How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker- #106

Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

My guest today is SpeakersU member Joshua Seth, a celebrity voice actor, and world touring magician turned keynote speaker and emcee. He’s known to millions as the voice of over 100 animated TV shows and movies. These days he shows sales professionals how to unlock the power of “Your Money Voice”. He has presented at over 100 virtual and hybrid events and was a cornerstone keynote speaker at The Global Million Dollar Roundtable. In our discussion, we talk about Joshua’s transition to becoming a top virtual emcee and hybrid keynote speaker and setups for virtual conference studios. Enjoy the episode.


In this episode:

  • Virtual Emcee
  • Transition From Live To Virtual Stages
  • Hybrid Keynote Speaker
  • How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker
  • Setups For Virtual Conference Studios.


Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  0:06  

how are you today? How are things going?

Joshua Seth 0:08  

I am great. It’s so wonderful to talk to you, James.

James Taylor  0:12  

Now you’ve had a very interesting career. You’ve made some multiple pivots over the course of your career, you’ve been a touring musician, you’re a touring musician, you’re a voice actor, as well. tell tell us about that work? And how did you get into the world of professional speaking? Short? Well,

Joshua Seth

Joshua Seth 0:28  

it has been a long and winding road. And some may take it as a cautionary tale, if you will. Maybe it’s a testament to tenacity. But about 15 years ago, I had two careers. I’ve always had two careers. And as a creativity expert, you know that combining knowledge bases from different fields is the key to innovating or one of them. And so those two careers were voiceovers and magic, and for a long time, and in Hollywood couldn’t get arrested in either. And then after about seven years, both careers took off. And I found myself starring in a lot of TV shows and movies on the voiceover side. And then the specialty that I ended up in was called trade show magic, which is where the magician stands at a company’s booth, and attracts a crowd and then weaves in the pitch for the product or service, and gets them to take an action at the end is usually to generate the contact information for the qualified leads. And you do that a couple times an hour for three days of the conference. So I got pretty well known in the magic community for being successful at this in around 2005 2006. I was asked to speak at a conference for magicians. And I remember telling the conference organizer, I’m not a speaker, I’m an entertainer. Don’t worry, they just want to know how you are booking these and how you do them. And so I like to over prepare. So I wrote and wrote and wrote, and before I knew it, I had an info product. And that was back before info products were online. So I put it in a big three ring binder, charge 295. for it, they said I could pitch from the stage because they weren’t paying me. And I sold out. And I thought this is a great business. And then I didn’t touch it again for years, because I was not thinking of myself as a speaker. And then fast forward a few years, I’m headlining on cruise ships now doing a different show a hypnosis show and everybody’s making the same joke, -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

Joshua Seth 2:25  

oh, can you hypnotize me to lose weight?

Joshua Seth 2:27  

And I’m like, Sure. So I, again, they’re not paying me to also do a speech. They’re only paying me for the show. But I got 2000 people in the show. And as it turns out, I was getting about 400 of those people to show up to the speech. So I do the free speech. And then I pitched a book, I wrote this, this was my first book, the weight loss hypnosis solution. And it came packaged with a six-CD set. And I do Bo, our sales, and I loved it. I know a lot of speakers don’t like pitching, but I enjoy it. Because for me, it’s an act of service, because I know that the content is very valuable, and it’s going to get them the results that they want. So I owe it to them to get them to make the purchase. That’s my perspective on it. And if you have that perspective, and it’s true, then you could do B our sales and pitch from the stage ethically. So I did that about 100 times and got very comfortable speaking without any props without any magic or anything. Then I started getting asked to do Comic-Con panels, which is a different kind of speaking, but it was still speaking when they’re paying me to just answer questions from the audience. So then I learned how to think on my feet as a speaker and do q&a for an hour. And then finally, this is like 10 years into the processor 12 years into the speaking process. I thought well, I want to speak in the corporate market and actually get paid to deliver a speech. And coming from two creative fields. Obviously, I thought to speak on creativity, I had a different perspective than you in that my idea was to break down my creative process, and then show people in the business world how they can apply that to ideation. And then instead of right oh, I wrote a second book somewhere in there on speak for speakers, which we won’t mention because it was the point was to get clients for coaching. And I didn’t really enjoy the coaching because they’d never do what I told them to do. And then, and then for the activity, I made this, look at this. It’s a card game. It’s a creativity card. And you’ve never seen it. Why? Because I was going to launch it in March in April of 2000 of 2020 April 2020 in Dubai at the million-dollar Roundtable, where they’re going to fly me out to be a keynote speaker and speak about my creativity cards. And we all know what happened COVID hit the month before. And so instead of launching this and instead of doing that talk when they went virtual, I lost all my gigs like everybody in 48 hours, except for that $1 million roundtables went virtual immediately to their credit and in the pre-event call which is so important. Because then you get to listen and find out what the client is looking for. I realized, well, you don’t need this from me, you need me to talk about the other half of my career, how to present on camera how to speak on the mic, because everybody is a talking head now. And I’ve been doing that for 20 years. So I, in the spur of the moment, in the call, I said, You know what, everything has changed. Why don’t we change the topic? Is that all right? What if I, what if I talk to your people about this, instead, they loved it, they were so excited, I started writing the speech in the first time I gave my new speech, which is called your money voice, basically, how to use that aspect of your own communication, your own voice, to make a connection influenced decision making and close more sales. So I did this for these, these financial advisors around the world, I think there were about 8000 in the virtual conference. That was the first time I ever gave it and that was about a year ago. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since is refining that. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  5:58  

So you’ve certainly done your own, paid your dues, on stages, yeah, you’ve done your reps, I paid other people’s do, you’ve paid other people’s, you’ve also got very good doing live q&a. And dealing with that as well. I’m interested when you decide to start to make the transition into like the more professional speaking world, who are those early kinds of mentors or role models with the speakers that you can look to anything, you know, there’s parts of that business I like, or maybe this kind of speaker speaks about a particular thing, or in a certain way who those that you initially started looking at,

Joshua Seth 6:30  

I’ve definitely had some influences. I don’t know that they were mentors, but because some of them don’t know that I know them. But one of them was Giovanni lovera, who used to be very big in NSA, and he was a magician and motivational speaker. And, it was, it was becoming familiar with his work that helped me to realize that this was even possible as a style of speaking to combine the entertainment with the valuable takeaways. And that was definitely an early influence on my speaking. Another one is just simply a very good friend of mine, Justin woman, who is the star of Netflix’s magic for humans now, but I’ve known him for 20 years. And he was just by his example, the person that taught me that I didn’t need to be a jerk to be successful. I know it’s so hard to believe, right? But I was so Hollywood is very competitive. And I was so focused on outcomes, that I wasn’t enjoying the process. And I was becoming a less and less nice person, as I was focused on getting the gigs and doing the work and not the the, the more human aspect, honestly. And it was just as example as a, as a close friend and human being that taught me Yeah, you can both be kind and empathetic and a good listener and a good person and be successful. Who knew? Right, -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  7:51  

plenty that

Joshua Seth 7:54  

I’ve had some coaches along the way. And some books that I’ve read, you know, that have helped as well.

James Taylor  7:59  

Because there has been a number of people who have come from the world of magic or illusion. And I’ve made the transition into speaking because there are some things and obviously, there’s lots people that come from the world of entertainment more broadly on stages and then moved into into speaking, but when when COVID hit and you will let it Okay, you had that one, that one client that booked you so you had your first kind of virtual with that client in the time of pandemic. But what else did you do? How did you readjust? How did you change this word pivot gets used a lot, but how did you pivot? When you’re speaking? Well, to survive and thrive?

Transition From Live To Virtual Stages

Joshua Seth 8:33  

I went through the five stages of grief first. really happening, Why me? Why, why the wind and the rain. And I even wrote this article that got published in advantage, which is the international magazine for magicians saying I’m not doing any virtual zoom shows. They suck. You know, I’m not like I got into this to make a connection with the audience. Like it’s one way. And I was wrong to do that. Honestly, it was an overreaction. And it’s okay to, you know, it’s important, honestly, to admit your mistakes. And that was a mistake. So for a few months there, I didn’t work much. I did I Oh, you know what I did? So I did the speech for the million dollar round table. And then I created a back end product, because I’m always all about that. And I created a 30 day training course. And some of those audience members went through the course. And then I started promoting that course and I built that that took a good couple of months to create. And by the time I was done with that I changed my mind about shows online and learned from friends, you know, in that community how to do it. And then and then I built out No, then I moved. I was living on an island in Florida that didn’t have very good or reliable Wifi or internet. And then I moved somewhere that has rock solid 500 up in and down for the I specifically moved into a place where I could build a studio. Yeah, and because this is a career right So I’m in a big room, we could talk about that later. But I have three different setups in the studio that are always evolving. I’m doing a virtual game show 30 minutes after we’re done here today. I did a virtual magic show last night. I’ve done, let’s see, virtual magic shows, game shows, emceeing entire conferences, and the keynoting, as well as the training and then cameos. I mean, I’m sure you’ve added -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  10:29  

all these different new kinds of services, new products to what you do as well. The virtual emceeing one is interesting, because it immediately, you know, you and I started working together and became a SpeakersU remember, I was looking at your stuff and thinking, you’re like, you’ve got all the components of a perfect virtual MC, you can do the keynoting stuff really well. And you’ve got that you’re comfortable with technology, you’re comfortable with ambiguity, sometimes and when things don’t quite go right, and this may be someone that’s not able to join you. So you have an improvisational side that the good people on the stage do as well. And you have this great voice. So you have and you’ve got a certain confidence and a certain you know, that you obviously can project on the screen. So what was that experience like starting to do virtual emceeing work like,

Virtual Emceeing

Joshua Seth 11:17  

I love it, I love it, because the things that might make someone who’s less flexible or less comfortable with ambiguity, the things that might make them nervous or uncomfortable, I love those are the places where you can play. Those are the unexpected openings for comedy and improvisation. And also, I feel like I’m the most valuable to the client when things go wrong because I’m unflappable. And I get to, I get to put the audience at ease and the other speakers if they’re on the line as well, at ease, just through my own manner, and the fact that I can roll with it and speak extemporaneously for three to five minutes while everything gets back online, I actually enjoy it. Same with onstage, you know, when you’re doing a show, even like jazz music with them, mistakes are opportunities to go in a different direction. They’re not really mistakes, there are opportunities. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  12:08  

But it’s interesting with the virtual emceeing, I can see this relatively early on, I think I talked to you about it was that initially when the pandemic hit, a lot of companies just said, Okay, we’re not doing our big annual conference, let’s see our client-facing, we would often bring in a keynote speaker, but we are doing some more kind of internal style events, it could be internal sales conferences for their team or you know, different things. And they didn’t necessarily need a warrant, at that point, a keynote speaker, because they were kind of just finding their feet, but they just wanted someone who could be unflappable who could be the glue that held the whole thing together, it could be the face and you know, in the past, maybe they might have if it was an in-person, they might have used john or Sue, because yeah, they’re good, they can always just do the emceeing thing. But when it comes to virtual, it’s a very different set of skills you have to apply. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

Joshua Seth 13:03  

It takes some time, some conversations in order to get the client to release the budget, in consideration of that, because they don’t realize that it’s a lot more work to be an emcee in a virtual event than it is to host a live event. I’m not just coming out there at the appointed time, reading a joke off a cue card, and introducing the next speaker. I’m on alert and aware of everything all the time and ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. And then there’s the technical skill. There’s the improvisational skill, married together with the attention to detail that a keynote speaker is an improvisational aspect that comes from the entertainment side. And then there is the professional side that comes from being a speaker and knowing how to deliver the script in an engaging way. That doesn’t sound like you’re reading off of a teleprompter even though you usually are, and, and blending all these things seamlessly together throughout a long period of time, maybe a multi-day conference, -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  14:05  

and you mentioned fees there. So what have you found? How let’s say you have to go and give a keynote speech at Nestle mC numbers, but it is an MC fee? Is it the same? Or is it less? Or is it more or how is it just totally different? It’s a different way of saying you can’t really compare the two things.

Joshua Seth 14:23  

I’m charging exactly the same for a virtual keynote as I am for virtual MC. Even though the MC is a lot more work. I’m making it up in volume. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  14:34  

Because you may be told it’s a two day three gigs. Yeah, yeah. So it’s basically three gigs in a row you’ve got there as well. And as some of these emceeing gigs, are they short? Is it like two hours, two and a half hours like full day things?

Joshua Seth 14:48  

I’ve never done a full day one usually a half-day, three or four hours. They are aware that people get zoom fatigue and burnout if asked to be online for an entire day. As you would at a live conference, I’m finding half days are more common, at least so far all this stuff changes. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  15:08  

Now, one of the things that I know I’ve seen you do is you really invested in your studio, and you’ve got like a really great studio set up for your keynotes, but also for your other things as well, when you’re doing the virtual emceeing. Are you always doing those from your home studio?

Studio Set-Up 

Joshua Seth 15:22  

Not always Actually, I just finished a run of I think I did, I was out let’s six days live and three rehearsal days. So yeah, nine days in a television production studio in Los Angeles over the course of about a month I did this last month. So they considered it a hybrid event, because there was an eight person crew there with a director and a camera person and somebody on all the equipment and a writer and so forth. So there was a whole crew in this soundstage, rather a big studio with not a green screen, as I have right now behind me, but like a green painted wall and floor, and they built a set. And it was great, honestly, to have other people running that side of things, it was easier for me, I just had to jump on a plane in a pandemic to do it. But it started as one gig. And it turned into multiple ones. Because after the first one, not the client, but the producer said honestly, Joshua 50% of the success of this event was your involvement, we need to bring you in for the rest. And I don’t know if she’s just flattering me or that, obviously she felt that way. But I really took the reins, as you said became the glue and the face of the event that connected all the disparate elements together and kept engagement up for the audience at home through variety of means through comedy and magic and games and raffles and prizes, which is that’s how I develop the virtual game show, honestly, and then also reading the drier content, but the way that a late night host would that was my take on it. So if I have to read their boilerplate legal ease, I want to throw it at the end and have one of these, I don’t have it programmed on my stream deck right now and have a great and have a glass break sound effect, like Letterman, you know, and joke with the group and make it fun, you know, make it engaging. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  17:17  

And I think you were now as we start to move to hybrid we’re now bringing in a lot of those components that would maybe be on TV before I was talking to someone the other day. It almost reminds me a little bit of like Lucille Ball when she had you know, I Love Lucy where it was like a first hybrid TV show. It was a live TV show in front of a live studio audience. And so she was quite pioneering you know,

Hybrid Events

Joshua Seth 17:40  

Doing that is a great reference. There’s a wonderful podcast called Planet Money. And if you research that the episode on Lucille Ball, and that how they basically invented what we think of as television right now, they were so innovative in that way and many others inventing reruns and multi-camera shoots and taking what had previously been filmed stage entertainment and turning it into what TV is today. That’s what’s happening with speaking now. Yeah, not everybody realizes it, but that’s what’s happening. We’re going through one of these transitional moments where we have previously find at a speech or keynote speech, well that’s out the window. It’s anything that they’ll pay us to do that delivers a benefit to that audience and producer really, and that can take many forms. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  18:25  

Now I don’t know if we’ve mentioned this on this podcast, but did you know the story about Lucille Ball was partly responsible for Star Trek. Do you know the story? No. I just read it the other day. Gene Roddenberry is the creator of Star Trek when he was initially trying to get this concept like no one would go with him on it. He really struggled to get the idea of the show. And so they were trying to find some way we would like to film The pilot of this mad idea of filming the show. And they actually went to Lucille Ball and our chairman Lucille ball’s husband they had the studio together Ricky Ricardo so they had a studio so that 

Joshua Seth 19:08  

does he does he Ray does he does he does he does

James Taylor  19:11  

that then yeah, they actually the those pilots of Star Trek were filmed in Lucille Ball studio because she gave Jean the like either very discounted or like nothing the space to be able to film that first pilot so we might not necessarily have had Star Trek if it hadn’t been for Lucille Ball Well, thank you Lucio for


Joshua Seth 19:35  

it’s a fascinating history and apropos to the present moment because of the transitional and innovative nature of what they were doing. That’s if we want to have a future in this business, I believe. We also need to think similarly expansively and be open to opportunities and new directions and new conceptions of what it is that we do and how that can deliver benefit. To the client, because it’s changing and obviously unpredictable. I did not predict a year ago that I would be doing multiple formats of virtual presentations every day, because I was too busy crying. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  20:16  

But the interesting thing now is, as things start to open up again, you’re gonna have to start making decisions, you probably or you’re probably already are making decisions as to do I want to travel, let’s say across state or to another country to go and get it in person and maybe not be able to do to virtual. So how are you feeling about having to start making those decisions?

In-person and Virtual Events

Joshua Seth 20:37  

Well, I have another consideration as well, in that I’m a single father, and I have two school aged children. And I’ve been able to spend a lot of time parenting them, which although exasperating at times has also been wonderful. And I want to continue to give up my time, and myself to them. And when they were younger, I was always traveling, I was always on the road before I had kids. Because of the live show, I was sometimes on the road over 200 days a year. So I am not going back to that. Yeah, I would like to do some live performances. Because I missed it. I missed the audience response, I miss being on stage, I’m a creature of the stage like I, I never feel more alive than when I’m walking on stage, grab a mic, and it’s like, This room is mine, I got you, you know, for the next hour, you just don’t get that from virtual. So I would like to do so yeah, -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  21:27  

It’s kind of weird. When you think about it, basically, we go into our room, and we talk to ourselves for an hour. Is it a slightly strange job? Now as SpeakersU and you kind of talked about a little bit there about having these having backend storage, everything that you do as well, we often talk about creating these multiple sources of these multiple revenue streams. So you have the keynote speaking, you have, you know, your virtual emceeing, you have your online products, and obviously books and other things that are going on, which are maybe the revenue streams that you’re most excited about building over the next 12 months.

Revenue Streams

Joshua Seth 22:06  

I would say, building up the opt-ins to my freebies, honestly, because I’m not attempting to replace speaking and performing revenue with products. It’s not like I want to take myself out of the equation, automate everything I know, some people do, but I enjoy presenting that it’s, I just want to take each relationship as far as it can go. So the reason that I have the 30-day training is that well, they just spent an hour with me, I want them to spend more time learning more, right. And then after that training, they’re invited into my group coaching program, I don’t really like individuals, but I’d like the group coaching, which is monthly. So then they go to that and then they go, you know, they keep continuing this process. But I would like to, to actually build up all the free stuff that I’m giving away. So I have a lot of people on the front end of that pipeline to bring through that process. That’s what Honestly, I’m most excited about doing -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  23:02  

fantastic. And then you going back to the core part of what you’re known for, which is is the virtual keynote side. What are you finding is being your most successful lead source? Where is what’s working for you from a marketing and sales perspective, just now 

Lead Source

Joshua Seth 23:19  

referrals and previous relationships. And I’ll go back to what I said at the beginning about being a trade show magician, an info Taner essentially 15 years ago. So what I was telling the people at conferences, you don’t need to approach 1000 companies, you don’t need to have 100 clients, I only had four. But one of those four was Pfizer. And they hired me dozens of times a year. Yeah, you need to just keep maintaining your relationships and exploring what you can do together, and serving those people. Well, now, as I said, I would like to bring in more relationships. But most of my work comes from agents and bureaus that I’ve known and worked with for years, clients that have hired my time and time again, in different capacities for years. And friendships that I’ve developed along the way. I’m a big believer in relationship marketing, you know, first giving more than is asked for or expected or promised even and over, under-promising and over-delivering, and then just finding more and more ways to work with one another. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  24:24  

Well, it’s been it’s been great having you as a SpeakersU member because what I love watching is, you know, we will put like a new monthly training will be on the email coaching together and what I’ll share something with you and the other members, and you’re always at one of the first to execute you make it happen. You don’t know, you don’t get into big theoretical discussions about it like, Okay, let’s try this. And it’s great. And so I’m so happy seeing you so busy just now as well and doing everything that you’re doing. And it’s going to be great as we start to open up. You’re gonna get even busier because you’re not really you have impersonate now, you’ve got Virtual, you’ve got all these other things as well. So it’s going to be great to watch as you go on for these next few months and years.

One Thing 

Joshua Seth 25:06  

Thank you for that. May I give a piece of unsolicited advice to total viewers at home? So how is it that I do that when I spend so much time with my kids and I have other gigs and things going on? How do I execute like this? It’s not like I have more hours in the day or more energy. It’s years and years of this process. I decide each evening, what’s the one thing that I want to accomplish the next day that will move the business forward, that’s the key one thing that will move the business forward, which are not emails and and staying on top of stuff. It’s creative, it’s creating something new. And then that’s the first thing I do after I get the kids off to school. The next morning, I write something, I film something, I design something, I create something, I do that first, I leave out my third book. My third book was when I did for a couple years speaking in the education market, it’s on focus, it’s on finding focus. And mostly spoke to incoming classes and graduating classes about how to be a high achiever. And that’s really the biggest takeaway is just find that and do it every single day. Its consistency, its discipline, and its focus. It doesn’t need to be a lot. You only need to do one thing, it doesn’t even need to take a lot of time. It just needs to get done consistently. -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  26:23  

Fantastic. Great, great advice there. Joshua says, where’s the best place for people to go to learn more about your programs, you’re emceeing all the other things you got going on just now.

Joshua Seth 26:33  

Sure, you can go to And if you click the free button, I’ll have all kinds of freebies there for you, including a five video mini-course and a download of my focus book and I’ve got a self-hypnosis program for confidence and energy and everything else I can think to put up there just to give away to you guys, and if you need anything, you can always email me through the -How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker

James Taylor  26:56  

fantastic Well, I know you’re on the virtual stage in a few minute’s time. So I’m gonna let you go away and get on stage. Joshua says thank you so much for joining us today on the SpeakersU podcast.

Joshua Seth 27:06  

Thank you so much for having me.

-How To Become A Top Virtual Emcee And Hybrid Keynote Speaker