In today’s episode, we’re talking about the importance of going beyond the keynote to increase the value you provide for your clients and the revenue it creates for your business.
We’re super excited for today’s guest and expert in this subject – Head of Speaker Coaching for MFL global, Mary Tilson!
Mary has been helping global speakers develop their content, delivery style, impact, and approach to ensure they’re always relevant, memorable and easy to work with.
She has over 20 years of experience helping speakers deliver more than “just a speech” and helps them create and deliver masterclasses and workshops, either face to face or virtually.
So what are you waiting for? Smash that play button!
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Show Notes 📓
✅ Learn more about Mary Tilson and the work she does with Maria Franzoni here: https://mfl.global
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🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/
Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking. We’re your hosts, Taylor and Austin and in today’s episode, we are talking about the importance of going beyond the keynote to increase the value you provide for your clients and the revenue it creates for your business. And we’re super excited for today’s guest and expert in this subject, head of speaker coaching for MFL global Mary Tillson. Mary has been helping global speakers develop their content, delivery style, impact, and approach to ensure they’re always relevant, memorable, and easy to work with. She has over 20 years of experience helping speakers deliver more than just a speech and helps them create and deliver masterclasses and workshops either face-to-face or virtually. This episode is jam packed full of content you guys, we hope you love this one and as always stick around until the end for some awesome resources relating to the show. All right, we are live. Mary, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you here.
Mary: And it’s absolutely great to be with you. Thanks for asking me.
Taylorr: Yeah, definitely.
Austin: And from across the pond none the less.
Mary: From across that pond, yes. So, we have no snow here, although I believe you have snow as well so I’m hoping that you’ll send me some snow so I can throw some snowballs at my husband
Taylorr: We’ll just send some over. We’ll ship it in a box for you.
Mary: Thank you. I want some. [Inaudible 01:36].
Taylorr: So, the question we like to kick off every episode with is just about your background and how you got into this crazy world of speaking. How did all that shake out and why did you stick around?
Mary: Yeah, it’s a good question. How did I get there? I guess how it kind of started was I used to work for American Express and I, at the time was asked for some reason… we were having a conference over in assemble we needed a speaker. So, I was given the task of finding a speaker that was pre-Google. I can’t even remember how I located Maria Franzoni but I did and as a result of finding Maria, she came up with a fantastic speaker for us that we actually use in assemble and then we just became really good friends. Now at the time I was with American Express at that time, I was in the world of, and still am of learning and development. And we became pretty good friends as a result of that interaction. So, she would invite me to come along to various gigs where speakers were speaking, I might help hand out some champagne or something if there was sort of social element to it or I would just be aware that there was an event going on and I’d come along.
And a couple of things always used to happen for me when I was in the audience, which I think I will just share with you because it kind of explains how I got involved, is that bearing in mind I come from the world of learning and development. Management and leadership development. What do you think would happen to me? Firstly, what could happen or would often happen with the most amazing speaker and I’d sit there, I’d be in thrall, I’d be wow, I’d be sort of motivated, I’ve excited and when it all ended, I was like, wow, this is going to change my life. I want to just improve my life. And the speaker would finish their talk, I would go home or perhaps have a glass of wine with somebody and then go home and back to work, fill where this absolute want to do something different as a result of this talk.
And then of course I’d open my laptop, 500 emails, later, pressure work stuff, all that momentum kind of evaporated and the wind and I found that really frustrating. Because also remember I come from the world of learning and development and there’s always something that we put in place beyond the workshop, beyond the session to embed the learning and there was never anything in place for me as a member of the audience to do that. And then the other thing has happened and this I’m sort of sad to have to admit publicly, but I would go along because I think, wow, I really liked the sound of this talk, the subject is really interesting. I would leg it across up to London or wherever this talk was taking place, the speaker would be a bit grim. Have you ever been there where the speaker just hasn’t quite made it and they have the best possible subject, but they have no way of connecting and before long you’re thinking, oh, what, time’s the next train home? Can I sneak off at half time? Which sadly does happen.
So how I then got immersed in the world of, was about four or five years ago, just circumstances change and I was [inaudible 04:42] careers change as they do. And I then joined forces with Maria Franzoni, we are part of the London Speaker Group, because one of the things that was beginning to happen and is now full on happening is that clients were beginning to want more than, my language is just a speech. And a lot of the speakers didn’t know how to do more than just a speech they were used to their 45 minutes slot. Now I have spent the last 20 years working globally with most of your blue chips around developing leadership programs, blended learning programs, where was a whole load of activities taking place that really embeds that message. So, I kind of got involved that way and for the last four years, I have been working very closely and running workshops with speakers to help them improve the impact that they have on stage, but also how to convert a 45-minute speech into potentially a six months program.
Austin: Wow. That is so cool. What a meaningful coincidence, [cross-talk 05:45] as young would put it, but there’s this background that you had in learning and development that was paired with these experiences that you were having in the audience, and then you’re able to connect dots together like there’s this huge gap. And there is, we hear it all the time that in today’s market organizations hire experts who speak, they don’t just hire speakers because they need an outcome to be attached to that. And I don’t know if a lot of people have a box for how to actually accomplish that sometimes, especially with these complex subjects that are often spoken.
Mary: Yeah, for sure. And it’s a really good point you’re making and something that I’m beginning to do a lot work with, because again, it’s second nature to me is this whole return on investment. Speakers are not cheap, first of all, some more expensive than others for sure, but clients do want more value for their money and I’m passionate about making a difference. I am truly passionate about it. I want people to be able to do something as a result of. I don’t want to be sitting in the audience myself and hear the audience say, well, what was that all about? And I hear that sometimes I don’t even want to think it myself, but I get saddened when you hear the audience saying that. And then all what happens is what I’ve seen it happen is that the audience they’re polite, they will clap but actually it’s what they say when they exit the conference hall or when they turn zoom off f we’re in the virtual world, what was that all about?
And that is really sad because that speaker would put so much effort into just delivering content, but what they haven’t done is connecting to their audience in a way with that so important sort of, so what factor. The return on investment for me is a big topic and it’s one I’m really beginning to help some speakers with, because it’s not easy sometimes to measure success because a lot of the topics that speakers talk about are softer topics. If they’re talking about selling, that’s quite a hard, tangible, visible, but there are a lot of things that you can do and the key to figuring it all out begins with scoping is the questions that you ask upfront? And I am really passionate about scoping it is a great tool that I use and I share with the speakers, that really helps them get under the skin of everything with a client so that they can really deliver a great solution, but also in that scoping, and that’s what I kind of, I use this as a more than just a speech. You can potentially unearth tremendous opportunity with that client through really clever questioning with more than just a speech. What you have to be able to do is have a sense of how you can personally deliver on that, but they can always give me a shout and I can always help them.
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s incredible.
Austin: Very cool.
Taylorr: Yeah. It’s absolutely needed just to kind of act as that sounding board. And to your point about ROI and outcomes, like you said, speakers are not necessarily commodities, nor should they be. They provide a tremendous amount of value in their fields of expertise, but now more than ever, especially as we’ve seen 2020 come through, people are looking for more outcome-oriented individuals and ways to make change in their organization. And not only do you have to inspire, motivate and educate the audience, but you have to position yourself in the light of what you can do for your decision-makers.
Mary: Yeah, for sure, and you were so right Austin when you said, and I didn’t pick up on it, but I should have done is that it’s something that we’re really working hard on our speakers at the moment. You speak, but you are not speakers. You are experts who happen to speak and that’s important point and the clients are buying the solution to their problems. Now in the current world there’s a whole lot of problems that we have to solve, but they want that expertise. [inaudible 069:34] it’s helping that client has something that, again, we’re all sat in front of webinars and zooms and everything else as well is, when that zoom closes, end meeting for all, it’s leaving them with something that they can then do as a result, a call to action. Could be a simple call to action.
But again, please do shut me off because I’m getting on a bit. But couple of things that I always kind of instilled in the speaker’s mind is couple of things that you can then use in your conversation with a client. You’ve got the cost of forgetting. There’s something called the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, which some of you may or not know, but the bottom [inaudible 10:12]. But the point is that within about, I think it’s been an hour, there’s about 50% of what you hear within the first hour we forget and within 24 hours, I think over 70% is lost. And that is such a waste of client investment in you. And I said that no matter how brilliant your session is, your workshop or your talk is if we can’t put something in place for client that helps them remember to embed that learning, then again, I would suggest, sorry, but the client is probably wasting some money here.
They’re getting great injections or something, they’re getting a lift in spirit, they’re getting some variety if you like for their employees, but wow, who can deliver something more than just that is so important. And then the other thing as well, and I’m not sure if this has traveled across the pond, did it start like across the pond, but are you familiar with something called the 70, 20, 10 theory on learning development, 70 20, 10?
Mary: Don’t quote me, Charles Jenkins is a more recent if you like name associated with that, but very simply only 10% of learning comes from that formal session. So that workshop, that speech, that course you go on, you’ll only learn 10% from that. 20% of your learning will come from that social interaction, that coaching, that networking, those mastermind groups, where you’re working and bouncing ideas around each other. 70% of real learning comes from the actual doing, applying it, having a go, having a crack, trying it out. And I always encourage speakers to remember three things you’d like to have in your back pocket. One is just what is possible as a way of getting your expertise across, beyond just a speech? What are all the various permutations?
The cost of forgetting, remind a client about the cost of forgetting, because that might be something worth remembering and also this whole 70, 20, 10 thing. Because if you’re familiar with 70, 20, 10, and that might do its day in terms of a model, but the concept will never change because that is how we learn. Just a bit of a bizarre fact about me when I wasn’t doing what I currently do. For example, I was for many years, a private investigator. Now you can’t learn that from a book. The only way you learn how to be a decent PI is to get out there and actually get it wrong, and you don’t want to get it wrong too often when you’re a private investigator, because it can get a bit nasty.
And so that whole concept is such an important one to have. And that again, plays into more than just a speech. Because if you understand that and when you’re scoping with your client and you know what the potential is and the ways that you could deliver learning, then you can sort of align that up on the 70, 20,10 informally, it doesn’t have to be formerly and offer to the client and you blend a solution which might have your speech followed by one-to-one followed, a by workshop, followed by a mentor group, followed by perhaps some projects that they might want to do that they have to then play back to show what they’ve done differently as a result of your session. I talked too much.
Austin: No, you did not talk too much at all, that was so much great information. I’m hearing these sorts of common themes too and I’d be curious to hear whether or not you think that I’m on the right track understanding this concept here but it seems like it starts by identifying a specific problem. You have to know what problem it is that you’re solving.
Mary: Yeah sure.
Austin: You have to ask really good questions to truly understand how that’s affecting a specific organization. You also need to connect the fact that the concept isn’t enough to make an actual change, and then you need the specific steps or programs or whatever it is that you’re going to do to make the concepts actionable so that it really sticks my understanding this?
Mary: I must’ve been brilliant how I explained it because that summary. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And I’m happy to share this with you. The tool that we use in scoping, it comes from again, I had the world’s worst memory myself, but [inaudible 14:18]. They are a great sort of solutioning company. They are across the pond with you guys. But there was a tool called critical questions, which is actually allegedly how Apollo 13 came down to land. Sort of Tom Hanks version, it was them that helped the Apollo 13 come down. The point is the four key questions and under each of those questions can sit a myriad of sub-questions is when you are scoping, ask Mr. Client, what results do you want to achieve?
Under that or any number of sub-questions nut one of the key questions to ask is, if I begin with the end in mind, go Stephen Covey, what is the end in mind as a result of anything? And this is a really critical question. What do you want your audience thinking, feeling, doing as a result of anything I might want to do for you? What is the behavioral change that you seek? So, when they exit zoom call or the conference hall, if went back in lifetime, what is the difference you’re trying to make? Now there’s any number of… there’s a whole lot them, and I’ve got a big aid memoir with lots of sub questions, but that’s the gist of that kind of questioning. Another question that you should ask a client, and when you’re asking these questions, you also need to find out from the client who are the stakeholders that are associated with this, because that will be some people that we can’t ignore, they will have a different result to achieve.
The CEO will want something very different from a conference organizer, very different. Now we have to satisfy all these needs and wants. And the second question, not necessarily in this order, but it can be is Mr. Client, what risks do I have to avoid by anything I do for you now that doesn’t usually flush out a lot but luckily we don’t think about that and it’s a really important thing to think about because, and it could be something around if it’s a global corporation, for example, they don’t want you to deliver something in the States if there’s a head office in UK, because perhaps UK is doing something very different and we don’t want to be competing within a corporation. So, you need to be mindful of those kinds of things, because if you’re not, you might go and go and deliver something that smacks up against something. That’s not a good idea, I guess.
And then the third question, which is a great question is Mr. Client or Mrs. Client, what symptoms are you looking to remove? It’s a bit different to results to achieve. These are the things that aren’t working for so, say for example, the client has said, we want something on leading remotely which is such a popular topic at the moment, a symptom to remove, because the kind of thing they might say is, well, actually they’re not leading remotely. They’re so head down doing their own work, there’s no leadership. We’re finding that there’s no actual leadership happening at the moment, because they were overwhelmed with what’s going on themselves. A symptom to remove is that we have a lot of people who have got some… to use the language mental health, that is quite common now isn’t it? A lot of people are struggling.
So those are some of the issues that we’re trying to help about slightly different to results to achieve, slightly different. But what they’re beginning to do is give you the speaker a really good flavor of potentially what we need to bring in a solution. And then the fourth question is what logistics and resources do I have to consider? Now I need to always fill up pages and pages of information here because they could to be how big an audience, how old are the audience? What is that experience what’s going on in the company? You need to think about company values, company KPIs, strategy and initiative, that kind of language comes under that kind of quadrant or questions. If you like when you’ve done that scoping and for example, one that comes to mind to me and one that I do a lot, because I know I can do a one-off workshop, tick that box, that’s all they want. Job done, tick the box, I know that’s what they want. I also know how else I can deliver my expertise.
And so, when a client is suggesting to me that they’ve got a reasonable budget, that they want something that’s sustainable, that there’s a culture shift, that it becomes something that sticks. I know in a million years just having me for one workshop or talk, well they’re different things, but one off, isn’t going to cut it. It’s not going to happen with the best one in the world, you’re not going to create that change. So, in that questioning, I would always ask the client, what is your appetite for doing something more than just a speech? And let me tell you why I think it would be important. And then you [inaudible 19:17] because you have asked for sustainability, you have asked for culture, you have asked for embedding, and with the best one in the world Mr. Client, we need to put something else in place. Can I explore, can we consider options for doing that?
So those critical questions are stunning because A, what they do is give you robust information. So, you’ve considered all the stakeholders, the key stakeholders, the audience, the HR, the CEO, the organizers, and when you’ve got robust information, you can then sit back and I never give a client solution then and there. I say, I’d like to now reflect on this. I have a few ideas, but I want to go to play with it and I’ve got to come back to you with my thoughts. And then I will literally come away, and then there’s a bit more to that process, but I won’t clog up your airways with it now, but then I can sit back and think, okay, they have said they’ve [inaudible 20:13], they’ve got a bit of a budget, I know how much time I can have people for, we know what the technical capabilities are or restrictions might be.
Then I think that I can do this and a bit of that, a blend of this and a blend of that. And I will put that together in a proposal so therefore they are getting more than a speech. And I always have my eye on return on investment. Even if it’s something as light touch as, and I do a lot of this in a lot of the work I do and speakers are beginning to do this as well is, I call it ROI presentation day, feedback day. And the delegates had to come back and present back to the trainer, facilitators, expert, and hopefully the management team or their ex-co team, what they have done differently as a result of that workshop, that speech, that talk. And that’s where you can sort of… so you’re doing more than just a speech, you’re doing a blend of things, but you’re also giving some all-important ROI back to the client and they’ll love you for it and then they’ll ask you for more and then they’ll want more from you because they want one-to-one coaching. And then it just come back to one other thing, and I do talk a lot. I’m sorry,
Taylorr: This is gold. [21:17 cross-talk].
Austin: I could listen to this for hours so go ahead.
Mary: [21:31 Cross-talk] Sorry. But one of the other things that I’ve just been teaching, well sort of today to a group of speakers, is that when you do the critical questions, the added bonus of that is that if you do it well, you asking some fantastic questions, you’re not giving them any solutions, you’re simply asking amazing questions to which you are then listening to the answer. And when you demonstrate listening, this is the psychology bit you are sending an incredibly powerful signal to that client that you genuinely care, that you genuinely are interested, that you really want to get under the skin of what’s going on there. Which psychologically, is really powerful because they are going to start feeling confident with you. The trust is beginning to form and that quality scoping also helps ring fence you from other speakers. They haven’t got time, why would they want to go somewhere else?
They will. They can. They do. But if you ask those brilliant questions, the added bonus is that they’re natural… because listening increases confidence. It’s a natural byproduct. I’m passionate around that whole topic of demonstrating that you’re listening and it’ll ring fences you from your competitors because why would they go elsewhere? And then when you then put your proposal in with something and it might end up only being a speech, I get that. It can be because they just haven’t got the budget, they desperately want to more but they have no means to do this and that’s fine, but you might’ve just unearthed an opportunity to do a wee bit more, and it earned you a few more pennies, which I’m sure is a motivator, but if you’re like me passionate about making a difference, which is my priority always, it’s a lovely thing to know that you’ve got a [inaudible 23:21] crack now, really leaving your expertise in a way that really does land.
Austin: This is so…
Taylorr: Gold. Gold.
Austin: People need to understand this. This concept here is I think captured; I think conceptually through the idea of consultative selling. Consultative selling is about asking questions and solving problems but the way that you just described this process is so much more tactical and intentional and is really focused on creating results for your clients, which is the number one thing. And let’s get real, if you’re growing a business and you want to make money, the best way to make more money is to provide amazing results for the people that you’re working with. And they’ll talk and refer you and that is how you develop a reputation.
Mary: Please, whoever’s listening, don’t for one minute misunderstand me, a lot of speakers only want to, or only can deliver justice speech. I used just a speech in inverted commas because it’s not in any way demeaning speech, and that’s fantastic. And you will get more gigs by virtue of being awfully brilliant in that speech. It’s just a given that the clients are moving more and more towards that whole world of more than a speech, that there are fantastic opportunities for you to look long and hard at your expertise, think about the 70, 20, 10 I talked about, the cost of forgetting, think about ways that you can get your expertise out there. And I know you mentioned that at the start, but you can coach, you can do blended programs, you can do mentoring, you can do projects, you can do mastermind groups, you can do Q and A sessions, there’s many number of ways nowadays that you can get that expertise out there. Use them, do it. Because you want your expertise to land. Change the world, help the world, save the world, please save us.
Taylorr: Everyone listening needs to save this episode and put it in your archives, come back to it every single month, this is such valuable information. Mary, thank you for sharing all of that with us so far. And you know, as you know, we’re all about creating value for our audience, but what are some of the things you’re working on right now that our listeners can benefit from?
Mary: Well, at the moment I am working with Maria from the Maria Franzoni Limited with Speaker Bureau. We have this site, something called Speaking Business Academy where we are pooling all of our expertise, years and years and years of expertise together. Because I have a lot of experience around the whole speaking, the speaking, the subject, the topic, the title of the content, the messaging, and Maria has been running a Bureau for years so knows all about the business element of it. Currently we’re running a program called Speaking in A Different world, which is a very, I’m going to use the word introvert because we’re very keen to keep it very intimate so we can give a lot of one-to-one support to a group of speakers. So, it’s a six-week program where they learn a lot of the stuff that I’ve just touched on and a whole heap more to really help them get a book and get paid for those bookings.
So that’s kind of what I’m working on now. And in that, some of the stuff I share with you now, I will share with the speakers, I will share with them techniques on how to make sure that they have a great structure, a great frame. I go through scoping in great detail with them. I explore all of that and also thinking about the impact. And then I’m also working on some other kind of learning and development programs just from another angle for a company overseas, actually. They [inaudible 26:52] 13 different programs I think they will ask me for, so I guess finished wrapping up the design of 13 different programs. But that’s 13 totally separate topics.
Mary: And then weekend come.
Mary: I’m just kidding.
Taylorr: Well, you heard it here folks. All of that information will be in the show notes below. And hey, if you liked this episode, don’t forget to rate subscribe and if you want more also resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all-in-one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcast simple; it makes recording podcasts simple; it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple. And quite honestly, Technically Speaking wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus. And if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbus.com/speaker flow, or click the link below.