SL084: Finding Your Voice As A Speaker
In today's episode Paul N. Larsen they talk about Finding Your Voice As A Speaker.
Paul N. Larsen is an engaging leadership speaker, executive coach and the author of the award-winning book, Find Your VOICE as a Leader. As a former Chief Human Resources officer for a $3BN corporation, Paul has over 30 years of business leadership experience with such organisations as Charles Schwab, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Adobe. A member of the respected Forbes Coaches Council and a proud introvert, Paul currently coaches leaders at such companies as Twitter, Electronic Arts, Cisco, Autodesk, Walmart, and SAP. And he loves to demonstrate his disarming extroversion by speaking on leadership to groups and professional associations in the US and Asia.
What we cover:
- Starting in keynote speaking
- Finding Your Voice As A Speaker
- The dangers of going broad
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Read full transcript at https://speakersu.com/finding-your-voice-as-a-speaker-sl084/
James Taylor Hi, it's James Taylor, founder of SpeakersU. Today's episode was first aired as part of International Speakers Summit the world's largest online event for professional speakers. And if you'd like to access the full video version, as well as in depth sessions with over 150 top speakers, then I've got a very special offer for you. Just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com, where you'll be able to register for a free pass for the summit. Yep, that's right 150 of the world's top speakers sharing their insights, strategies and tactics on how to launch grow and build a successful speaking business. So just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com but not before you listen to today's episode.
Hey, there is James Taylor. I'm delighted today to be joined by Paul N. Larsen port and an engaging leadership speaker, executive coach and the author of the award winning book find your voice as a leader. As a former Chief Human Resource Officer for $3 billion Corporation Paul has over 30 years of business leadership experience with such organizations as Charles Schwab Bristol Myers Squibb and Adobe, a member of the respected Forbes coaches Council and a proud introvert Paul currently coaches leaders as such companies such as Twitter, Electronic Arts, Cisco, Autodesk, Walmart and sap. And he loves to demonstrate his disarming extraversion by speaking on leadership to groups and professional organizations in the US and Asia. It's my great pleasure to have Paul join us today. So welcome, Paul.
Paul N. Larsen Thank you, James. Thank you, you know, as as you're reading that the introvert amigos, oh my gosh. And then when you say disarming extraversion, which of course I wrote, I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna show that out a little bit more. So just a little bit of where I'm at right now, with that intro.
James Taylor Lovely speaking, we're gonna be speaking at an event, a conference in Singapore really soon. So I'm looking forward to getting a chance to hang out there as well. But what have you been asked what projects are currently taking your focus?
Paul N. Larsen Ah, you know, James, it's a great, it's been a little bit of everything. So So I like to dabble in a little bit of the speaking. So I do, I have the honor of being able to speak in Southeast Asia quite a bit. So. So working on some of the speeches I'm doing over there, the one that you mentioned in Singapore. And then with a foundation called together, we can change the world, which was founded, actually, by NSA members, Scott Friedman, and Jana Stanfield. So we have a tour coming up where we're going to be touring in Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Part of that is we go and speak on leadership, disruptive leadership. So I have the honor of being able to, to to speak in those particular cities. I'm primarily a lot of my time back domestically here in the states is focused on executive coaching. So I have the pleasure of working as you as you name some of the companies, but more or less important than the companies are the people that I work with the leaders in these organizations who really want to make a difference, who really want to make an impact, yet, you know, they're kind of like struggling, like so many of us do. How do I do that? What is my brand, and what is my legacy? So those are a little bit of everything else I'm doing. And then I leave tomorrow for I'm going on a just a nice vacation to Japan. So I'm just going to be able to kind of immerse myself in a in a little bit different culture, and enjoy sort of the learning environment that takes when you travel, and you just kind of like not traveling for work, so to speak, but just kind of traveled to say, Hey, I'm in a new place. And let's see what I can learn.
James Taylor So the speaking part, you got the executive coaching the speaking the author, part of you, the speaking part of you, how did that get started? When When did you start getting into the keynotes side? Especially?
Paul N. Larsen That's a great, that's a great question. Um, it takes me back to my history. I it started back in 2009. And I had, you know, one of my, one of my things is, is is one of my tenants and best practices are always try to coach myself and coach my leaders on is have a vision for yourself to establish that vision and outcome. Well, I didn't do that. I mean, it was like so so I learned from what I needed to do. In 2009, I had a wonderful job at Adobe, it was an incredible job. It had all the perks, wonderful people wonderful company, great climate, I was not engaged, had nothing to do with the organization had everything to do with, I knew I had something inside of me that needed to come out. I wasn't sure what that was. I didn't think it was like an alien thing that had to come out. But I wasn't sure what it was. I knew it was a message. And I was at my father's memorial service who had a wonderful, wonderful life. And I was listening to what they were saying about him as a person and his legacy. And all these people were getting up James and literally just talking about what a wonderful man, he wasn't the difference he made in their lives. And I'm literally sitting there and it was one of those moments we have in our lives. It was just Oh, it was zing. And I said what are they going to say about me? It's that classic story we hear, but it really happened. I'm sitting in the church. I'm sitting there In a hard hardback Pew, and I'm like, what are they going to say about me? My father, my father is a created this brand and legacy for himself. And they touched all these wonderful people. What are they going to say, Oh, he was a great HR leader. He helped people with their compensation plans, he helped the restructuring, he laid off 900 people here, he hired 1000 people here, and I'm thinking, that's not the legacy I want to author. That's not what I wanted to do. So fast forward, what I the decisions I made, James was to leave Adobe, with some planning go out on my own. So it wasn't about going to another company, establishing myself as an executive coach. By doing that. I, I established myself also as an expert in the coaching arena, or the leadership arena, at least according to some of the people that that that provided me feedback, which then led to speaking engagements. So I didn't sit here and think, Oh, I want to be a speaker. I want to speak more. In fact, I got to tell you, I wasn't even as aware of professional speaking as maybe I should have been, I certainly been exposed to speakers and at events and corporate events and conferences. But it wasn't like I had a direct path to that. It was sort of like, by way of my path of finding my expertise. People then said, oh, maybe this is something you could speak about to this group of people. And my first speaking gig was to a, an ecology Physicians Group and, and it ended up like, do you can you speak on leadership for 45 minutes, and I did, and they handed me a check. And I'm like, Oh, you gotta be kidding me. Like, really. And I knew that there's a much more hard work around that if I really wanted to build a business. But that was enough of an enticement for me. But now
James Taylor I mentioned to you, you caught your class yourself as an introvert. And so which I think is interesting, because a lot of the guests I've had on here, either with a said on camera, or I because I happen to know them personally, as well. They would also maybe describe myself as an introvert, which is kind of weird when you think about our jobs is kind of getting up on stage in front of thousands of people as well. So you, you work with a lot of people who maybe the job title is not to Nestle to get on the stage, but as leaders, they are, they have to go on stage as part of their part of their role as well. So do you see any patterns? Are there more more speakers, introverts and extroverts? Or is it is it really a bit of a mix,
Paul N. Larsen you know, without any statistical evidence, right? And and I'm not going to be one who's going to cite all the empirical data, because I'll be proven wrong, the minute it comes out of my mouth, um, I would say it's probably a good mix. And what it requires is what you just said, a certain self awareness to really understand where you get your energy from, you know, how do you how do you replenish that energy, because that's the difference between introverts and extroverts. introverts can certainly be on stage, they can certainly perform in a Broadway show, as sometimes we do when we're on stage, they can certainly speak as in an expressive manner, as I tend to do, as you see my hands flying around. But when I need to replenish when I need to, to, to really restore my energy, I need to be by myself, I need to set the boundaries of being solo, a solo practitioner, so to speak, in order to do that extroverts need the group energy to kind of restore that energy. So that's the difference between styles. And that's where sometimes I think, to your point, the contradiction does come up, because people will say to me, you're not an introvert, because the conventional wisdom is, introverts don't want to be on stage has nothing to do with that. I enjoy being onstage, I enjoy sharing my message, I enjoy serving the audience. It has to do though, with when I'm the downtime I need in order to restore my capabilities for the next event. And to your point around leadership. That's a really, really great insight that you just gave. And and I would add to that, leaders are always on stage. So leaders always are on stage, no matter if it's a structured stage, or if it's just a stage and of course, in their in their organization. They are always on stage. They're always being watched. And they're always, you know, people are always gauging their performance. When I work with leaders, a lot of them tend to come from the technology arena. So they come up through engineering, they come up through different different avenues, where they're used to kind of being by themselves, and then they realize they've taken on this new role, and they need to figure out okay, how do I take what I have and expand it and become a little bit more expressive in my brand and my presence, and that's where I can help because I understand where they're coming from from an introversion piece.
James Taylor That reminds me a little bit of one of my great heroes on this in the speaking world, or actually northward is a guy called Edward de Bono who Greg Creativity, lateral thinking. And I remember seeing years ago seeing him on the stage and just being completely mesmerized, not because he was, it was a very, you know, he's moving around the stage a lot or anything, but his ideas were just so powerful. But then I subsequently spoke to people that know and work with him saying, he has the worst small chat person. He just doesn't like being in large groups of people and doing that he loves being on the stage and teaching because he's the teacher. And he loves having maybe one on one deep one on one conversations with people. But he really, he really enjoys the other stuff, you know, going to the cocktail receptions and some of the things that can come from some things you have to do as a speaker.
Paul N. Larsen Right, exactly, no, and I can certainly understand that. And I understand as being a speaker, as speakers, as we all are, that's part of our business as well. So when that does come up is certainly at conferences, I have to be very deliberate with my time. And I have to be very deliberate with my energy so that I show up in a very consistent manner. So that what the way I am on stage, people will also reflect that in terms of my consistency when I'm offstage, because we hear that a lot, right? Oh, that person on stage is different than the person offstage. And even though we might have a different style, when we're on stage versus certainly off, I want to be consistent with the relationships that I develop, knowing that I do that I'm not going to be after I'm on stage, that I'm not going to be able to be there 24 seven, because I'm going to need to go back to the room, and really just be with myself in order to kind of restore that energy. That's a really good point. Now you
James Taylor you've spoke about this, to having this voice model to building your brand as a speaker, can we start going going going through that? First of all, I mean, how Where did that come from something that can create a model around building brands is just something you were you trying to figure out yourself? Because it was it was applied to you? Or were you starting to coach? You've mentioned coaching executives, who were maybe transitioning to being speakers as well, when did that begin?
Paul N. Larsen All of that? I mean, it was, you want to talk about a gift, right? I mean, it was a gift that was kind of just given to me, and it was absolutely a journey that I took so so upon, upon leaving Adobe upon sort of really discovering what my passion is around coaching. And, and, and the the impact that I can make as a coach and the learning that I can bring into myself as a coach. It really was around Paul, you've got a voice, let's use it. And it was one of my clients that I was with and had a significant organization there. And I kept telling him, we were talking to him. And we as we were coaching, I said, how best can you use your voice? How best can you get out and build your voice as a leader? He looked at me. And he said, that's your brand. Paul, he said, If there's one thing that I connect with you, it's the voice. It's finding your voice as a leader. And James, it was another one of those big zing moments. I have these moments all the time in my life, right, you have to be open for them, you have to learn from them. And I get zinged all the time. And I look at it as a great thing. But it was, it was like, Wow, he just gave me my brand. Um, before that I was just kind of Paulie the coat, right. And then I said, find your voice as a leader. So I played around with that a little bit more certainly used him as a wonderful pilot. And I took the voice, I took the voice, obviously word and made an acronym around it, to say, look, what what's the what's the journey I went through, what's the first thing we do when you build your voice as a leader or find your voice. And it really was around the values, your outcomes, your influence, your courage, and your expression. And it really is sometimes it can be sequentially, and sometimes they might be consecutively. It all depends on the person and where they are. And it applies to a lot of different pieces of our lives, whether it's finding your voice as a leader, finding your voice, as a trainer, finding your voice as a speaker, I've done all of these types of avenues, but it's discovering those values, establishing those outcomes, demonstrating your influence, stepping into your courage, and then crafting your overall expression. And when I put all that together, and I worked through the exercises and activities that I went through, and that I was successful and maybe not as successful in and then I use with my clients. That's how I built the model.
James Taylor So one of the kind of dangers I guess by doing an event like this an online summit, there's someone here from all these, you know, over 100 speakers, and it can be a little bit discombobulating because you will hear opposing views on something and so I'm interested you mentioned like values right at the start because this is this is how I personally figure this stuff out is is I will be tend to be attracted to taking or maybe that that particular speakers strategy or model or how they're building something because they have a similar value. with similar values, to me, that's just my way of navigating, is that the way to think about it, because I'm just conscious that this is as we've talking about this just now. And if someone's going through the summit, they're going to get a lot of information, this could be maybe some way of helping them sort and sift what's gonna be relevant to themselves.
Paul N. Larsen Yeah, the way and that's an excellent, first of all, it's an excellent call out. And second of all, it's also an excellent sort of action to take. Because when you when you're when you're exposed to all of this great information and great content, how do you filter it, and and the key on this what what my voice model really, really works on is being very deliberate. When I when I work with leaders, when I work with speakers, when I work with any anybody, including myself, we tend to just kind of react and I could imagine going, I know when I've gone through summits like this, and conferences, we can we tend to just kind of react to what we hear sometimes, when in fact, what you want to do is take a step back, what is it that you actually value? What's the purpose of why you're going through this experience? What's the outcome you're looking for? So always tie a purpose to an outcome? What's the deliberate action you want to take from that? And then out of that will cascade your value? So like, if you really think about what are your top three values you have in your life? And for me, when I went through that exercise, it's it's not complex, it's really trying to figure out what are those top three values that that you value that you live your life by? It's your it's kind of like your inner DNA, there's not energy and I guess it's your, it's your inner GPS, right? Um, I do that with leaders. And a lot of times what leaders will tend to do, and I think we do this as humans, they will list off values, they think people want to hear, oh, I value feedback, I value community open communication, I, you know, and all of a sudden, I look up on the wall, and that's the values of the organization, right? It's like, No, no, no, sit with yourself, quietly, list out all the values that guide you, you know, whether there be whether it be, you know, a lot to do with relationships with with financial freedom, what are those values, right that you have, and then that will also then guide you in terms of the decisions you make. And then you're in terms of the outcomes and vision you want to have for yourself, especially as a speaker, I hear a lot of people say, I want to speak, I want to speak more, I want to speak in internet, I want to be a global speaker, I want to speak internationally. That to me doesn't show necessarily a an articulate of articulation of values. It also doesn't show necessarily a vision. What's the endgame? Like? What is it that you want out of that? What is that vision of that? So that's kind of a way that I would kind of navigate some of this.
James Taylor Yeah, I mean, I think that's a good point, listen, because it is, I mean, there's a lot of information coming out of them. And so I think just taking a little bit of time, it was a start just many of you will already have done this in your own practice, you'd have set and then you have good sense of your values, maybe it makes sense you haven't really done yet. But I think it's a really valuable thing to do. Because you're going to hear during the course the summit, you're going to hear one person or that person says that thing, that was the things always bear in mind, they're all they're all starting at completely different places, usually in different parts of the world. And they and they have different value values. And if you can try and figure out and then you can continue, ask yourself, so that so we move on to the values as the first point, having a strong sense of your, your outcome. You mentioned like purpose and outcome, you can use those inside different ways. Can you explain that?
Paul N. Larsen Absolutely. So So, you know, I always like to say, when I'm working with myself, when I'm working with leaders, what's the purpose of why you're doing what you're doing? What's the purpose of that communication? What's the purpose of that meeting? What's the purpose of that action, you're going to take? In a much grandiose scheme? If you are building your speaking business? What's the purpose? Why are you going into speaking? What's the purpose of that? And then tied to purpose? Are the outcomes? What are the outcomes you are looking for? What's the vision that's tied to that purpose? Many times I hear that I want I want I desire I desire I intend I intend. But what I don't see connecting to that are the outcomes or the actions associated with those intentions, or associated with that purpose. So building your outcomes really is like even if it's just for your vision for next week, for next month, for next year, or for your business, that really is making sure that is tied directly to your overall purpose, because many times they're disconnected. And then people wonder why they don't follow through on certain things. They wonder why there's there's no there's no outcome or any kind of action associated with it because they have haven't actually tied those two together? Yeah, so one of the first things I do is that with coaching is you tie purpose to outcome. And and and you don't have one without the other. And and what it does is it creates a very keen discipline of making sure that you take action associated with any purpose or any intention you have,
James Taylor as well good coach does is ensuring there's accountability towards those outcomes. So every week or when you speak, you can do you can have coming back to that, and also kind of reconnecting it with that with that purpose as well. And I think one of the things we've heard time and time again, probably people maybe getting a bit bored by it, but almost every guest is either spoken about the importance of having a mentor in what they were doing in terms of bonus or a coach. And because under this slightly different kind of roles, and to some of them, some of them, it's not honestly even with a mentor, but it's not even a person that the they actually know it's a person. That is because they know so much they read so much of their books, and it's almost like another character is another character, but they can ask themselves and be quite certain of what the answer would be is that wish I go next? And they can do almost asking to that, that fictional character, or that character, this right thing as well?
Paul N. Larsen Absolutely no. And that's a really good point, because you absolutely want to use all the resources that are available to you. But you also to your point, you want to do it in a very deliberate fashion. You want to make sure that you are seeking a mentor, or seeking a coach, or seeking a teacher, whatever whatever the role might be. But it's very deliberate. Again, what's the purpose of why you're seeking a coach, I can't tell you how many times sometimes I will be I will be engaged to talk to people around around a coaching partnership. And when I get in there, and I ask, Why are you looking for a coach? Why now? What's the purpose? They don't have any answers to that they just thought it would be a good idea. They haven't necessarily worked through all of the deliberate steps necessary to really think, why do I need a coach? Am I coachable? What would I be? What's the outcome that I'm looking for? The same holds true when we go through summits like these, and when we attend conferences, or anything else, we tend to want to pull like you were saying from things, but do it in a very deliberate fashion. So when you're seeking resources, and you're seeking assistance, make sure it's very deliberate, and it's tied to, okay, this is my purpose. In order to get the outcome I need, I'm going to need a coach or mentor or some type of help to bridge that, yeah, they're in the eyes right there. That's a brilliant algorithm in order for success, because you've got a clear purpose, a clear outcome, and then the coach or mentor can help you within that within fill in that gap.
James Taylor And the next part of this is the influence piece in that you're making building relationships, not just with coaches and mentors, also building relationships with people in the industry, you know, as a speaker, whether that's with, you know, other speakers or meeting professionals, or CEOs, decision makers, as well. So, what what the speakers need to be aware of when they're thinking about the influence part of that.
Paul N. Larsen So the influences is exactly that. It's building those relationships, but it's building those relationships. You know, it's that old, it's not so much the quantity, James, it's the quality, right? A lot of times, again, when you go into a field, such as speaking, it's around it, get to know as many people as you can build your network, build your network, boost your email list, build your email list, get names, names, names, names, names, and all of a sudden it becomes quantity. And we lose sight of the quality or the qualitative piece. The relationships have to be built on trust and respect, always. And And so again, going back to being very deliberate, what are the relationships, you're going to need to achieve that vision or those outcomes that you've created for yourself? How do you build those relationships? How do you demonstrate that trust and respect and how do you go about doing that? So So again, it sounds common sense. But I think in today's world, especially with social media, which I'm a huge fan of, and I'm all over social media, but I do it also very deliberately. And I try to be very trustworthy and respectful in my social media platform and footprint, as I build those relationships. But I think today, we can just we can we can have connections all over the place. We can have likes all over the place, we can tweet all over the place. We're not necessarily doing it with it with a deliberate fashion of building influential relationships. I see it in organizations. And I think it happens in our industry as well.
James Taylor And you mentioned going to Japan is something maybe remember, when I first started working in Japan, it was it was quite interesting to see the difference between in the West will be quite transactional here and our relationships. I'm going to do this for you because I expect this but and it's so it can be very transactional, where I remember in in Japan doing business in Japan, actually, we spent about maybe three to five years just building relationships, building trust, before any Anything was ever, ever done. But the interesting thing that happened by doing that, and just just building trust and being, you know, being a respectable kind of building that trust over time, is that when that trust was eventually solidified, it was it was just like, took off like a rocket, because the nature of this industry is exactly the same. It's one of everyone talks, people are talking, they know that that person is a good person to work with, they know that that person does, as they said, they know that person is going to show up and, and, and give a great performance. But it does take a little bit of time to build that trust and build those relationships.
Paul N. Larsen Yeah, it's the you just nailed it, it's the, it's the, you need to spend a little bit of time at the upfront piece, right. And building those relationships takes time. And we're, and you're right, in our society, we're so used to instant gratification. now now now, and that whole transactional piece, so I do think we need to, you really need to take the time to build the trust and the respect, because that's going to then build your brand. And and we see that all the time in any kind of, it doesn't matter what industry you're in, or whatever role you play, that really taking that time upfront will pay off in the long run. But we are in a society where conventional wisdom almost forces us to say no, no, no, no, no, just go go, go, go, go, here's all the ways you need to do it. Here's all the ways you can make money, here's all the ways you can do this. Just go go go go go. And we lose sight of that the discipline of really building that trust, and that respect that other cultures and societies do so well.
James Taylor It's almost a little bit. I know that with people like Matt church, and Peter Cook, head on here from Australia talk about this, between a business and a practice. Most speakers, you really have practices, you don't have a business, it's not something you're ever going to naturally sell. It's you if your doctor's practice, or your topic is really you, which means that the trust piece is even more important, because it's you, you know, you have a relationship. So so you're thinking about this thing, much longer term than then a company with Nestle thinking about quarterly results, or I just need to get through this, this one year bump or whatever the thing is, you have to think much more longer term.
Paul N. Larsen Absolutely. You know, I'm sure I think there's a book out there now, and I'm probably quoting it, the brand is you, right? It is when you are a speaker or a coach, it is you and even if you're affiliated with another company, or organization or group of folks, you are still representing yourself. That was a that to your point around my journey. That was a very deliberate decision. When I went out on my own, I branded myself with my name, right, which is, again, what most speakers do, most coaches do. Yes, I have a model that I use and a tagline. But it's my name associated with that I had to then make. And I remember having this conscious decision, I do a lot of self coaching, I have a lot of dialogues with myself, that if I was going to do that, I had to make sure that I wore that brand out here. And every behavior I did every action I took every decision I make represent adapt, because I then knew I was putting myself out there. And I had to build the trust, the credibility, the respect, all those things. It wasn't about likability, it was about trust, respect and credibility. But I remember having that decision with myself in that conversation to say, that is what I'm going to have to do versus being within a company where sometimes you can kind of get away with hiding a little bit here hiding a little bit there. No, you're I was all exposed. And that was that took courage for me to in which to do that, which is the next piece and invoice right. It was like stepping out of my comfort zone around that.
James Taylor And so on that piece in the courage, the one of the ones I often think about when you mentioned that word courage, I think about how as a speaker or kind of anything, when you're going out and you're in a solopreneur it's very easy to want to just Who do you speak to? I speak anyone? What do you speak about I can think of anything? And so focusing and niching I think that takes great courage, because is willing to say this is this is what I think I'm good at this is this is my thing. And and and I'm going to take that risk on that. So when you were kind of going into your speaking business, did that require a lot of courage for you to really focus on what what you actually want the speaker to speak about?
Paul N. Larsen Oh, James, you know, you nailed it with me on that one? That absolutely did it setting boundaries for yourself. It's setting boundaries for your brand, for your market, for your business for your niche, all those things. Absolutely. And I'm a learn, I learned by experiences. So I learned by all the mistakes I made and the successes. I to your point. I was one of those people like I this speaking thing was great. I can speak there, I'll speak for you. I'll do this, I'll do that. And I had a couple of experiences where I was not the best speaker for that particular event. And I showed up that way. Because I did anything wrong personally, or I did anything wrong on stage, it just was not a match based on what they needed. And based on what I could provide, I thought, Oh, yeah, I can do that I can do that I can be the the generalist for that. And then when I got up there, and I realized, Oh, this was not working. So it was a great learning experience for me. In terms of, okay, Paul, you have a certain expertise, you have a certain modality and methodology, you have a certain style, that is not going to be reflected in to every everybody that is going to need a speaker and is going to need, you cannot serve all the audiences. And that that was an experience for me. And I, I had to really be humble around that. And I had to really be humbled with the groups that I that I had a couple of episodes where I learned that, and that's how I had learned it. Right. And, and sort of that feedback. And now that that journey of going through that. And you're absolutely right, that took a lot of courage. And it took it takes a lot of courage to say, I'm not going to be the speaker for everybody, I'm going to be the speaker for this particular domain or this particular pillar.
James Taylor And the only way I was able to come for me is to come to peace with that was a stat that Simon t Bay, the great speakers told me and he said in America now there's 1.8 million conferences every year. And I think 1.3 million of them requires seekers and another friend of mine pretty current who's who's working with Big Pharma is speaking to a pharmaceutical company. He said, they have 40,000 speakers every year. And that allows me to go okay, I don't have this is perfect. I could just focus on this. There's so much there's so much work out there, there's so much opportunity out there as well, especially when you get to company and you speak in, you know, in organized companies, which you don't see advertised all their internal meetings, sales, focused meetings, and is is easy to think that all the meetings are happening. And those ones that you see being advertised to the public, exactly. Most events are happening as corporates, you know, it's under the, you know, you don't actually see them, and we'll buy that final piece, the expression piece. So, you know, communicating human to like communicating with your overall expression. What does that mean?
Paul N. Larsen Yeah, that's, that is the overall expression is kind of your overall brand. It's your overall legacy. It's your overall impact that you make, and in whatever role that you're playing, how do you know what that impact is? How do you know what that legacy is, um, if you're not authoring that it's been authored for you, because back to everything we just said, if you are not deliberate in how you build your relationships, how you build your vision, how you discover your values, how you take steps out of your comfort zone, if you are not doing that deliberately James, then that legacy of who you are that presence of who you are that your overall expression that's been crafted for you. So I always work when I work with leaders, especially, and many leaders have been in the business for for for many years, I'll say, what's your legacy? What's your leadership legacy? And they look at me and they go, I have no idea. I've never been asked that question, or I've never asked it up myself. And I said, well, then that means it's being created for you. Yeah. Could you have a legacy? So why don't you step into that and start to author that legacy author that expression, and you
James Taylor really have to push because as we know, having both in the Silicon Valley world as well, that billions of dollars are being spent in terms of distracting you from maybe doing things with your, with your in your longer term benefit, let's first put it that way, things that distract you to keep scrolling through, you know, like clickbait and things. And there's an entire industry that's around there in terms of psychology that's going so you do have to be very cognizant of that and and be quite as you should use it, use that word deliberate, deliberate about you are making certain decisions and and some things you're going to be saying no to. So as we start to kind of finish up his quickfire questions here. We're just talking about tools and apps, actually, are there any tools online resource app you find really useful for yourself as a speaker,
Paul N. Larsen you know, the one that it doesn't necessarily pertain to speaking but it pertains to my my mind space, and it's called headspace. Now, you said it, yeah, it, I use that James, you will find me using that everywhere. I I will go into the I will go into a meditation and I'm not you know, I'm not going to be sitting here saying I'm meditating all the time. But I will go into that headspace app in many different avenues. I'm on the bus. I'm on a plane, I'm walking down the street. I'm waiting for a client and I will all of a sudden just go in there and use it. It has created I think it's really important in today's world, create anchors for yourself and to create a groundedness and that's what it does for me.
James Taylor I do wonder because I come a name of the gym. A man whose voice is used the founder of that company has used his voice. I think he's British. But then he now lives in San Francisco, I seem to remember. I do wonder if people when people go to his events, if they automatically start sending out as soon as he starts speaking, because he has a certain type of action, I know, very distinctive
Paul N. Larsen is a cert and if you think about it, and you're absolutely right, the tone and the pace and it's just like, Ah, yeah, it's just it's Yeah, it's magical for me because I use it, I am very deliberate in how I use it and very disciplined in how I use it as well.
James Taylor And what about in your speaker bag, what is in that bag that you carry with you to all of your speaking engagements that you never leave the home or work without,
Paul N. Larsen you know, I use a so so it's really great I use um, I like to have a lot of vibrancy in my speaking engagement. So I bring a lot of what I usually always do, and that the toolkit will vary. But when I go and speak, I will go to some kind of arts and crafts store before I go speaking, and I will go in and find something very local. So if I'm speaking in Chicago, or I'm speaking in Los Angeles, or I'm speaking in Singapore, speaking in Seoul, I will go to a local store, find some local colorful arts and crafts, maybe there could be anything, I will bring that into my speech somehow into my into my topic into my presentation, maybe it's an audience interaction, depending on the size of the audience and so forth. And it is it not only does it engage me with the local flavor and the local community, people love something local for themselves they come in they're like wow, wow, look at what this is all about the Malaysian food that we just had, you know, or Wow, look at what he's doing in vanilla. And it's amazing how that comes alive. And it kind of plants you in that community. So that that toolkit piece for me, varies depending on where I'm at and and and the local audience that I'm serving.
James Taylor And what about a book if someone wants to buy one book it could be on the speaking the the crafter speaking on the business speak, or maybe didn't even have to be about speaking of maybe could just be some of the broader things that we've been discussing as well. What would that book be you'd recommend?
Paul N. Larsen So I have a book that I recommend to everyone that I that I that I work with, in any capacity, and I have to apologize, I forgot the name of the author. And it's terrible. I'm but I'm one of these people. Like, I know the song. And I love the melody, but I don't know who's singing it. But the book is called the obstacle is the way
James Taylor it's at Ryan holidays. That is the old Thank you.
Paul N. Larsen Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Oh, see, look at you. You're like you're like you're like you're just such an expert.
James Taylor It's a wonderful poem. It's a wonderful book,
Paul N. Larsen it is a brilliant book, you look at that you look at historical context is of where obstacles have come up and and how the obstacles actually at the ciliated Thruway for you. Because to your point around distractions, we live in an age of distractions. And distractions can be obstacles, big or small in people's lives and people's journeys. And I just thought the book was just so brilliant. And I use it in many, many rounds around coaching and working with leaders working with teams. And then so certainly for myself,
James Taylor so a penultimate question here, if we pull, I want you to imagine, you woke up tomorrow morning, and you have to start from scratch. I'm gonna let you choose any city in the world you can wake up in, but you've got all the skills that you've acquired over the years as a coach, as an author as a speaker, but no one knows you, you know, no one, you have to restart. What would you do? How would you restart,
Paul N. Larsen so I would restart. So I would wake up probably in the city that I know of, which is San Francisco, no one love, and so forth. But regardless of the community you wake up in. And by the way, I love this exercise, because I think it's something we should do, we should do anyway, we should look to how we reboot ourselves. But I would start off in being much more deliberate, much more smaller scale in the steps I need to take to build my business. When I went the when I the mistakes I made in the past, was trying to do too much too soon to too many people. And I would now take a reboot and say, I'm going to take one step today, one step tomorrow, build one relationship today, one relationship tomorrow, and create that stepping stone in terms of building sort of the business and brand and create more much more of an end vision for myself then then what I've done, I jumped in sort of to the deep end of the pool, and I came out with with lots of water and all over the place and drank the water and breathed the water. And I survived because I came up with the buoyancy, and I came out of the pool with it with a determination. I don't want to do that again. So the reboot for that question is not doing that again, is doing the opposite which is taking the much smaller Steps taking the longer term investments for a much longer term gratification, not the short term gratification that we are so often are are confronted with.
James Taylor Well Paul, it's been a pleasure speaking today if people want to connect with you learn more about you your your coaching your speaking and your writing, where's the best place for them to go and do that
Paul N. Larsen so they can certainly go to my website which is Paulin, Larsen LR sem comm they are certainly free to connect with me on LinkedIn I love connecting with LinkedIn all I asked on LinkedIn is connect with me just let me know that you that you you know interacted with me through the summit and so forth but love to connect or even shoot me a direct email at Paul at Paul n Larsen comm I'm very very, very approachable. There's there's there's the the expressive introvert of me comes out and I love to maintain those network and and the connection. So I welcome all of that. And this is this has just been a wonderful opportunity James and the work that you're doing is just incredible for the community. So I applaud it and just you know, I'm so honored to be part of it.
James Taylor Well Paul, I look forward to getting a chance to meet up in person and I wish you all the best of the speaking until then.
Paul N. Larsen Thank you so much James Have a wonderful weekend and and I welcome anyone's connections as well. So thank you all thank you very much.
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