Today, we’re talking with presentation skills expert Rich Mulholland.
Rich is a long-time friend of ours at SpeakerFlow and hands-down the BEST presentation coach we’ve ever worked with.
He has an incredibly refreshing take and what it means to deliver kick-ass presentations and how to slay the boredom of your audience members – the #1 thing killing your presentations.
Rich discusses with us the missing link in all of your presentation and it might not be what you’re expecting.
Let’s dive in!
Watch the Podcast 👀
Listen to the Podcast 🎤
Show Notes 📓
✅ Interested in learning more about Rich’s Story to Stage program? Visit storytostage.co
✅ Get Rich’s Action Framework to make your presentations kick-ass: https://youtu.be/AwSLgLdPEgQ
🎤 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. We’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin, and today, we are talking with presentation skills expert Rich Mulholland. Rich is a longtime friend of ours at SpeakerFlow and hands-down the best presentation coach we have ever worked with. Yes, I am being dead serious. He has an incredibly refreshing take on what it means to deliver kick-ass presentations and how to slay the boredom of your audience members, the number one thing killing your presentations. Rich discusses with us the missing link in all of your presentations, and it might not be what you’re expecting. So let’s dive in. As always stick around until the end for some awesome resources, and we hope you enjoy this one. And we are live! Rich, man, welcome to the show. It’s so great to have you here today, man.
Rich: Taylorr, Austin, it’s just so rad to be with both of you.
Austin: Oh man, you know, I’ve been excited for this one ever since I first saw the website. I know that you and Taylor had been able to connect in the past, but you have such a cool brand. I am such a big fan of the graphics and the colors and everything that you use. So from, you know, SpeakerFlow – we’re obviously, like, big into, you know, bright colors and cool, colorful, modern things – and you had some graphics on your website of, you know, like the “rock on” symbol and, um, anyways, a few other things that stood out. I was like, “Wow, this guy is really awesome.” So right out of the gates, for those of you that haven’t seen Rich’s website before, do some Googling and go check it out. It’ll blow your mind. It’s a site to be modeled after.
Rich: Thank you so much. And you know, it’s funny. ‘Cause now we sometimes feel like – I even argue with my team that I think we’ve become too corporate. Like, “God, what are we, what are we becoming? We’re getting so grown up.” We used to have a big – It said on the website, it said “Any asshole can put together a presentation. We’re in business because so many assholes do.” That was like our… Then it changed and my other favorite one was “Don’t hire us because we’re fun and interesting. Hire us because you’re not.” That was our opening line on the website.
Taylorr: Nice. It’s attracting the right clients, you know? He’s got to appeal to the right people.
Rich: Certainly. Best versus favorite, right? If you want to be somebody’s favorite, you’ve got to be willing to be somebody else’s worst, and I realized long ago that I’d rather be favorite than best. I actually do think we’re, like, amongst the best, but it’s a, it’s, it’s a, it’s a crappy point of differentiation. And there’s even a kind of story around our “Welcome to” chat for why we’re trying to go for cheeky irreverence, even though we sell to corporate CEOs.
Austin: I’d be curious to hear about that. [cross-talk 02:00] Do you have, like, immediate thoughts?
Rich: Can I jump straight into that then? Should we just go straight there?
Taylorr: Yeah, sure.
Rich: So what happened is when I started, we were in the business side – so I’m 46 now. I started it when I was 22. So I was in shorts, T-shirt, tattoos going into big corporate offices, and the very quick backstory was that I came from rock and roll. I was working on conferences and the off season for big for corporates because people weren’t going to conference – concerts at that time. And it didn’t matter how good the lighting was that I put in. If the presentations were bad, it was bad. And the, you know, the presentations were great and there wasn’t much lighting, it was still great. So I realized I was fixing the wrong problem. So I would go in and I would try and quote these guys a lot of money to do their presentations. The problem was that they had people – their assistants – could make presentations, you know, they would make 10 presentations a month for the cost that I would be trying to charge them for one. And I thought, “Wow, like they’re… they’re not paying this. They’re not buying the deck. What they’re buying is not looking crappy in front of other humans. So they’re so scared of being bored that what they’re actually buying from us is a solution to looking boring on a stage.”
And at that point, I thought, “Well, if that’s the case, then I need to not present ourselves as like a corporate, because then we’d look like – and again, I used to wear a suit and tie every day. When I wore a suit and tie – I was a 20 year old in a suit and tie – I looked like an intern. When I was arriving in their office in shorts and a t-shirt, then I looked like a creative, different person, and so we built our entire business around the idea of being boredom slayers, which is actually the name of my presentation book, because I said to them, “If you are boring – and the opposite of boring isn’t ‘wacky.’ It’s ‘memorable.’ If your content is boring, then your audience will fall asleep, and you know, you will look like the guy who bored them to death for an hour.” And I would play to how they looked.
We are the opposite to that. So like we had a stretch limousine that we used to send to their office to pick them up. And I had flames down the side of it and I would drive them to my office and our chauffeur would talk to them about presentation training. And by the time they walked out, they felt like rockstars and our whole office had this crazy vibe. And so we try to – the whole thing was “You can’t be boring. We need to be the antidote to bad, boring presentations.” So that’s where the brand came from. It’s not just cheeky irreverence. There’s actually some thinking behind it.
Austin: Yeah, well, it’s like the cheeky irreverence is sort of a tool in the tool belt that sort of just, you know, gives you the ultimate outcome of not being boring, which I think makes total sense. I think it’s less intimidating for somebody that might be afraid of it, too. Like I think there’s some people, like, you know – they don’t want to destroy a very professional, clean-cut image or something like that, or feel like they need to sort of mold themselves to what people will like to hear them say. But I – that’s not something that stands out. That’s not what makes you memorable, you know? And I’m sure there’s a balance between those two things, right? I’m actually curious from your angle. What does that balance maybe look like?
Rich: Right – but also just to your point about the intimidation – we’re a lot more approachable. So imagine you’re a young executive and there’s these McKinsey level suits-and-tie people telling you how to present and what’s going on and things like this. For us, we’re just – we were completely non-competitive to them. When we tell them, “Hey, we think you should present this way, or you should do this,” nobody ever gets offended and nobody ever feels like somebody’s shooting outside the, you know, “Hey, you shouldn’t tell me that. I’m the CEO, and you’re only this.” I had a call with the CEO of a global law firm this morning that we were working on, and right after this, I’m doing one with the big insurance company, and they’re completely unintimidated by us because we’re just, we’re just so easy to deal with and we make it such a relaxing thing and our whole look plays into that. When we started taking ourselves too seriously when I was wearing the suit and tie again, they looked at me like – a CEO only knows one way to look at a 22 year old in a suit, right? And that is like, “You’re a graduate or an intern.” And so that was a terrible mindset. I had to separate myself from where they knew.
On the balance, it’s tricky and different customers will have different levels of where they’ll accept that. What I realized is that I was willing to be somebody’s “no.” I was very willing to be like, “Well, if this isn’t right for you, if we’re too much on the wacky crazy side for you, then that’s okay. The people in the market for boring are spoiled for choice.” Right? There is a thousand presentation companies that will talk to you in the right way, show up and talk to you about your body language and, you know, what the word you use are only worth 7% – rubbish like that. Moravian myth bullshit. Sorry, I don’t know if we’re allowed to say that.
Taylorr: For sure. You’re welcome to. I’m glad you brought all of that up. Like, it’s the authenticity, and, like, when you show up as another human being, like, it just levels the playing field. There’s no, like, looking down upon or feeling like somebody is looking down on you with a suit and tie dilemma, right? Like you’re just an approachable human being. We found a lot of that success here at SpeakerFlow. I mean, Austin and I are just a couple of scruffy dudes with beards and an extremely colorful website and a cat at the bottom of our website, making a ridiculous pun, you know? And it’s those little things that make you super approachable and make people feel comfortable, I think, and really kind of shakes things up.
Rich: Okay. Well, first of all, you and Austin are gorgeous men with beer, okay? [cross-talk 07:19] That’s not just on the front, but I got to say literally the first thing that attracted us to you guys, when I started stalking you to the back door with my Gmail address was “Wow. These guys speak and think and act like us. They’ve got a bit of attitude.” There’s, you know, I loved it. It was like a kindred spirit across the ocean, and I love the fact that you’re unapologetically yourself. Like it’s so clear, which is the first thing all of us – I’m sure all three of us – teach speakers is you have to be the best version of yourself.
I realized years ago as a speaker, I could never go to any – when people say, “Know your audience,” how? What do you – how am I supposed to do that? I don’t know. I mean, we don’t, I don’t even know now. I don’t know what you identify as, I don’t know what I’m saying. Like this is literally the world we live in. I can’t understand the identity of my audience. What I can know is that I’m the best version of myself in every room. So – and that’s not a statement of arrogance, simply a statement effect. So if I can find a way to bring my audience to where I live and be an amplified version of my authentic self, that will resonate with some humans. I can get away with it a lot. I can get away with saying a swear word here and doing different things just because they realize it’s just me being myself and I don’t mean offense to anybody. And that’s given me a lot of permission to spread the word about our business using, like, stage marketing, which I think is the most underutilized superpower that entrepreneurs have.
Austin: Yeah, I agree with that. I mean, we see the results of that for one thing, but I love that on a unapologetic authenticity that you’re just talking about. I – I don’t know, like I – I made a commitment to myself a long time ago that I was never going to sacrifice the person that I know that I am to be somebody that somebody else wants me to be. Like, I’m not going to make that trade off. It was the thing that drove me to start a business because I was not somebody that easily played well in other people’s sandboxes. Like, I needed to have my own sandbox, and I think that for some people, that’s a turnoff in some ways. Like, I know not everybody loves us. I’ve got a giant poster in the background that I have sometimes, says “Get Shit Done.” And that turns some people off. We’ve had people not be super happy about that, and like, that’s okay. Like, to your point, right? Like we will be some people’s favorites and we will be some people’s… okay, not favorites, and that’s fine. That’s okay. We don’t need to be for everybody.
Taylorr: Big world out there.
Rich: Well, you can’t be. If you want to – if you start trying to be for everybody, then you start aggregating to the average. So then you’ve decided to be decidedly average, because you’re not stepping out at all and nothing about you, as a business, is average. And – so years ago, my business coach, an old German guy, Will Forcett – We had a customer who walked into our – so our old, old office? Our receptionist was a blow up doll. We were very young and we’d put a microphone so that when they walked in, it would say, just say, “Hello, who are you here to see?” And we thought it was hilarious, and we had a – we had a talking – that we would sit below them and speak – “Get out of here. Get out of here now. Get out before they catch you.”
But, so we had this one lady walk in – and she was from a big IT firm – and she walked in and she literally – as I met her at the door – she said, “This is not for me.” And she walked out the office again, and I chased her and then I’d met my business, and she wouldn’t come back and I was so upset and met my business coach that afternoon. And he said, “Why are you upset?” It’s this German guy: “Why are you upset?” [in German accent] And I said, “I don’t know, because she, she didn’t even give us a chance.” He said, “You’ve learned, well, that customer would have been a nightmare. You would have been apologizing for weeks and months, trying to be what she needs you to be. She gave you a gift of walking out your door. She’s not going to love dealing with you. It’s okay. Like, let her go and thank her. Send her a message, thanking her for knowing what she wants in a customer.” And I did, and that was it. I thought – I wish it was one of those cool stories where she came back, but she never did, and that’s okay. I hope she’s happy.
Rich: But it would have been a nightmare dealing with her. If I had to try to be, “Hi there. Hi. How are you? Lovely to see you. So nice…” [cross-talk 11:24]
Taylorr: Let’s have a talking moose and a blow-up doll for a receptionist. Oh my goodness. What a story, man. [cross-talk 11:30]
Rich: Our receptionist and toilets. And so we have – we had toilet seats as our reception chairs with magazines in the back, and as a funniest aside, the men had no problem. They would walk in, they would take a seat, they would pull out a magazine, and they would read sitting on a toilet. In the history of my business, not a single woman would take a seat. It’s a public toilet sitting in a reception here. They’re like, “I’ll stand.”
Austin: Okay. Wow.
Rich: We’re way more mature now.
Taylorr: Well, you live and you learn, I guess, but I mean, it just goes to show you, I mean, you can still get anywhere you want to be when you’re 100% yourself. And I feel like a lot of this world of speaking and experts and getting on stage and so on can be – I mean, honestly, there’s a lot of pressure to feel like the average, because you want to appeal to everybody. You want to grow your business. And I think what some people forget to realize that, if you really stand out, you’re still going to grow your business. You’re just going to find the right people that’s perfect for you to work with, and it’s going to make your life – and your profession – just so much easier. You’re going to be way more happy working with your – the people who resonate with you best. So I love that story. I’m curious, Rich, so your brand is “The Missing Link” without the vowels. So, like, what is the missing link exactly? Is that boredom? Is that – is that the missing link for stagecraft? How did you land on that brand and where did that come from?
Rich: Yeah, so “The Missing Link” without the vowels is actually just because we couldn’t get the Twitter handle…
Taylorr: Yeah, I figured.
Rich: We’ve been “Missing Link,” so even if our email address is “missing link dot” [inaudible 12:59] and we do – what I will say is a complete aside. The biggest single misstep I made as a, as a leader of a business was changing the domain to MSNGLNk.com. It’s just crappy and difficult and hard for people to find, and everyone says, “Is it missing an –” We are Missing Link. Our company’s Missing Link. It has vowels. It’s just – we couldn’t get the – I’m not trying to pay a fortune to snipe bits and – I’ve had to, you know, we’ve created these, “I need missing link.com addresses” funny enough to give out on podcasts and things just because trying to spell something is terrible.
Missing Link – I spoke about the idea of literally the missing link between your message that you want to deliver and your audience acting on it because I think that’s what everyone does miss. They think it’s about creating beautiful decks, and look – for years, we made money doing that component. We have designers and things and I get it, but you write a good talk before you design it, before you deliver it. And a presentation’s job is to deliver a message to achieve a result, and most people miss the link between those two things. They think that they’re in the business of showing up and throwing up, just delivering a message, but they’re not. It’s only successful – you only get to check the “success box” – if the audience has changed, not if you just delivered your information, at least that’s, that’s our take on it. I’m not saying, you know – this isn’t the world, according to Richard – but that’s the belief system that we’ve decided to go to market with. And that’s where Missing Links came from.
Austin: That makes sense. So are those components that you talked about there how you would define a kick-ass presenter? Somebody that understands those steps that somebody needs to take in order to get the outcome?
Rich: Yes. So, I mean – I have – again, I have some presenters that I think are – my favorite speaker to watch is Malcolm Gladwell. I love it while I’m in the room, but I always forget what he told me afterwards. Like, I think he’s a – it’s beautiful theater to watch, but then there are other speakers who are not good – typical, good presenters. Like Derek Thompson? His talk at Google – no slides, standing behind the thing, geeky, too much information, shouldn’t work. Absolutely should not work. Life-changing. Brilliant, like a brilliant talk, and I thought like, “Wow.” Like, I’m constantly frustrated.
I watched a talk the other day, and I nearly turned it off. The guy – you know, when they share their screen, but they’re sharing their PowerPoint, but it’s still got you see, still see their – And then they go into “show mode” and I was like, “Oh, this guy’s not even trying.” He wasn’t even going to show mode. I could still see his slides down the side. And then he delivered a presentation – His name’s… uh… I’m trying to remember is… he’s got this site that teaches people to be better humans. And he was a 35 minute keynote, and I felt like a different human being when you finished. And I thought, “Wow, okay, I’ve got to break my rules.” And then I realized he did follow the rules. He gave me a reason to care at the beginning. Then he gave me a reason to believe. Then he told me what I needed to know. And then he told me what I needed to do.
Like that’s the formula, and it can be improved. We can, we can add to that cake some beautiful icing, but it doesn’t matter how much icing you put on a bad cake. Like then, then you’re not going to shift your audience. So, while I love watching beautiful speakers delivering amazingly crafted content, I also realized that the most effective presenter is the one who understands what they’re trying to get out of it and engineers towards that.
Taylorr: Nice. So I’ve – you know – Obviously we want to deliver results on stage, right? And there’s a disconnect between actually the message and then delivering results. How do we know like when an – when we’ve delivered those results? How do we know, like, as a presenter, when we’re on stage and we’re thinking about the message we just delivered – we might be convinced that our model, our way of thinking is going to change the audience – but how do we actually confirm that that is resulting in an outcome? Do have any tips or ideas around that?
Rich: So, as a speaker or as a corporate presenter? What would you…
Austin: Well, can you actually – do you want to make a distinction there for me? I’d be curious to hear about how you split those up.
Rich: So we have two primary client groups. The one would be public speakers. Now they have two mandates. They have their own mandates, and then they have the second mandate, which is what the client hired them for, so the behavior change of the audience that the customer wanted them to make. So I’ve got one speaker we work with – I think I’ve actually introduced him to you guys ‘cause he’s coming to the US – Nick Hernandez – and his job and his victory condition is “I want you to make curiosity a core value of your business.” Okay? So that’s what he wants to do. So his measurement criteria – and if they make curiosity a core, a core… value of their business – he’ll come and do a talk to all their staff for free. So he’ll speak to the leadership team. He’ll do that, and of course, all he’s doing is he’s seeding his thinking further into the organization.
So it’s a very clear mandate, and that’s what he says to the customer going in. “This is what I’m trying to achieve, and I want to –” and like this trusty idea. However, his second idea is that he wants to get people onto his email address and onto his database. So just before the perforation of his talk just before he starts building to the end – So I personally don’t like when the last thing a speaker says is, “Oh, and if you want a copy of my deck…” I’ll do that. That might say something like, “All right. So we’re getting to the end of my presentation. We’re nearly done with our time together. If you do want any of the slides, feel free to grab it from here, but let’s talk about where we’re going. Let’s talk about where I want to leave you today.” And then I start my payroll ration on my bills, and then I do the, “for them” stuff.
Now in a corporate speaker – if we’re working with a leader of, you know, the HR, who’s trying to instill a new management program – we talk about the first smallest step. So the job of the presentation isn’t to achieve the final victory condition. It’s to get the audience to take the first smallest step in the direction of where that victory looks, and we try do something that’s measurable. “Send an email to a line manager,” or “Send a message to your team.” “Schedule a presentation.” You know, we’re going to give you the slides – “Schedule a presentation to your team for next week, and invite everybody to come in, and do that talk.” Their smallest and most logical step that’s getting them closer. That, to me, is how I would measure that victory. And we try and make it something measurable for the business, because that’s how we show our success.
We will say “You had a hundred leaders in the room” – so we usually try and work on a 10% success rate. “If I can get 10% of your leaders to do X, how much would that be worth to your business?” Then they do that. Then our fee always sounds small, and then, what we try and measure is that we’ve done more than 10%. You know, “25% of your people had shadowed these appointments. This is, you know, two and a half times what we said. So we see this job as being a great success.”
Rich: Short question, long answer. Sorry. [cross-talk 19:52]
Taylorr: It wasn’t a long answer. It was… it was succinct. And it was to the point – you had so many golden nuggets in there. I mean, I – I’m, it makes a lot of sense, too, and one of the things I just want to highlight for our audience here – and of course, Rich, your audience who might be listening to this – is like the way you ask that question is like, “What would – what would this do for your business if 10% of your leaders change as a result of this or 10% of your audience change?” They now have a value associated with the change that you’re about to bring that’s in their mind. And then you give them the fee and they immediately see the value, right? From the fee, rather than trying to equate the 10, 15, 25 – whatever the fee range is to the actual value you’re providing – and then you can back it up afterwards, which I’m sure will lead to further engagements and a deeper relationship with that client as well. So, I mean, just a golden nugget there for everybody. If you can establish your value in your client’s minds in a different way before presenting your fee, it’s an incredible way to make sure you’re locking in your fee the entire time.
One of the, one of the things that’s ringing in my head though – and we just had to talk about this just because of the nature of the beast right now – the rise in the virtual, in the hybrid world. How has that changed people’s presenting styles? I mean, we see everything from, like, focusing way too much just on like the tech that’s in front of you virtually or people having to adapt their keynotes to a virtual environment. Like, how has this virtual/hybrid world changed how people need to be kick-ass in their presentations, and how can we differentiate ourselves from, I guess, the rest?
Rich: Well, so I think there was, there was… a learning period time where we had to try and figure everything out, right? We all had to – and it was actually why we came out the gates so quickly. Our company, our country went into “State of Disaster” on the 15th of March . That day, I wrote an article in LinkedIn that said, “If you cancel your conference, I don’t respect you. Put it online? Great. But cancel it? No, because your people need more vocal leadership than ever before.” We decided to come straight out of the gates at the – on the 24th, I ran an event called “How To…” what’s called “How To Rocket Desktop Conferencing.” I even wanted to call it something different just to try and do this thing. The difference – This was a talk where I was going to share everything you needed to know about how to score a kick-ass webinar. What I didn’t tell anyone that it was literally the first time I’d ever presented online in my life. Luckily –
Taylorr: Wow, incredible.
Rich: I had no idea what I was doing. Literally nothing. At that point – I still – we had to see my next slide because I think that, I think the God particle of great presenting is segues, knowing what your next slide is, you know? So if I’m going to be presenting here, if I want to do it, I want to, you know – for those who are watching or if somebody sees the video elements of this thing – I might want to tee this up and say, “This reminds me of a story. When I was with Jeff Bezos at Ted, and this thing happened, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I want to know what, you know, where my slides are going. Anyway, luckily, at the beginning – sorry, I had this all with Post-It notes – I needed an audience. So, because I was presenting on Crowdcast, a webinar platform, I had my audience, my staff on my phone on Zoom.
So I just told my jokes to the screen and they were just told I’d sit and laugh. If I say something funny, laugh at me. And they were like, “Hahahaha,” and that was the whole time. But then I realized I didn’t need it. The realization for me was this was the best thing that ever happened to presentation trainers because a year and a half ago, if I went to people, we sold them, you know, all the elements of a conference design and everything like this. And I said to them, “Do you need training?” They would give me that sudden, you know, “I’ve been training, I’ve been doing presentations since you were in nappies.” You know, “I know how to do this.” And my answer to them is always, you know, “That’s quite funny because I’ve been typing since high school, and I’m still terrible. The frequency of doing something in no way equates to its improvement, unless you’re actively trying to improve. And if you’re saying no to training, well, then you’re not actively trying to improve.”
That usually makes them not like me, but anyway, all of a sudden, they all said “yes,” because nobody knew what they were doing when presenting online. And even though I was only a three out of 10, in my knowledge, in a world of people who were one out of 10, I was the king. And so we just try to stay one step ahead of everybody. So, in the beginning, it was all about technology using different slides, trying to do fancy things, you know, trying to get everything working and making it all and making us look like we knew what was going on. As we get more into this now, you know, the dust is definitely settled. We certainly need to be finding better ways to differentiate ourselves. And I think what I’m seeing is people are doing things with technology where they’re going so far beyond Goldilocks. So they had a camera. Then they had a DSLR camera, and now they’ve got three DSLR cameras and they got three screens and they’ve got everything and I’m thinking, “I don’t know if we need that. I don’t know how many camera angles we need as a speaker. Maybe there’s other ways.” And the problem is you’re all looking the same.
So I do think we need to be trying to find other ways to differentiate in this regard, and one way I’m trying to do is to change the environment and go back to my roots. I’m trying to get some lighting design in, but actual moving lights and things like that. But, even then, I understand that’s novelty and not utility. So, ultimately, my biggest differentiation will always be my content.
Austin: Yeah. Well, that makes sense. And I mean, that resonates with – even before the virtual world, right? Everybody always said that it doesn’t matter how good your slides are. Your content and the way you deliver it on stage is vastly more important than all the bells and whistles, and that’s still certainly true today. However, I do think that there’s a magic, sort of, that can be created in the virtual world because you’re – you can do things that people don’t expect. Like, so for those of you that were listening, just a moment ago – Rich, I’m not sure if you’re using something like OBS or ECamm Live or something. What is it?
Austin: Prezi? Got it. Yeah. That’s – that’s cool. The second or third time I’ve heard that the last couple of weeks, but anyway – it was bringing up slides onto the screen with the camera and being able to play sound effects or things like that, that can sort of add some spice to the actual content itself and get people re-engaged or – I think that’s, that’s important. It’s cool. And for a lot of people that may just be in the audience of a presentation, there’s people that have never even seen that stuff before, and so I think that it can be a cool differentiation. There just has to be that balance, right?
Rich: Yeah, if I can add one thing in there as well, for all of us as professionals. Something that we must remember is – so I run a public speaking program and everybody on my program uses Prezi and we all know it. And then I kind of think, “God, this is all ho-hum. Everybody’s seen it.” And then I realize every time I do this to an audience what’s big in my world isn’t big in their world. You know? They’re innovating in a whole different platform. So I’m a little bit bored of presenting like this, my slides coming up. I don’t give it a second thought, but if it’s – if I’m presenting in a Zoom screen like this, I actually see people’s eyes go like, “What?” And we try, you know – what it’s changed for me is that we now think in terms of “scenes” and, you know, not in terms of like, “If I have this, this one was quite fun.” We think in terms of scenes instead of thinking in terms of slides, and trying to change our mindset around “How can we use the whole space?” Even when I get bored of it, I remember that my audience isn’t. It’s the first time they’ve seen it. So it is worth, as professionals, that we remember that.
Austin: Yeah, I like that. So this is a question I’ve been wanting to ask you since I saw this on your website. You talk about the “Action Framework” as it relates to your “Boredom Slayer” series. You know, I’m not asking you to give the secret sauce away here, but can you help us understand what that action framework is?
Rich: Yeah. So I kind of alluded to a few minutes ago, and I give this away – everyone, I’ve done a whole YouTube series on this. Like I totally – I believe that the world needs an open standard for presentations. I – and you know, it’s the first thing I said to you guys when I reached out on mail as well: This is a co-operative sport. The supply, or the demand of bad presentations way outweighs the supply of people who want to change that. We could all work together and collaborate, and we’d still have more clients than you could check a hat at. So I want to make an easier framework for human beings to understand the basic building blocks of a presentation. I’m not saying it’s the only one. I’m saying that it’s wonderful. Always try and drive an audience to action. We all love the rule of threes, and we try and make things come in threes.
My problem was all of these, you know – “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them. Logos, pathos, ethos.” – Like that’s missing argos for me: action. It’s not – this only matters if the framework drives them to action. And that’s why we added on a fourth step, and it’s all about what the audience does. The four steps – There’s the “give” steps and then the “tell” steps. The two give steps are, “Give them a reason to care.” You’ve got to buy your audience – So let me go to all four and then I’ll give you a little bit of – I’m happy to answer any questions on any of them.
“Give them a reason to care. Give them a reason to believe. Tell them what they need to know. Tell them what they need to do it.” The first two you’re giving it gently. I’m making you care. I’m creating an itch. Then, I’m making you trust me for what you now care about. That’s something people often get wrong – They opened with credentials. You’re telling me your credentials, but I don’t know why I’m interested in them yet. And then it’s my legacy list, my three big things you need to know in order to do this. So that’s the “Tell them what they need to know.” Now I’ve got my – now, you care and I’m credible. Now, I’m telling you, “You need to do this: 1, 2, 3,” and that bit of information. And, finally, my call to action: “Tell them what they need to do.” And that is where I end my presentation on driving an audience towards an action.
Even you know, what we call “the double up,” the closing two lines of – closing towards the presentation. Most people will end and they’ll say – they’ll do their bills and everything – and then they’ll say, “And that’s what I want you to do. Thank you.” I’m like, “No, no.” Like I want to drive them to action. So go out there. You can take advantage of all these stages in the world today. Build up towards a sink. So I want you to book that appointment with your staff, get in front of the next week and go out there and lead loud. I want to drive my final words to be an action for my audience.
Austin: That’s so good.
Taylorr: Yeah. Oh man. Rich, you are an incredible human being, man. This is been such a jam packed episode. I feel like I’m going to have to, like, listen to this in post and just take notes for a while, and then just, like, send that back to you and make sure I got that all right. Guys, this episode is so full of incredible information. Listen to this thing, two or three times, take some notes. Seriously, internalize this stuff. Rich, you are an awesome human being. Thanks so much for coming on the show today. As you know, we’re all about creating value – as you’ve done so well today in this episode – I’d love to pay that back. What are some of the things that you’re working on right now that our listeners can benefit from?
Rich: First thing, if you would like to get the “Action Framework,” please definitely go check out my YouTube channel, “RichMulhollandTV,” or “Rich Mullholland” on YouTube. I would appreciate that. We’ve got to go to playlist there on the “Action Framework,” which you can go through in detail. There’s some value there. Leave any questions that you have in the comments, and I’ll answer those. So that would be one.
If you’re wanting to take advantage of stage marketing – if you’re an entrepreneur or you’re a public speaker and you want to get your speaking engine turning more – that’s something that we’d love to help you with. Honing a little bit of your stagecraft and your ideas, and then just, you know, how we can help you write a sellable talk and, you know, create momentum with that. For that I’d like you to go and check out storytostage.co. That’s our Story To Stage public speaking program. I’m going to try and do a collab with Austin and Taylorr, and we’ll jump on each other’s programs and share advice with each other because we respect each other so much. And so… I’d love to see you over there as well.
Taylorr: Awesome. I’ll make sure all of those links are in the show notes. Be sure to go check out those links, you guys. We’ll make sure the Story To Stage is in there, the YouTube series as well. Reach out to Rich, say “hi” if you need me to help with the story to stage or the stage craft. And, hey – if you liked this episode, don’t forget to rate it, subscribe to it. And if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.