In today’s episode, we’re talking with presentation and speaking skills expert Ivan Wanis-Ruiz.
Ivan is an expert in presentation skills and is ridding of the world one boring presentation at a time.
He believes at the center of any good presentation is charisma, confidence, and having an executive presence. All of these things can be learned.
He shares with us example after example of how the vast majority of presentations are filled with useless information that’s making everyone bored.
Then, he delivers tactic after tactic to use to make your presentation as exciting as possible.
Oh, and by the way, he’s enrolled over 150,000 students in his presentation skills courses. Ivan’s the real deal.
Let’s dive in!
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Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr, and Austin, and today we are talking about how to make your presentations less boring and the perfect person for this is Ivan Wanis Ruiz. And he specializes in making presentations less boring and is literally on a warpath to rid the world of boring presentations. Now, Ivan is the real deal and has sold over 150,000 enrollments into his courses on Coursera and Udemy, all-around presentation skills, and how to remove boring from your presentation.
He shares with us some incredible frameworks and some ideas and real tactics about how we can make our programs more engaging and how we can more deeply engage with our audience so that we can see transformation. And the most beautiful thing about this is all of the skills and all of the tactics that Ivan shares with us, they can be learned, they’re not inherent, it’s not something you’re born with, it’s not genetic, you can make your presentation as exciting and not boring as you want to make it and this episode should help you get there.
So, as always stick around until the end for some awesome resources, and we hope you like this one. All right and we are live, Ivan, man, welcome to the show, this has been a bit in the making, we’re so glad to have you.
Ivan: A year in the making maybe, Taylorr?
Taylorr: Yeah, a year or so, we’ve been playing tag for a little while, I think.
Ivan: I’m so happy we actually managed to get this down because I’m a fan of this show and we live in the same world. We live in the same world, different time zones, but the same world, so I’m just really happy we managed to get this down.
Austin: Oh, yeah, us too for sure, and thank you for joining us from beautiful Canada, it sounds like we got a friend from the great north here with us today.
Ivan: Yeah, and this is exactly when my dog decided to make an appearance, so. Come here, Rosie.
Taylorr: Oh, welcome to the show, Rosie.
Austin: Oh, so cute.
Ivan: Look at your crazy human eyes.
Austin: I know, I was just looking at that, yeah, more animals than humans at SpeakerFlow actually, so.
Ivan: Oh really?
Austin: Yup, yeah, very cool, and hey, for you listeners out there, time to get on video; you get to see cute puppies. So, I think so [Cross-Talking 02:30].
Taylorr: That’s as good of a reason as any.
Ivan: I know. We just made great audio just then when I said, look at my dog.
Austin: Hey, visualize, folks?
Ivan: You give them a little teaser now they have to follow you on YouTube, right?
Austin: Now, they’re hooked.
Taylorr: That’s exactly right, like, subscribe, hit that thumbs up button for the algorithm, of course.
Ivan: We got you now, listener, we’re in your head, listener because we’re in your head now.
Austin: Oh, man, I’m so excited for this one.
Taylorr: Yeah, so, Ivan, we’re here to talk about presentations, and knowing you for a little while, the one thing I do know about you is you’re deeply passionate about removing boring presentations from the world. Why is that? Where did that all come from?
Ivan: Well, okay, man, if you guys are like me, here’s the thing, we’re all in the world of communication, right? See, I’m going to get sweaty now because I get all woked up, listen, you know what we don’t need anymore? Ideas, here’s the thing, every single car salesman and retired marketing person is now a professional speaker, and they give you all these ideas that just do not work, and the worst part is this, anyone listening, and you guys are the same way. If you’ve ever gone to do a public speaking training workshop, it’s usually boring and the person is not a good public speaker, but they’re telling you a bunch of stuff that they can’t do, I’m sorry, are my levels going up? I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
Taylorr: No, it’s fine, that’s what we got engineers for.
Ivan: It frustrated me to no end and people would say stuff like you really just have to engage your audience, make sure that you find your passion, and people use public speaking and motivational speaking interchangeably. But you, what does my passion have to do with this Excel sheet I have to report on or these sales figures or this chart, do you know what I’m saying? And so, they’ve worked in this disconnect, and here’s the thing that I found, if you think about it, all the stuff people tell us to do like professional speakers, people who actually do speak in the real world, none of them do it.
Let me ask you both, and listeners ask yourself this question, so Austin, Taylorr, who are the best, as a genre, who are the best public speakers in the world, what would people say normally?
Taylorr: They probably just rattle off the big dogs, like Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins [Cross-Talking 04:41].
Austin: Mel Robbins.
Taylorr: That type of environment, just because they’re top of mind.
Ivan: Yeah, they’re top, and some people say like Obama and that kind of stuff too, right?
Taylorr: Yeah, it depends on their sphere.
Ivan: When was the last time you had you and all your friends over to watch a good old Obama speech.
Austin: It’s been a while.
Ivan: Like, hey, you all want to come over and have a pizza and watch Simon Sinek? No that happens, dude that never happens. There’s one listener right now, send an email listener, actually, I sit there, and watch Obama speak, great, you’re one person, good for you. But here’s the thing, when I was researching communications, instead of going to those people, because those are tropes, right? Everyone uses the exact same examples, Simon Sinek, Steve Jobs, and Obama, that’s it.
When do we ever have to do a keynote internationally? Almost never, when are we speaking to the UN? Maybe one day we’ll see, but probably never, so instead I did this, think about this, who are the best public speakers in the world, I went and talked to professional wrestlers, think about that.
Ivan: I get on a microphone, and I got a work people up like 50,000 people daily, late-night talk show hosts, like they have to do it, stand-up comics, great, but then here’s the other thing I went and spoke to police interrogators, how do you know when someone is nervous? I spoke to professional poker players; how do you know when someone is bluffing? And what I tried to do is, I tried to take the things, those ideas, and here’s where it really changes, everyone teaches you ideas, Tony Robbins is like, just will sit there and talk to you for four days non-stop with all his ideas.
But no one gives you tactics like physical things you can practice, I have a friend who is a lawyer slash professional wrestler, I can’t tell you who he is, he wears masks and everything, but we watched professional wrestling and he would say, you see what he did just there? You see that little physical thing he did just there, you see that little moment, you see that little line he said, pointing out these little tactics that they use. And then I said, how can I use that when I have to talk about a, I have to give a financial update to my sales team? And I try and make physical tactics, yeah, yeah, anyway.
Austin: It’s a blend of the world.
Ivan: That’s a very longwinded answer, I know we only got half an hour, we’re so going over, and I apologize for it. Welcome to part one here, listener.
Taylorr: Yeah, it’s going to be a mega-series.
Austin: Yeah, well, there’s a ton to unpack there, I just love that this is a totally different take because you’re totally right, everything in this, okay, not everything I don’t mean over-generalize, but a lot of the things that people talk about in the space are kind of just the stuff you’ve been hearing forever. And we hear about this, we’re talking about the communication area right here, but this same principle applies in so many areas of probably just life, generally speaking, but certainly business where there are these tropes, as you put it, things that people just say and have become cliche and whether or not they even are true or they work people just keep talking about them.
But really, if you want to make a change, you want to improve in any one skill set or whatever you do need the specific things that you have to go implement, and people love that, people love to be told what they can do, that’s going to improve their stuff. So, I can see why you’ve been successful, what fifty thousand or a hundred thousand learners on your course on this?
Ivan: Yeah, on Coursera. Proper rated instructor.
Austin: That’s what I’m talking about.
Ivan: Well, and I’ll tell you another thing, so my company’s called Public Speaking Lab and I didn’t just choose the name because it sounded cool, okay, initially I chose the name because it sounded cool, right? But here’s the difference, and for the listeners, here’s how you know, if I can’t do it, why should I be teaching it? So, here’s how, when I teach, this is what I do, I actually talk maybe half the time, so here’s what I’ll, who’s your favorite Batman? Taylorr, who’s your favorite Batman?
Taylorr: I am not qualified to answer that question.
Ivan: Turn your microphone off and get out of here, Austin and [Cross-Talking 08:35].
Taylorr: Yeah, I know I’ve just have to admit, look…
Ivan: Really you don’t, you’re not into, okay. Austin, who’s your favorite Batman?
Austin: I grew up with the Christian Bale version, so I feel most connected to that.
Ivan: The correct answer is Adam West; I’m obviously way older than both of you, Adam West, 1970s Batman.
Austin: Yeah, 1970s Joker makes me laugh but.
Ivan: So, Batman’s got this utility belt, right? And if he tries the smoke button doesn’t work, he tries this other thing and he’s got so many if one thing doesn’t work it doesn’t matter, that’s what I do. I say here’s a tactic to open up your presentations, let’s try it together, and then I just, I say like, I’m going to demo it, now you do it in front of everyone. Great, and that’s one tactic, now here’s a tactic for transitioning, here’s a tactic for getting everyone’s attention when everyone’s talking in a room, let’s just try it and see what happens. That’s why I run workshops, instead of sitting there and telling people what to do, I give them a tactic and say, you show me.
Taylorr: So, can you give us an example of one of these tactics?
Ivan: Absolutely, I’m going to give you the clap reflex, okay?
Ivan: Okay, we’re slowly going back into the real world, right? Slowly, surely things are happening in the real world, let’s imagine you’re at a speaker’s conference for example, and the whole room, especially at a speaker’s conference, everyone’s trying to be super dynamic, right? Everyone’s like, hi everybody, I’m a professional speaker, and they’re all talking and how do you get their attention? Most people will get on the mic and be like, excuse me, Hey everyone, hello? And you’ll yell to try and calm them down. Instead, dear listeners and Taylorr and Austin, try the clap reflex, and here’s what the clap reflex is.
Go up to four people and be like, hey, guys, could you just start clapping with me real quick? And because you do this, the second you clapping, you will do this, oh, what’s happening? What’s happening? And you start clapping too, and you’ll look towards the front of the room and every time I want to get people’s attention, usually the person who’s going to introduce me if they’re like, hold on, try this and it works every single time. You will literally see people clap, finish their conversations and not have no idea why they’re clapping, they just, it’s just what we do naturally.
Taylorr: Wow, fascinating, I’m really excited to try that.
Ivan: And I challenge you to try it. And I literally do that in all my sessions and after I’m done people start using it and they’re shocked at how well it works.
Taylorr: So, here’s something for you, I feel like you might have an opinion on this.
Ivan: Yeah, my opinion?
Taylorr: How much of an exciting presentation? Yeah, I know Ivan with opinions, right? Crazy. So, how much of a good presentation is content versus just the delivery of the content? And there seems to be a spectrum of people who lean maybe really heavy on the content and put a lot of emphasis there, but obviously, maybe not so much on the delivery. So, what makes the presentation great?
Ivan: Well, one thing, Taylorr, I always say is in a world where more and more information can be accessed in seconds, how you deliver that information matters more and more. So, I think the skill that’s going to set people apart and ask yourself this, all the richest people you know, are probably good communicators, all the CEOs of companies aren’t necessarily the smartest guys, and they will tell you that. They just have a bunch of socially awkward engineers working in the basement.
I personally think, and this is my opinion of course, that the way we deliver information is going to be the skill that sets people apart in the future because everyone focuses on content, but here’s something I say, I use this thing called the lazy rule. I say because if you think about it reading isn’t natural. Yeah, If you think about it, we as a society, as a species have existed for maybe a million years, but reading has only been going on for like 10,000 years.
So, the mind does not know how to read yet, hasn’t adapted, hasn’t evolved for that, which is why, reading makes you sleepy because it requires so much energy, which is why if you ever go to the grocery store and you start to read the little signs to look for something, after the second aisle, you’re like, you know what? I’m just going to walk looking down.
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Ivan: Yes, because reading isn’t natural, therefore if you think about it that way, what is the point of putting a slide with all the information on it? None of us read it, listener, how many times have you said this to yourself, to your listener? Oh, if it’s important, I’ll just ask for the slides later and then you get the slides and they sit on your desktop for like a year and a half, and then you’re like, well I’m never going to read this.
Taylorr: I have a graveyard of eBooks and things that’s been sitting on my desktop for like 10 years, I totally resonate with that.
Ivan: Dude, all the PDF, eBooks I have, yes, and it’s like, maybe I’ll read that during Christmas break, and I’m like, I’m never going to read this.
Taylorr: Just how it goes, no, no way.
Ivan: Yeah, so that’s kind of where my opinion stands, I think that a good, one of the things I like to do is I show people a slide and I’ll talk and then I’ll turn the slide off, and by the way, everyone, if you’re ever using PowerPoint and you’re running the presentation and you want to get everyone’s attention. Hit the letter B and the whole screen turns black and you will see the whole room literally go from staring at the slide to looking at you, and then you got them back anyway.
So, I’ll play the slide and I’ll hit them with the B and then they’re all like, ah, and they look at me and I’m like, tell me one thing on that slide, and no one, sometimes people say the title and that’s about it because we all, none of us read it.
Taylorr: That’s fascinating, yeah, I never really thought of course reading is fairly unnatural, even though we’ve been doing it for 10,000 years, in the grand scheme of things; we’re just not built for it. And we talk about this pretty regularly, of course, because we weren’t just in this world it all boils down to storytelling, telling good stories, connecting with people, engaging with people, I think I knew that inherently, but I don’t think I had a lot of contexts for why like that is so powerful.
Ivan: Well, this is the problem is all these people giving you these generic ideas based on their own private little niche experience, oh, I was in sales for 20 years; oh, I did marketing, well, good for you, do something else too. So, here’s the other thing that I did, Taylorr, when I was researching and this is in the book, what is the neuroscience, what does the research say? And I know people talk about research, but most of them don’t actually read it because you can’t, reading research is super boring.
Austin: Like secondary research rather than primary research that happens, yeah, exactly.
Ivan: They listened to a podcast where someone said there was a study that said, and then they just regurgitate it but if you actually look at the research, right? I’ll give you one really great book, it’s called “The Organized Mind”, it was written by a neuroscientist named Daniel Levitin, who’s also a professor at Mcgill University and it’s all about decision-making. And he talked about how the brain has evolved to make decisions, and it was fascinating because here’s the thing, I first heard him on a podcast called The Motley Fool and he was saying, do you ever notice how people say buy low, sell high?
But actually, behavioral-wise we do the opposite because people freak out, oh, sell, and he was like, why do we know that decision is wrong? Let me give you another example, I wear white t-shirts a lot, and there are so many times where I’m like, well, I don’t need this white t-shirt, I don’t need this shirt, I’m going to buy it, but I don’t need it. I shouldn’t waste the money, and you have these fights to the point where if you didn’t buy that white t-shirt, you almost want to congratulate yourself and reward yourself like, whew, that was an.
Austin: I might go get a burger now.
Ivan: Oh, dude, don’t even get me started with food, but there’s a part of your brain called area 47 and area 47 does two things, it regulates dopamine, and it tries to predict what’s going to happen next, it’s an evolutionary mechanism. Well, here’s the thing, when you look at the research, this is an example of how the neuroscience translated into tactics works, and when you look at the research, when there is nothing to predict, I know exactly what is going to happen next.
You can see that part of the brain starts to shut down, because it’s not needed, and the release of dopamine goes down, you get bored, you stop listening, sort of like when all the information is on the slide, and you know exactly what this presentation is about. But when you have like, you’re like, wait a minute, what, why did you say that? What does this have to do with that? It is pumping dopamine into your brain to keep you alert, to make sure you know what’s going to happen, be prepared for what happens next.
Austin: So, we just had Chris Gray on our podcast a few weeks ago and freaking love that guy, but he was explaining how one of the best tactics they use in the retail environment is pattern disruption because it forces people to change their focus because it’s totally not what they were expecting.
Ivan: Yeah, that’s area 47, that’s exactly right.
Austin: That’s what I was just going to ask, interesting, wow, that’s just connected some dots for me there and probably for some of our listeners, so thanks for that.
Ivan: And let me translate it into a tactic for everybody. Here’s the concept, the concept is uncertainty equals interest. Prologues in books or movies, you’re like, how is this related to how Captain America gets born? And then halfway through the movie, you’re like, oh, that’s how, that’s a spike of dopamine; so, friends make statements or ask questions that seem unrelated to your topic, and then after a few sentences make the relationship.
Austin: Because they’re trying to solve that problem as you’re getting back to the point and kind of keeping that engagement, is that right?
Ivan: Exactly, so let me, like when I asked you about Batman, you guys were like what?
Austin: Yeah, exactly, that’s right.
Taylorr: Wow, that was so meta, dang it.
Austin: Wow, that amazing, yeah.
Ivan: I’m up here now, I’m right here, baby.
Austin: Alright, we have to shut the show down, alright.
Ivan: Go see a therapist; I’m in your head now, baby. You’re going to dream about me tonight, dream about me. But if you ever want a good example, another example of it, watch the Ted Talk, you’ve probably seen it with Matt Walker about sleep, he does a presentation, it’s a Ted Talk about sleep and everyone knows, everyone’s sitting there and you know that this is, like it says Matt Walker Sleep is a Superpower. Do you know what the first thing he says is? Good afternoon, everyone, I’d like to start with testicles, and everyone, the whole room is like what? Because you’re expecting [Cross-Talking 19:04].
Austin: Wow, add a disruption.
Ivan: Yeah, you’re expecting, hi, everyone, my name is Matt Walker. Today, I’d like to talk to you about sleep and its superpower, and here’s some of blah, blah. He does that, the whole room is like, what are you going to talk about? And I’m not even going to tell you how he relates it; you can watch it on your own.
Austin: Wow, I’m going to have to know because I’m fascinated by that, but, man, I feel like I’ve learned so much already, this is incredible, thank you for sharing some of these tactics too. I love that it’s so again, practical from what I was saying earlier, connecting the dots between these concepts and I feel like I intuitively am understanding as you’re explaining because I can see places in my life where that happens all the time. But like again, to your whole point, I’d love for you to maybe even unpack your thoughts on this phrase, but ideas are just ideas without tactics, that’s really resonating with me right now.
So, where did that come from specifically too? Where did you realize you had to connect these theories to something that people can actually do with?
Ivan: Yeah, so the whole idea of translating things into tactics was I did the Dale Carnegie Course, and I did the Dale Carnegie High Impact Presentation course, right? And the one question you guys probably get this all the time, what should I do with my hands? That happens all the time, right? And I was like every, no one had a good answer because no one actually could, well you just have to be, look confident, look relaxed, okay, but what should I do with my hands?
You just want to make sure you’re not too busy, you want to make sure you look comfortable, maybe put them here, maybe this, maybe that, so should I do that? And no one could give me a straight answer, so instead, when I was speaking to poker players and so our equivalent of the FBI is called the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. So, when I was speaking to those police interrogators, they actually look at physical gestures and I will tell you what those are in a moment. But then I got the idea of like, well, how could I translate confidence into a physical action?
Because I believe confidence is a physical action, I’m nervous talking to the two of you, I am, no, I really am, and this is more for the people watching the video version of this, I know I don’t look it, right? Man, I teach soft skills in finance and engineering, you don’t think that’s nerve-wracking, but I don’t let you see it because of certain physical tactics. And so, here’s, I’ll give you an example, there’s another great book by Janine Driver, I don’t know if you’ve heard of her; she’s a body language expert, but what she said is actually backed up when you look at some of the interrogation techniques.
When people are scared, when people are nervous, they will always cover up their most vulnerable parts, and once you see this, guys, you’ll always see it, look, this is great audio for everyone right now. This is great audio, but look, how often do you see this kind of stuff or this?
Taylorr: Yeah, it’s closed off.
Ivan: Yeah, or let me show you, hey, how often do you see this, look?
Austin: For sure, all the time, for the listeners, crossing arms over the chest, holding them sort of down in the pelvic area, that kind of thing.
Ivan: Covering my genitals.
Austin: Yes, thank you.
Ivan: So, Janine Driver calls it the belly button rule and it’s kind of like everything, like your middle part, your core, everything from your groin to your belly button, we will naturally cover that up when we’re scared or nervous. So, this one professional poker player I met said, one of the secrets is you don’t let your hands touch each other, and this is just one tactic, this is like, step one; so as an audience, for someone listening right now, if you want to practice your presentation, here’s what you do. Stand up or sit down whatever you’d like, but as you’re going through the presentation, the rule is your hands cannot touch each other and they can’t touch any part of your body, and what you’ll notice is people are like, what do I do?
And you just say, I don’t tell them, I say they can’t touch each other, and this is what happens, they start off like this, and then because it has to go somewhere, they just start having a variety, and that’s the secret guys. Do you ever notice how people say never cross your arms? Never put your hands in your pocket, but isn’t that just like normal?
Austin: They’re just chilling.
Ivan: Yeah, so it’s not that you do that, it’s that you only do that because the way you look confident physically isn’t one gesture, dude, this is when I quit Dale Carnegie when someone asked like, what should you do? And she’s like, just stand with your hands at your side, it’s like, you’re at a comfortable attention, and let me ask you something, how normal does this look?
Austin: I’ve never stood like that in my life, yeah, that’s not a natural position.
Ivan: And I was like, there’s have to be more to the equation. So, when people are talking, if you don’t let your hands come together, sooner or later, they have to do stuff and the secret to looking confident is not one hand motion. It’s not doing this, it’s not this, it’s not behind your back, it’s none of that shit, oh, so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.
Austin: No, we’ve got the explicit label, it’s fine.
Ivan: It’s the diversity of movements, watch a late-night talk show host, they cross their arms, put their hands in their pockets, they say, ah, but aren’t they, but they’re doing it in front of millions of people and people love it, and what you’ll notice is, it’s a diversity of physical actions that makes you look confident. Because if we were all chilling, having a drink, gang, before this, we were constantly moving, it’s only when you’re professional that you become static.
So, that’s an example as you were saying of translating an idea into a tactic and I have more and I basically in my workshops, I give them one physical tactic then I give them another physical tactic, and we do several until someone finds one and that people can apply all of them to look confident, and then I just say, try it in front of everyone.
Taylorr: Yeah, so here’s something that’s been ringing in the back of my head since we’ve started this conversation, we all have habits, right? So, that’s why you have the bell curve, right? Because the majority of people will fall into one area, right? It seems like the bell curve is boring, that’s the default, right? Because otherwise we’d have less of these conversations and maybe how do you make your presentations more boring instead of more exciting.
So, most presentations are boring, kind of, this is where the bell curve is at, so why is that? Why is that our default rather than being exciting? Why is it uncomfortable to be expressive? And yeah, why isn’t it more natural for us, do you think?
Ivan: So, yeah, and again, dude, I’m just some guy from the internet, right?
Austin: For sure, us too, so we’re just having an answering initiative.
Ivan: But with that being said, okay, here’s what I have found. This is the problem with ideas without tactics; again, I’m going back to the same concept because no one has shown us an alternative. So, here’s what, like for example, I will do a session with people, and I’ll show them a traditional slide or I’ll talk in a traditional way, and I say, how many of you are listening? And you’re like, no one, and we’re honest, I’m like, no one’s listening of course, but don’t you do the same thing.
And everyone’s like, yeah, but that’s what people want, I’m like, is that what you want? And they’re like, no, and I say why? And the big answer that comes up is because we don’t know what else to do. Everyone says the same thing, everyone teaches the same concepts, and no one teaches tactics, so you go and do these communications workshops and you’re like, Hmm, I’m a better communicator, and then you go back and you do the exact same stuff. And so, the reason is because no one shows alternatives or tactics, so you hear engage your audience, try to be engaging, yeah, well, no shit, that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past 20 years, I thought I was.
Taylorr: This is the whole job.
Ivan: Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is the thing, but so for example, you’ll see, let’s just talk about slides and you might see a chart and it might be a very simple chart and you’ll talk about that chart, but no one will listen to it. Why? Because they have no idea what part of the chart specifically, you’re talking about, but how else am I supposed to talk about it? You see, I’ve never gotten an answer from anyone, and I have done workshops with people who are speakers and they’re like what do you mean?
Well, how do I know what you’re talking about in the chart? And it’s because no one has taken these ideas of like get to the point, I thought I was, how do I get to the point? No one translated that, I think that’s why that bell curve is there, Taylorr, in all honesty, because no one has ever shown us an alternative to the same [Cross-Talking 27:29].
Taylorr: It’s probably more difficult too to get to the point too, right? To distill something, so like an idea down to this thing you will do will fix that problem. It takes a skill to be able to take an idea and I think bring it into something that’s repeatable like a tactic. So, have you found that to be true? How do you identify an idea and then turn it into a real tactic?
Ivan: So, one of the things I always say, and this is why I talk about that utility belt, because the whole idea, how do you take an idea and make it into a tactic? Well, here’s the thing, there’s no right way, Taylorr.
Ivan: The way I speak is not the way you speak, but let me give you some examples, all right. How many of you, have you ever heard of the Ig Nobels?
Ivan: No, the Ig Nobels are this beautiful ceremony that happens at Harvard every year where they recognize improbable science like it’s real science, but it’s ridiculous.
Taylorr: It’s interesting, I had never heard of this before.
Ivan: Oh my gosh, do yourselves a favor and watch some Ig Nobel, so they have the, and people who are literally the Nobel prize winners come and award you your Ig Nobel, it happens at Harvard every year, scientists from around the world come. It’s super weird, and it’s very nerdy, they have paper airplane competitions and people spend years designing the perfect, it’s insane, they also have something called the 24/7 challenge, where you have to explain a technical topic in 24 seconds and then in seven words. And when you watch the cleverness of those seven words, you’re like, oh, what is that it?
So, here’s a tactic, here’s how you get to that core message, one example, Taylorr, because you’re right, it’s hard to get to that, but instead of thinking of it as a skill, let’s think about it as a series of exercises we can do to find it. So, here’s the exercise, record your presentation, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20, whatever that is, okay, then cut the time in half, then cut the time in half, then cut the time in half.
And once you get to 30 seconds, you’re probably going to get to a core message, and then you say summarize it in like 10 words, don’t do that once, once you think you got those 10 words, do the whole thing again, and then you keep going until maybe you have three or four little 10 word summaries. Then you have those three different summaries that you can pepper throughout your presentation, or you might find that you took one and you kept tweaking it because every time you do the exercise it’s different. Yo, listen, Taylorr, what do you do for fun? Like physically.
Taylorr: Well, work on a car.
Ivan: Work on a car, okay, I was going a different direction, but I gotcha.
Taylorr: Oh, yeah, wait, like, workout, walk.
Ivan: No, no, no, it’s cool, no, no, cool, I’m just [Cross-Talking 30:22].
Taylorr: I like physical; I lifted a transmission out of a car the other day that was physical.
Ivan: I just had this image of like, Taylorr, beard, burly, sleeveless mechanic onesies, and just bare hands lifting the transmission.
Austin: That’s probably accurate, does that sound right, Taylorr?
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s about, right? Yeah.
Ivan: And Austin, what do you do like for fun?
Austin: I like to snowboard, that’s physical activity.
Ivan: The first time I, for example, had to change the oil on a car or take out an alternator and put an alternator back in, it looked pretty easy when I watched someone do it. The first time I had to snowboard, it’s like, the concept is very simple, but you have to do it physically over and over and over and over to get good at it, I always say it’s like Italian cooking. This concept of making the time slower and making 10 words, yo, that’s easy, the process is easy, but just like Italian cooking, Italian cooking is very simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy, you have to practice it over and over. So, this idea of like, for example, when you took out that transmission, the first time you did it, it might have taken you hours.
Taylorr: Yeah, it sucked.
Ivan: The last time it might have taken you minutes. So, you’ve built muscle memory, getting to a core message is not a skill, my friend, I think it can be learned, and one of the ways you do that exercise is by that cutting the time, cutting the time, 10 words, restart, cutting the time, cutting the time, cutting the time, 10 words, restart. Because that physical practice will make a new muscle memory that you’ll start always thinking in those 10 words, and then a year down the road, you’ll have a 20-minute presentation and you’ll just come up with the 10 words without even thinking about it.
Taylorr: Mm, man, I love that.
Austin: Because you go through it enough, it makes so much sense, we talk about this all the time, especially when we talk sales and marketing and stuff. You have to be out there talking enough before you refine your messaging enough before you’re going to get enough feedback to tell you that it’s going to work, right? You have to be out there practicing, and I feel like so much of the time and I find this to be true about myself, but I say it’s in my head, I can think about it that exists in the real world in my mind.
But it doesn’t until I physically do that over and over and over and over again, so I feel like you connected a dot there for me in just bringing something that’s not in the physical world. Yeah, totally.
Ivan: Can I give you a fun little and I’m so sorry, please, let me, if you want me to shut up just give me a subtle signal.
Austin: Keep going, you’re good, go for it, go for it.
Ivan: Just do this really subtlety if you want me to shut up, but can I tell a very interesting sales lesson I learned from a professional wrestler?
Taylorr: Of course.
Ivan: So, here’s the, I don’t know how, for the listening audience there are faces and there are heels, okay, faces are the good guys, heels are the bad guys in professional wrestling. So, when I was learning about professional wrestling from a friend, here’s one of the things they discovered in professional wrestling that is a fundamental truth. It is a fundamental truth, when they started out, they would introduce good guys, and half the time the good guys would get booed, like the cowboy with the white hat, and people would be like, you suck, it was nearly impossible to make everyone like somebody, but it was very easy to make someone hate somebody.
So, you know what they started doing wrestling? And to this day, this is what happens, someone goes out into the middle of the ring and they’re like, you, people are disgusting, look at you animals and people get, raah, they hate him, they hate him, literally anyone else who comes out and fights them, they love. How does that translate into sales? It is impossible to get new people to like an idea, but it’s very easy to make them dislike something.
Austin: Dislike an idea.
Ivan: So, here’s what the smart salespeople do, and the restaurant industry does this a lot, give a couple of options, each option has pros and cons, however, option one; only one pro lots of cons; option two, couple of pros, lots of cons; option three, lots of pros, almost no cons. You decide, I’m not selling you anything, please, you decide, so you make the first ideas villains, and then whatever you present, as an alternative, people are much more likely to adopt.
When you go to a restaurant my friends, and they say, here are the wine specials, and there’s a super expensive bottle, a medium bottle, and a super cheap bottle, you’ve heard this before, right? All the time, the reason is though, is because you’re making those alternatives undesirable, and so I have no choice, but to pick the middle one and that’s professional wrestling, baby, I’m telling you.
Austin: Man, I had no idea [Cross-Talking 35:07].
Taylorr: It’s crazy, how much.
Austin: There is so much going into that behind the scenes like you just [Cross-Talking 35:10].
Taylorr: A whole different conversation.
Austin: A bunch of sweaty dudes fighting each other, but no, no, no, no.
Taylorr: It’s so much, yeah.
Ivan: This is why I went, and researched neuroscience and I went to professional wrestlers and interrogators and buskers like buskers. Think about it, how do you make someone stop, take out their earbuds, and for 20-minutes, watch you? Think about that, we don’t think about those people as professional communicators, but they actually do it, they don’t talk about it, they do it. God, I’m getting all sweaty, I’m so sorry, guys like I get [Cross-Talking 35:43].
Taylorr: And that is just, I think the perfect point to segue out of this thing, Ivan, this has been incredibly tactical, helpful, I think you’ve transformed my thinking; I’ll let Austin speak for himself on certain subjects we all can agree on. And this was great, because like, we just get to learn from awesome people like you, thanks again for coming on.
Ivan: Flattery will get you everywhere.
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s right. I know, thank you, that’s why I’m here honestly.
Ivan: And to the listening audience, let’s send some emails to these guys.
Taylorr: That’s pretty much it.
Ivan: I’m not letting it end.
Taylorr: I just flatter everybody that’s it, I’m just kidding, I don’t have a track record of flattery.
Ivan: Listening audience, make sure to send some emails and congratulate these two for the hard work they’re doing for you. If you have not sent an email, I’m asking you right now, send them an email, compliment them on their beards, whatever it takes so that they keep going, okay.
Taylorr: Please, yeah, just [Cross-Talking 36:30].
Ivan: Ivan demanded that I send you an email; therefore, I am sending you an email. I demand you do this for me.
Taylorr: We are about to get flooded and this is going to be there forever, so Ivan, thank you so much for coming on the show, man. Hey, before we let you go, what are you working on right now that our listeners can get some benefit from?
Ivan: Yeah, well, if anyone is interested in reading my book it’s called “End Boring: A Tactical Approach to Public Speaking” and it’s literally, it’s not a book you read from front to back, it’s like, I need to figure out how to transition between ideas, well, here are five ways to do it in the book and available at Amazon and internationally. And if you want to take some online courses, basically publicspeakinglab.com, and go to the connect page, I have all my book, all my courses there, Course, Udemy, Skillshare, on Skillshare, I just published a video series about how to engage people virtually.
Next time you’re in a meeting virtually what can you do to make sure no one’s just checking their email the whole time and that’s on Skillshare, publicspeakinglab.com/connect.
Taylorr: Awesome, well, Ivan, thank you so much for coming on the show, we’ll make sure all of those links are in the show notes.
Ivan: Thank you, guys, for giving me this opportunity.
Taylorr: Go check that out, yeah, totally, and hey, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it, if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.
Ivan: Send the emails.
Taylorr: 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 SpeakerFlow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcasts 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.
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