people hated virtual even If we could do virtual, you know, cool stuff like this. So, for me this is becoming a content generation machine. So, for example, when I went to Switzerland a week ago, you know, a month prior to that I hit the studio here and you know, little two minute teaser clip, you know, to interest them. I mean, I'm, I joined Tik Tok, but I joined Tik Tok two weeks ago, and I come in here I film Little yo Tiktok reels that are a minute long. You know, it's a content generation machine. And I think there's a lot of potential where I can continue to go with this. I mean, you know, who else has a spaceship in their basement with? fine, it's fine.
Tom Bailey 10:36
Yeah, I love that. Fantastic. And I guess, like you said, it's just figuring out how to leverage that now. Because what it means is that you don't have to travel the audience doesn't have to travel people can join you from their homes, you can stay at home. There's lots of benefits from from doing these virtual experiences. But people do miss the in person, you know, face to face experience, don't they? It's just trying to figure out how we can make the make the most of this hybrid world I guess going forward.
Jim Carroll 11:00
Yeah, people really started to zone out in virtual I learned quickly that the only way to make virtual work and I did a lot of virtual events. I mean, they're all on my site. You can find them at virtual Dudgeon, Kerala calm I had to borrow from Pink Floyd, I had to hit people with short, sharp shocks of insight. So yeah, I would talk for five to seven minutes. And then I'd come back here into the mic and do q&a. And a lot of text message polling live Texas polling, because people need during the interact. I mean, they're staring at a screen and they got their two year old screaming next to them, we got to do something different to keep them engaged in virtual, I don't know where virtual is gonna go. I don't think it's dead. I think people get sick of it. I think there's a lot of innovative disruptive things we can still do and explore.
Tom Bailey 11:44
Yep, I love that. And thanks so much for sharing that. And I've got one final question for you today, which is, if anyone wants to book you as a speaker or find out more about you, where's the best place for them to go?
Jim Carroll 11:53
Well, I mean, the top 40 bureaus in the world, they all booked me. I mean, you know, they booked me at one time or another. So if you if you poke around, you'll notice I listed all of their sites, I get a lot of organic hits as well. I mean, you know, people find me on Google, a lot of direct stuff. So a big massive sprawling website with with, you know, all kinds of video from tremendous number of presentations over the years. Jim carroll.com. Fantastic isn't the main entry point to the site.
Tom Bailey 12:22
Right. And well, it is, well, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. People can just click on that and they can find out more about you. Well, Jim, trying to just say thank you so much, again for sharing all of your knowledge, insights and great expertise with myself and our audience.
Jim Carroll 12:34
Okay, thank you. Thank you for having me.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai