S. 1 Ep. 26 – Engage, Educate, And Entertain Your Virtual Audiences

Picture of Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 1 Ep 26 - Engage Educate And Entertain Your Virtual Audiences with SpeakerFlow and Rob Ferre

In today’s episode, we’re chatting with DJ, speaker, and entertainer extraordinaire, Rob Ferre.

Rob founded his entertainment company, Life of the Party, in 2007 after training 3 years in the family entertainment capital of the world, Orlando Florida. Where he worked for Disney, Universal Studios, and Nickelodeon as a game show host and DJ.

He is one of the most sought-after speakers in the wedding and event industry and has been speaking to audiences for over 20 years.

Today, we’re talking about virtual engagement. And no, not live chat and polling. We’re talking real gamification.

If you’re looking to ramp up your virtual delivery, this is the episode for you.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think!

Watch the Podcast 👀

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Show Notes 📓

✅  Connect with Rob on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robferre/

🎤  Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀  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. This is Taylorr and today, Austin and I are talking with DJ, speaker, entertainer extraordinaire, Rob Ferre. Now Rob is an entertainer, speaker, and game show host from Salt Lake City, Utah, and he found his entertainment company Life of The Party in 2007, after training three years in the family entertainment capital of the world, Orlando, Florida. He’s worked for Disney, Universal Studios and Nickelodeon as a game show host and DJ and he’s been speaking to and entertaining audiences for over 20 years. Now, we wanted to bring Rob in to talk to us about how to engage, educate, and entertain your virtual audiences. And in this episode, Rob goes into detail about how we can further gamify the experience and go beyond polling in live chat in your presentations. We hope you love this one. I guarantee you’re going to want to stick around until the end. And we’re live. Rob, welcome to the show, man. It’s great to have you.

Rob: Yeah, I’m excited to be here. The Speaker Flow family excited to be…Austin and I actually share the same state, so that’s fun.

Taylorr: Indeed, it’s fun. Yeah. 

Austin: It’s a beautiful place. It’s a good place to be represent. For all you Utah listeners out there, we love you. Let’s get together some time. 

Rob: Also, the home of e-Speakers, e-Speakers is based out of Utah as well. Home of the famous Jason Hewlett, Ty Bennett, Dan Clark, Chad Hamus. We have some amazing people here in this area.

Taylorr: That’s right, only the best. I think we’re all speakers who are just going to have to flock to Utah and just live there.

Austin: I think so. 

Rob: Yeah. Why not? 

Taylorr: It’s a good plan. Why not? So, Rob man, we’ve known you for a while now and our listeners may or may not have, but we always like to kick off the show with the background question, the backstory, how did you get into the crazy world of speaking? What led you here? And more importantly, why did you stay?

Rob: Why did I stay? So, here’s the thing is I have a weird origin story. I have an entertainment background. I graduated from college in 2003 in Broadcast Communications. I wanted to become a weatherman or a TV guy or a sports reporter, something. And I had this terrible experience in college where I had to cover a murder the night of the super bowl when my beloved Tampa Bay Bucks won, and they have won again, it’s all come full circle. So, the last time they won and I covered that murder and I was like, I don’t want to cover murders. So, I graduated from college and I moved to Orlando, Florida with hopes of making my dreams come true, working for the mouse. And I got my first speaking gig working for the mouse, working in a parking lot. Working in a parking lot, how does that work? 

So, I was the guy on the back of the tram as you came into the park and I was like, you have parked your car in Goofy 55. Lower your head, watch your step, this is a family theme park, and all these stupid things. So, I call that my first big speaking gig because I got paid to speak on the back of a tram. Then I parlayed that job into working at the jungle cruise. Yep. I was a jungle cruise skipper making the cheesy jokes as you go around and it was a lot of fun and I was there for about three years. So, I dived into the world of entertainment as a DJ performer. I actually cut my teeth as an entertainer deejaying for people while they waited in line for a ride. That’s what I did, that was my first job. 

And I was there for years. I also worked at Nickelodeon where I was a game show host there and it was a lot of fun. And I was like, I’m going to go back to Utah and I’m going to bring this business back to Utah and it’s going to be amazing. So, I came back to Utah and I started my business called Life of The Party, which is primarily DJ entertainment. And I started that in 2007, so 14 years ago I moved back to Utah and then I started accidentally doing, and I say accidentally, my sister-in-law said, hey, you’re going to do a red ribbon assembly for us. Okay. So, I went to her school and I did a red ribbon assembly and that was my first like speaking in front of an audience like traditional speaking and that’s kind of how I got into speaking for schools.

But I didn’t really realize what speaking was until I joined the National Speakers Association, that’s when it all changed and that was about six years ago. And that’s when I really wanted to stay and dive in because then I came to that and I was like, this is my tribe. Because I met a friend Lita Green who spoke at an event. I was emceeing for free, and when I was emceeing, I was like, you are legit. You’re amazing. She’s like, I know. And if you know, Lita Green, you get that. She invited me to come to NSA, but it was after I saw a post on Facebook of her at the NSA Christmas party where they had Tim Guard, teaching them how to play the nose flute. So, I always tell people it’s because of the nose flute that got me into NSA. I wanted to be a part of a club where people were teaching each other, how to play the nose flute. That’s the nose flute in case you’re wondering for those who are listening, that is the nose flute. And I played the nose…

Austin: That was impressive by the way.

Taylorr: Let’s just take a moment because you just have that on hand, by the way, hanging out…

Rob: No, I have it.

Austin: Like it’s just something you resort to regularly.

Rob: No, it’s just like the one thing I have so I always play safe. Anybody, The Carpenters. Anyway, so I wanted to be a part of a club, I call it a club at the time, that taught people how to play the nose flute. And I went to my first meeting with Heather Lutsy, my next meeting was with She Hyken and I was addicted. And then I became a member the week after I went to my first meeting. Because as a speaker, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you speak in front of an audience and they pay you, you can be a speaker. So, I spoke in front of audiences, not in the traditional keynoting form, not these huge conferences, but I did a variety of events. I emceed, I did assemblies, I emceed weddings, and I thought I actually qualify. And I think a lot of people don’t join NSA because they’re like, oh, I don’t know. Do I qualify? I do get paid, but there’s like 10 people in a room. 

That’s how you qualify 10 people in a room, you get paid, you can be a member. So, I joined right away and you say, why did I stay? I stayed for the community. I stayed for the people. That’s why I’m still trying to figure this speaking thing out, but I love it so much. And I’m a sucker for the stage so give me a stage, give me a way to perform and be in front of people, that’s why I do it. A lot of people have more noble reasons. I came into speaking because I wanted to change the world. I wanted to be on stage and if there’s something noble about it, I want to create an energy and an enthusiasm that stages need more of to put it simply. I do that through keynoting, as an emcee, through gamification and just through interactivity and fun.

Taylorr: I love that about you.

Austin:  And you say that you didn’t do it for a noble reason and correct me if I’m wrong, but I imagine it’s like in a lot of ways, at least really less about you and more about the way you move the audience. Am I wrong about that? Do you enjoy, do you get the high off of seeing people enjoy themselves and have fun and learn something? Hopefully.

Rob: Yeah. I do get a lot of enjoyment from it. When you say see people right now, all I do is I see the chat. That was fun. All I see is comments in the chat, but I still get a lot of fun. The great thing about the chat when it comes to virtual, before we were seeing body language, we were seeing people nod their heads, smile, laugh, or on their phones. But now in the virtual space, that nuance is lost, but now we can hear their thoughts. Isn’t that crazy? Because you don’t get that instant feedback with an audience like that was amazing. I’d love that so much. What is your information? So there’s pros and cons to virtual versus live, but that’s the cool thing about virtual is we can now hear instant feedback and you’re getting the love probably from like the 10 people who were paying attention, which is great, and then the people who aren’t paying attention, who were asleep or on their phone or doing their emails, you can’t see them so you don’t have to worry about them. 

And as speakers, sometimes we always focus on that guy on the front row, who’s on his phone who looks unengaged and you’re like that guy, I need to touch and get that guy. It doesn’t matter anymore. For me, it’s about the five people who actually paid attention. Sometimes it’s more, but I actually deejayed at an event on Zoom where I was in this virtual lobby for eight hours and people would come into the virtual lobby, I direct them into breakout rooms, hey, this breakout room is open. You can go over here; you can network then some people just stayed. And I remember there was like, most of the people had their cameras off, but they were listening and grooving, but one lady had her camera on and she was just like, and her name was Shirley. And I played Shirley from The Four Seasons that I was like, that was for you, Shirley. And she was just like, I felt like I was playing to an audience of one, but she had so much delight on her face, I was like, that was worth it. So, I don’t know where we’re going with this, I just love being in front of audiences and I love being able to give people opportunities just to check out, have fun, and also maybe learn something as Austin said.

Taylorr: That’s so good. I’m glad that you mentioned virtual too, because there’s no doubt that that’s a poignant topic right now. I want to dive deeper into this, but I’ve found that a lot of people really love virtual. I will never go back to live if I don’t have to and then there’s other people that absolutely hate it or outright refuse to do it. And I think that most people are in the middle somewhere obviously. But do you find yourself leaning towards one side or another where you like virtual more than live or vice versa?

Rob: Well, virtual has given me the platform that I never thought was possible. Speaking was secondary to my DJ business. My DJ business was my primary income and I had a goal that my speaking revenue would eclipse my DJ revenue. That didn’t happen until what year? 2020. So most of my DJ events had to be live. Most of those or weddings, bar mitzvahs, corporate events. And then once we went virtual speaking shifted and I love virtual in the sense that I can be anywhere in the world at any time. I spoke to a group in Armenia at the beginning of the pandemic and I spoke to groups in Europe and then I spoke to groups in California, Atlanta, whatever I could be anywhere in the world. The coolest thing about virtual is you have more inventory. I now don’t have to give up a day or an evening, I have to give up an hour, an hour and a half.

Today, I’m doing two virtual game shows. One of them is for group out of the East Coast and then one is for a group on the West coast at Stanford. So, if I was doing this live event at Stanford, my day is over, I gave away that one day, the inventory is gone for Friday. Now I’m just giving away an hour, hour and a half or two hours, depending on prep time. That’s the beauty of virtual. I have more inventory next week. I’m going to be doing a four-day event, but that’s still during the day. But I still have my evenings free to take on more events. That’s what I love about virtual. And I can be anywhere in the world and my setup is fairly simple, just turn on a couple of buttons.

And for some people, for some speakers, oh my gosh, I have to set this up. I have to turn things on. Like for me, who have to set up DJ booths every weekend, this is a godsend. All I have to do is walk into my office and turn things on. Whereas with a DJ booth, you’re constantly setting up your little fort and then taking it down, which requires hours before and after, now with this, you don’t. So, I really like virtual because I can expand my network. I’m now working with people who are like, we need what you can do. And I’ve really found a great niche within the virtual world where I’m a virtual event producer, I’m an MC and then I add gamification and interactivity to their events. And the cool thing also is at any moment, somebody could say… like I did this event a couple of weeks ago, the producers are behind the scenes saying, Rob, our panelist isn’t here, do you have five minutes of material?

Do I have five minutes material? I have games beyond games. Yeah, I got a game ready to go right here and now. And the cool thing also with virtual is you can’t see anything; I would say below the crease. If you’re watching us on zoom below the crease, all my equipment right here, and they’re not seeing all the things that I’m doing. I’m spotlighting people, I’m doing sound effects, I’m doing games and I’m my own producer, whereas when I do a live event, I have to bring an assistant who’s running my games and my music, but now I can do that all on my own. I loved the one-man band type thing. It really just gets my energy and juices going with that being said, I would love to keep doing live events. When I do those live events, I… the thing we’re missing with live events is afterwards where you’re getting to hang out with the people that you just worked with or served or got to teach, where you’re having those conversations in the hallway. You go to the bar; you go to the restaurant. We don’t have that anymore. 

And I try and replicate that with after-hours virtual game shows, hey, let’s do a networking event later in the evening after our general sessions. But that’s the one thing I miss and I do miss traveling. I love traveling. So, I am going to be doing my one of my first live events in Tennessee later on this year and we’re going to Gatlinburg. And know what energizes me about Gatlinburg? Dollywood. You can’t go to Dollywood virtually so that’s what I miss. There’s a juxtaposition, but what my hope is that these virtual events turn into live events in the future. But I think virtual is here to stay, a lot of people have found that it’s so much easier to do virtual than to do it live. You don’t have to pay for a venue, catering and all that kind of stuff, but that human connection is what we severely need.

Taylorr: It just gives us a little bit more control too. At least when things go back to normal, living life normally let’s say, now we have the option to do virtual. And we’ve kind of charted those waters now over the last year in the event space and say, yeah, this thing could work. So, I think we’re going to be able to see a lot more creativity happening in all of our businesses now that we’re kind of worked through it and people are much more comfortable with it. One thing that stands out to me, Rob, about your business in particular though, is you have these two generally drastic different revenue streams. Deejaying generally is a completely different audience than the people who are hiring you to do speaking. I’m curious to learn more about some of the challenges or some of even the triumphs that you’ve had trying to manage both of those revenue streams in your business. Can you speak more to that?

Rob: Yeah. So, I did coaching and mentorship through Jason Hewlett and he’s been an amazing person for me when. He did his first workshop, his first live coaching, mentorship workshop I was one of the first people to sign up and he’s tried to shed the moniker of Jason Hewitt, the impressionist entertainer. Now Jason wants to be known as the keynote speaker, The Promise, and it’s taken years for him to kind of evolve or shed that. He still does his entertainment but the thing about him is, is now it’s all rolled into one where he talks about that. And I use him as a model because I’m trying to shed my moniker as DJ Rob, DJ Rob. I’m not DJ Rob. I am Rob Ferre, The Entertainer. Entertainer, speaker, host. And that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s one of the hardest things, especially in the speaking community, when I show up, they be like, hey, it’s DJ Rob.

I’m like, nah, now you’re pigeonholing me. I didn’t go to school to get my doctorate in deejaying. And I know some people like, oh, I’d love to be known as Dr. So-And-So. I don’t put DJ on any of my branding. It’s just Rob Ferre, Rob Ferre. Deejaying is a part of my business and I actually represent other DJs in my community. So, I’m also a talent agency for DJs here in Utah. What I’m trying to do is shift a lot of those events to them. So the hard part is now is trying to find ways to kind of keep the automation going and keeping that momentum going because my focus right now isn’t much on weddings and deejaying it’s more on the speaking. One, because I enjoy it more, two, because I get paid a lot more.

I don’t have to haggle with brides and grooms who are looking to save $200. They’ll go with another DJ on the basis of $200. Whereas with a corporate client or somebody from an association, our budget is X. That is our budget because that’s how much money they gave us. You’re not haggling over that because that’s our actual budget where brides and grooms make up a number and then you got to tell them the value of this and this and that, so I enjoy the sales process more when it comes to that. What I’ve had to do is have had to automate some of my processes on the DJ end, and that’s been a big challenge, but I have a great team around me, DJs that I’ve cultivated over the last 14 years who I can trust.

And so right now going into 21, I would say 50% of the weddings we were supposed to do shifted to this year. So, a lot of them got canceled or postponed so now we’re trying to fulfill those dates. It’s going to be a crazy year, but we’re going to find that balance. But what I really enjoy right now is doing the speaking. I don’t know if I answered your question, but…

Taylorr: Yeah, you did. Certainly, I mean, it’s hard to manage both, and I think you’ve done a really good job of like saying, look, I’ve gotten to this point in the DJ side and now I’m going automate and elevate myself out of it as much as possible to be a talent agency so that I can focus more time over here in the thing I like doing the most. Let’s recognize that for a moment like that pivoted… and I’m saying pivot, sue me everybody, but… I know right? God, sensitive. That’s a hard thing to pull off. It’s not easy to make that shift and then kind of re label yourself so other people aren’t pigeonholing you. Hats off to you for that progress.

Rob Thank you. Yeah. And I’m not working on a book right now, I’m not working on a coaching program. I have that, and I know a lot of people have different revenue streams. One of my revenue streams is the entertainment business, but I do consider the game show, which is the entertainment still speaking because that’s where I I’ve been doing the most of is the game show, but it’s a nice crossover between the game show and emceeing, and it does lend it way to more events. And another person I highly admire in the speaking industry is Jeff Civillico who went from doing the juggling, he still does it, but now he’s known as an MC. And these are things that I’m looking to do. People like John Pets as well. These are my NSA heroes who do started in entertainment or have entertainment-based offerings, but now are doing emceeing and speaking and keynoting, there’s so many people out there that I think really have inspired me. 

And speaking of inspiration, I don’t think I would be where I am in the virtual space if it wasn’t for Jason Hewlett and Clint Pulver, who are two of my peers here in Utah, who immediately started building their virtual studios. I asked Clint, who helped you build yours? And he said, it was my friend, Jordan. I immediately got in contact with Jordan and we collaborated. And if it wasn’t for their foresight and saying, I need to go all in, that’s what happens. And I talk about this in my keynote, which is be the first one on the dance floor. And it’s about being an early adopter. There’s what’s called the law of diffusion of innovation. If you’re familiar with this, it’s a bell curve. And at the very beginning are the innovators and then after that are the early adopters. Early adopters are the ones in the beta, innovators are the ones that are, are leading the way I would say I was an early adopter when it came to virtual, when it came to COVID, I saw what the innovators were doing and I said, I need to do that. Because once I dived all in April, I was able to set myself up for the rest of the year.

Austin: Hey, that foresight cannot be understated. And some of it’s a gamble too, let’s not forget the fact that you’re kind of taking educated guesses sometimes as to what’s actually going to work. I forget who says, this is somebody, but they say in business, if you want to be successful, you should take risks and take them often. And I think that when we’re presented with a challenge, it’s sort of on us to make use of it and overcome it. And there’s countless examples of people doing that and benefiting a huge amount on the other side and I think that you’re a good example of that, Rob.

Rob: Well, thank you. You got to take those risks. And one of the things I also tell people when it comes to virtual, if you already have some of the equipment start putting it together. My equipment set up it’s a hodgepodge of stuff that I already had and stuff I needed to buy. And since I’ve been able to create some more revenue, I’m going to start updating and have new equipment and keep evolving. I think that’s the problem sometimes with some speakers is they sometimes forget the hustle and all the hard work they did. And once they start cruising and then something gets in their way, they don’t want to evolve or they don’t want to adapt. And I don’t blame people who are like, no, I’ll never do virtual. Virtual is not my thing. I get that.

But if you’re evolving and adapting, then you’re going to be able to thrive a little bit more. And that’s what I had to do, was to immediately adapt to the situation and that has proved to be very helpful for me. I’m always trying to evolve my studio, my speaking, my keynote. If you’re familiar with a man named Walt Disney, he talked about Disneyland being Disneyland is always changing. Disneyland is never going to be what it’s going to be. It’s always going to evolve. And that’s the great thing about Disneyland is you get really excited about, ooh, they’re building a new attraction or, oh, they’re taking out the old and bringing in the new. That’s what makes Disney so relevant is because they’re ever evolving, and I’m a, I’m a thing park enthusiast, that’s why I kind of relate to that.

I always get excited about the new rides and new attractions that they’re building. And sometimes we get very nostalgic about what it used to be, but are people paying for the things, what it used to be? Not all the time, if it’s obsolete, you got to move on and you have to adapt. That’s what I loved also about 2020, there was that reset and everybody was on a level playing field. And I felt like, Ooh, I have a chance now. I’m not in this race where I’m trying to catch up with everybody because I started my speaking business six years ago or a dived in six years ago. But now it’s a level playing field and we all got to start over, we all have our own material, maybe we had some of the clients, but we had to start over. And that’s what I loved about 2020 is I felt like I had a chance now to get back into the race with everybody else.

Taylorr: What a cool perspective. 

Austin: I agree. Those that take action get the benefit too. That’s the thing, it doesn’t matter how far ahead you are, you have to be willing to do what it takes when things go awry. And comfort is a dangerous and slippery slope. It’s good to be comfortable and it feels nice in the moment, but you have to be prepared to be uncomfortable and move through that if the challenge arises and 2020, I think taught us all what that actually means. 

Rob: Exactly.

Austin: So, while we’re still sort of in this virtual topic, I’ve got to ask you gamification is something that you’ve brought up, you were an early adopter of the virtual world, do you have any general tips or thoughts or anything that you’d like to share for speakers that maybe still aren’t super comfortable with this new mode of doing things? Anything that you feel like could help them be more confident? Let’s say.

Rob: Yeah, we talk about engagement all the time. It’s a super big buzz word within the virtual speaking community. Hey, how can I engage my people? And there are so many ideas that have been rehashed and redone throughout this last year. And I think the most important thing for engagement is knowing your audience and knowing how to actually do something that is relevant to them. A lot of people saying, hey, I need a game. I need a way to engage my audience. What should I do? Well, you could do the rename game on Zoom, or you can do the either-or game on Zoom. And I’ve heard those over and over again. If your audience has never seen it, do it. But if you’re just looking for a game just to kind of put into a square peg with a round hole, or vice versa, you…

Taylorr: However it goes.

Rob: Got to act…however, it goes, right. You’re trying to do something that’s not really relevant to them. So, I’m constantly creating new games for the audiences that I’m serving. Customization is key. When it comes to gamification, there’s so many ways to go about it. Sometimes you can look at gamification as entertainment, I’m just doing this just so that people are entertained or an engagement where I want to connect with my audience or the last one, I call is educate. You can do all three. You can educate, engage and entertain with gamification but you have to figure out why you’re doing this. What is the purpose of this game? What is the purpose of me doing this right now? Engagement, I would say something like type in the chat, answer this poll. Entertainment, I think is like an actual game that you play and then education is something where you take your methodology and what you’re teaching them and putting it into a game where they’re now learning and retaining the information you just gave them. 

Also, if you’re doing a networking event, gamification, where you say, meet as many people as possible, you could win a prize, you can do this. I also use gamification for helping people with their vendor floors. How do we get more people engaged with our vendors? Do we get people to the virtual expo floor? you have to think about what’s the purpose of the game and then you build from there. I often talk to my clients and say, what’s the platform? Is there a chat? How are we going to do this? And oftentimes people are like, you know what? We just want you to just to entertain our audience because we want to keep them in their virtual seats. We don’t want them to go away. Great. People also like the option of being rewarded. If there’s a prize involved, people will play, People love that sense of competition. 

And here’s the other thing I also tell speakers. If there’s a prize involved, why not give them your stuff? If you have a product, a book, a coaching program, a set of DVDs from the 1990s of you doing your coaching, you could give that away right now. It’s like you have this inventory and you’re like oh I’ve made all these CDs. I could give that that way. And the thing is like, it may not be relevant, but people love free stuff. Even if it’s just a CD that you made in 1995, about your three steps of becoming a better whatever, why not give that away?  I didn’t give a very specific detail when it came to gamification because I want you to think about what is your intention with gamification. And I also come to a gamification through the lens of a game show host, not of a programmer or a gamer, if that makes sense. That’s a different world in my opinion. But what those people do is they figure out the different nuances to keep people incentivized. 

And one of the things I’m loving right now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the platform Pathable. Pathable, they gamified their entire platform. You log on as an attendee, you get 15 points if you put a profile picture, 10 points if you complete your bio, 10 points if you enter a room, 15 points if you go to your session, so now they’re gamifying it and then they have this leaderboard and now they’re incentivizing them to engage in the platform, go to the sessions, chat with people and do more on the platform. That’s pure gamification. So, there’s different levels of gamification just to touch on it.

Taylorr: Man, that’s fascinating.

Austin: I’m just curious before we move on, what is the platform that you’re talking about? Is this a virtual event platform?

Rob: Yeah, it’s called Pathable.

Austin: Pathable. 

Rob: Pathable.

Austin: Interesting.

Rob: Yeah. And I really enjoy it. I’ve done a couple events via Pathable and the cool thing is, is they have this whole just website and it says, here are the sessions, here’s your agenda, you can create your own agenda. And then you click on like join webinar in progress and you can join in and then there’s a chat. And the cool thing about Pathable is I can do it via Zoom. So, when I open it up, it opens up my Zoom and then my Zoom redirects into the website. And now it’s more webinars style when you’re presenting so I’m really looking for the engagement in the chat, but it works. I just did an event yesterday where I did a virtual game show. That was the only thing I did. Is like trivia with Rob. And like a hundred plus people jumped into my room and we’ve played virtual quiz show trivia. 

I did a variety of things and they were engaged in the chat. And that’s the other thing about virtual is you can never say, well, that’s not going to work, I always do it this way. There’s a best way to do it but then once you try it a different way, it works. Because when I do quiz show, I normally do it live on Zoom where people can unmute themselves meeting style and I can hear their voices. A celebrity couples, who’s Jay Z celebrity crush, or spouse ding, Beyonce. I couldn’t do that yesterday. It was ding, okay. Answering the chat, Samantha, you have five seconds to answer. Type, type, type, type, type Beyonce. That’s how I had to do it yesterday. 

You always have to adapt and you have to use whatever’s given to you and you can’t say no. I think that’s the problem with some speakers, I’m assuming with some speakers where they’re like, no, I always do it this way. And for me, I’m never saying no, I’m like, okay, let’s find a new creative way to use this platform and let’s find a way to engage the audience. So, engagement, there’s so many different ways to do it and you just got to adapt.

Taylorr:  man, it’s just so many golden nuggets there. I think to your point, Rob people… we talked about this earlier with the kind of innovator, the early adopters, the bulk, and then the people towards the tail end, we’re kind of just resistance to change. We just don’t like change generally speaking and I think, man, if you can really embrace it like you have in your business and innovate along the way and be creative, you really have a leg up and you’re kind of… I don’t know, you’re not always reinventing. You’re just creating, you’re innovating yourself and you’re offering for people. And I think one of the key things that you mentioned in gamification is you didn’t give anybody, like, hey yeah, go do these games when we talked about gamification. You said we need to find what’s relevant to them and gamify based on that.

And I think that’s so powerful because you’re not just saying, oh yeah, let’s do breakout rooms and polling and chat and we’re going to call it good because that’s what we’re used to. Let’s figure out what have they done in the past or what haven’t they done and what does this particular audience like doing and you design game around that experience for them. It’s that level of relevancy that where the value really comes into people are kind of, I think sick of the standard boiler plate presentation and Zoom session so if we can get creative and stay relevant to them, you really have a leg up over everybody else.

Rob: Yeah. Speaking of leg-up, stand up. I always tell people if you’re going to present, do it standing up your energy is so much different than when you are sitting down. How often are you presenting sitting down? For those who are able to stand, stand. If you can’t stand, find where you can find your best energy, and I know people have to adapt of all abilities. Speakers who are may be trying to figure out what’s the best way to communicate with my audience. Clubhouse is a great way as well too. People are getting onto clubhouse and speaking, that’s all auditory. Clubhouse is another stage, which you can monetize in your own way, but there’s so many different ways to reach people out there.

Taylorr: Wow, what a value packed episode, Rob, thank you so much for coming on today. And as you know, we’re all about creating value for everyone listening here. What are some of the things you’re working on right now that everyone can benefit from?

Rob: Well, you know I am doing a coaching program where you can buy in for $10.99 at the discounted rate. No, I’m kidding. I don’t have anything like that. I don’t have a coaching program; I don’t do anything like that. What I love to do is I just try and to get connected to as many people as possible. What I love to do is I love to speak to speaker groups. 2020 was supposed to be the year where I was going to do my first presentation for an NSA chapter and what happened? It went away and I had to do it virtual. I was grateful to do it virtual but I would prefer to do it in person, but I was able to speak to over 10… I haven’t done the actual numbers. Some people are like numbers people, I’ve just dealt with tally, tally, tally. But I would believe it was at least over 10 speaker groups associated with NSA, even friends that I’ve met in NSA, but I’ve spoken to them on gamification and how to level up their presentations. 

Multiple chapters have brought me in virtually to speak on that and how to do employee virtual engagement for their speakers. I speak on employee engagement, but not to speakers. But I also show them the ins and outs of my virtual space so they can see my actual virtual studio and what I’m doing and how I built it. Because I think I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it wasn’t for other people showing me how they did it. And I got so many ideas and I adapted what they did into my studio. So, the best thing that I love to do is connecting with other speakers in this space, virtually. And speakers, we book a time and we have a conversation and if it’s just a half hour conversation, that’s great. And I don’t charge for that time. I do charge for game creation and bigger conversations but if it’s just like a virtual cup of coffee, I love just connecting and learning what people are doing and how I can help them level up their virtual engagement.

Taylorr: Awesome. Rob, you’re an incredible person. I’ll be sure all the appropriate links are in the show notes below for people to connect with you and reach out. And hey, if you found this episode valuable, don’t forget to subscribe rate it and if you want more awesome 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/speakerflow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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