How To Engage Millions Of People
How to engage millions of people
Our guest this week is Roger Fisk. He is a global communications expert widely credited with key behind-the-scenes roles in Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns. He served in both Administrations leading trade and diplomatic missions all over the world and more recently has been putting those experiences to work for Fortune 100 companies, causes, brands, and NGOs through his firm New Day Strategy. Roger provides analysis and commentary to Fox News, the BBC, Times of India, China Daily, SKY News, Bloomberg, and others.
• The Obama brand seems bigger than ever, any CEO/Speaker would love to know how do you sustain and continue to building popularity after 15 years?
• You speak about the importance of culture in communicating your message, how did the Obama campaigns use culture in order to create the change that they wanted?
• How do you get your people and your advocates singing from the same hymn sheet? (message discipline and control v leadership)
• Do you continue to work with the Obama’s (Michelle story)
• They called Judy Garland the triple threat because she could dance, sing and act. Obama was a triple threat- amazing on stage, on tv, and on social media. Any advice you can give speakers on how to translate their message across these v different media.
• What’s happening in terms of events and conferences in the US currently?
To book Roger: londonspeakerbureau.com
Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript
Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.
James Taylor 0:00
I’m James Taylor and you’re listening to the SpeakersU podcast a show for aspiring and professional speakers. This episode is with my co-host, Maria Franzoni. Enjoy the episode. Today we have phenomenal guests that are talking about going one step higher always trying to improve things. Maria, you’ve surpassed yourself you brought in a fantastic guest this week. Roger Fisk. Roger is a global communications expert widely credited with key behind-the-scenes roles in Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns. He served in both administrations leading trade and diplomatic missions all over the world, and more recently has been putting those experiences to work for Fortune 100 companies causes brands, and NGOs through his firm new date strategy. Roger provides analysis and commentary to Fox News The BBC Times of India, China Daily Sky News, Bloomberg, and many, many others. Welcome to the show. Roger.
Roger Fisk 1:02
Good morning. I’m so amped up after that music that’s quite the day here at 8:30 am in Washington DC.
Maria Franzoni 1:10
I love it. James says to me it sounds a bit like game show music but it just it makes me smile. And you know, we need excuses to smile these days at Roger, thank you for joining us loving see you.
Roger Fisk 1:21
Thank you and you know, you need a little bit of that, that panache that that little cheesy lounge kind of shot in the arm, you know, for the beginning of the show. So I you know to say it’s a game show kind of feel it is a good thing.
Maria Franzoni 1:34
Fantastic. Okay, well, listen, I’m going to start with a really big question for you. Let’s just go straight to the, to the juice right into it. Yeah, the Obama brand seems to be bigger than ever, after 15 years. And I’m sure that anybody listening in whether they are in business, or whether they are a speaker, of course, the speaker is also in business, but I’m sure they’d love to know, how do you sustain and continue to grow that popularity after 15 years?
Roger Fisk 2:03
Well, first off, thank you so much for having me. And thank you, James, as well. And Maria, I really, I treasure the friendship and the collaboration that we’ve had over these many, many years. It’s it the answer is a very nimble balance, to begin with, way back at the beginning because I started in January of 2007. then-Senator Obama said, listen, we’re gonna go out, and we’re gonna say exactly who we are exactly what we think and exactly what we hope to do. And if people respond to it, then we’ll move forward, we need to build an organization to allow us to absorb you know, people’s interest and scale that, but we’re not going to change who we are based on news cycles, or trends or anything else. And essentially, that core authenticity gave us a very fixed, strong, clear North Star for the organization to grow around. I always think of these things as kind of concentric circles. And as far as long as the core initial impulse, the individual that started it, or the idea or the product, knows exactly who they are, and what they hope to provide, then everything else that arranges itself around that can echo that core belief in that core authenticity. And then after that, it’s just a question of building an organization that buys into this that truly reflects that original kind of values and priorities. But then also can shapeshift and change with technological changes. For example, between the first Obama campaign in the second campaign, 2008, and ample, we had to navigate the migration from the desktop to mobile. Now, a lot of organizations or efforts would kind of lose a sense of who they are in the course of doing something like that. What we found was that that strengthened us, because one of the core priorities, also an organizing kind of strategic sense that Senator Obama laid out in front of us was that the entire purpose of this organization is going to is to give people give individuals the tools they need to enact change. And so even up and through, up through now, when you look at what he’s doing with his foundation, or what Mrs. Obama’s doing, it still echoes those same core values that he laid out 14 years ago now. And that’s how you can grow and scale. And then I think, just on a gut level, people appreciate authenticity. And I think people feel like they’re getting a clearer sense of who these folks are. And that creates a foundation of trust and communication. And once you have that, you know, the sky’s the limit.
Maria Franzoni 4:38
I love that. And it’s so simple, isn’t it? You know, who are we? What do we think are we going to do? That’s what everybody needs to clarify in their businesses and to be authentic. And also the other point you made about not changing not being swayed. I think it’s good and I hadn’t thought about the change of desktop to mobile that that was a big deal. And in fact, mobile still seems to be predominant. What’s the word platform? I suppose?
Roger Fisk 5:07
Yeah, I mean, the mantra now is mobile-first, right? Like, you have to start thinking of your, we barely ever talk about websites even more, right, we talk about apps, and that’s, that’s inherently then playing on the, on the ball field of, of mobile phones, it’s much more about focusing on the individual. And then the timeframe within which you can get people’s attention is much quicker. Because as we can all think of back when some of us used to take subways or buses, or Ubers, or anything else, you have, you know, three, four or five seconds to get someone’s attention, because they’re just scrolling through stuff. When they used to be sitting at a desktop, your window for engagement is much longer, you’ll have people with two and three, and four-minute visits per page. When in the mobile context, that’s two or three, four seconds, which is why what’s called the attention economy is so intense, and the competition to get people’s attention, get those eyeballs in those clicks, for even three or four seconds is the name of the game right now.
James Taylor 6:12
Russia used to pick up a lot about the importance of culture, and communicating your message. So I’d love to hear how did the Obama campaigns use culture, specifically to create that change that they wanted?
How do you sustain brand?
Roger Fisk 6:25
Yeah, it’s really interesting, and it gets more interesting, as I get a little bit more distance from it, you know, we were up against one of the examples I always use, or the or the metaphors is imagine just mixing up a bunch of random ingredients in your bathtub one night, and then saying yourself, like, let’s go out and compete against Coke or Pepsi or something. I mean, we were up against the Clinton brand, we that had, you know, two decades of momentum in the American consciousness. And so we were the upstart, we were the Renegade, we were the insurgent, and everyone that was the seasoned pro, everyone that was, quote, unquote, the people you have to hire when you do things like this, they were all hired by someone else. So you ended up with this kind of scrappy startup, you know, tinkering in the garage kind of culture, because I, for example, would never have gotten the level of job that I did in the Obama campaign in the Clinton campaign, because you know, that all they had to do was kind of sound the trumpet and bring together all the people that they had had for the last 20 or 30 years, the average age difference between our campaigns was about 15 years, for example. And so that that startup mentality allowed us to just kind of be much more a product of the 21st century rather than the 20th century. And then that started to inform how we did our onboarding, we had a very specific process that we put people through to try to kind of weed out some of the people that might not buy into the kind of larger kind of cultural goals, which were selflessness, politeness, humbleness, still being very hungry, still being very strategic, but walking into things with questions, and wanting to learn and listen, rather than walking into things with statements as if you already know everything. Because that’s how you have to do it. When you’re a startup, if you if you’re 1520 people in a startup, and you think you already have all the answers, you know, you’re gonna fail, you have to go out there and create more of a conversation with your targeted demographics, or your potential customers or clients, rather than just being an established 20th-century brand that just talks at people. So that’s kind of the two or three kinds of fundamentals of the landscape about how we were able to be a different culture. In essence, if you think of it a different way because we were forced to be,
Onboarding – Culture – Today’s world
James Taylor 8:47
and you work with a lot of different companies well, so I’m wondering that what you learned in terms of onboarding people into an organization into a cause they’re coming in for many different reasons, we’ve got the specific causes that they’re passionate about, and you’re trying to get them to come into this larger, cause. I’m wondering, like, if you were having to do that whole thing again, today, where we are not necessarily able to physically be together in the same space is kind of this is a question a lot of my clients have with onboarding of new employees just now is that before, you know, they would bring them to the place the offices that you could get the culture of the organization, organization across that way, or you had larger events for them. But there’s so much stuff happening online, that would be challenging. So if you can do this any kind of thoughts about how you would handle that onboarding, especially as relates to culture today?
Roger Fisk 9:39
Yeah, it’s very interesting. I did a podcast series with an organization in Singapore and talked to a bunch of CEOs about things like this. And what they ultimately to kind of simplify their very takes on this was that the leadership has to prioritize personal connections, and the CEOs and the SVPs and things Like that need to be, you know, picking up the phone and making sure they have 10 and 15 minutes of unstructured time with a new employee. The onboarding as well needs to be a two-way street, in the sense that this organization is bringing on this individual, but the organization, this reflects a lot of the work that I did with MIT, the organization’s bringing on that individual for a reason, right? So the organization really should allow itself to inhale and exhale with this individual and not just have that be speaking to them. This is who we are, this is what we stand for. This is what’s expected of you. But there’s a reason why the organization hires that individual in the organization should be looking to learn, why did you choose to come here? What was it about our brand or our cause? That got you excited about coming here and using that to constantly kind of evolve and self-improve. And then I also think that an important thing is, is stretching the onboarding process out in that kind of feedback loop 60 to 90 days, maybe even, you know, six months into the future so that you can circle back with new employees, and hear what their thoughts and their interpretations are of the organization and where there’s possible blind spots or room for improvement 60 and 90 days after they’ve come on board because there’s probably going to be a potential harvest of insights and thoughts about how the organization works, how decisions are made, how information flows around and things like that. So my larger point is, is like to not to think of it as just a single binary exercise where, you know, on Monday, someone’s off, not on staff. And then on Tuesday, they’re onboarded. And on Wednesday, they’re done. But more think of it as more of a conversation stretched out over many months, so that the organization can invite feedback, and get thoughts about, from people as they’re acclimating. Because there’s, there are opportunities for the organization to improve along with each new employee. And that’s one of the things that we did in the first Obama campaign was that everyone was consulted many months, even after you joined so that no one was, you know, just kind of checked off as a box, and then put to work. It was something that there was a mechanism to follow up with people and create that feedback loop that’s so important for culture.
Maria Franzoni 12:26
I love that. That’s great, great advice. I think you might have answered the question, I’m going to ask you because you’ve said what you did in the Obama campaign, what I want to ask you. After all, there were a lot of people involved in the Obama campaign, a lot of advocates as well. And how did you get them all singing from the same hymn sheet? Was it that continual communication? Or was there something else as well? Well,
Roger Fisk 12:47
in terms of our supporters and volunteers, one of them, one of the seismic changes in terms of how we approached people was we invited we created a tool for people to come in. And this is pre-Facebook, and create kind of a profile on our website, where they could not just receive news and read updates about who we were and what we were doing and what our agenda was, etc. But the individual could come in and start to generate interest in generating activity, they could import their contacts from their email accounts, for example. And then if you were a nurse, or a small business owner, or a scientist or anything else, and you wanted to go out and reach like-minded people in that, you know, profession, or if you just wanted to reach out to people in your neighborhood or something like that, we gave people the opportunity to come into the website and not just receive activity, but generate activity, which to me is a perfect example of the organization that cultural value that we discussed at the beginning here, of not just looking at people as kind of standalone persuasion exercises, but looking at them as part of a relationship part of a conversation. And really, we must give them the tools to bring about change in their own lives. And by inviting people into our website, that was a perfect example, instead of the 20th-century version of just talking at people like the old website model, who we are, what we’re doing, where we’re going to be, you know, news clips, etc. We said, you come on in you you tell us what we should be doing, should we be more active on nursing issues? And if so, what does that look like? How do we do that? And that is the that’s the embryonic step of how you create a relationship that now in for the, in the context of millions of people has lasted 15 years.
Maria Franzoni 14:40
I can see that being incredibly valuable to do whatever organization you are, whether you’re running a presidential campaign, or whether you are running a business to have that relationship, and also the exponential growth of more people becoming involved. Have you helped organizations do this too, as well as
Events in US
Roger Fisk 14:59
Yeah, I mean, there’s Yeah. There are some very simple things, right? Like, people respond better to questions than they do to statements. Right. It’s, it’s a fundamentally different way of approaching people, right? So if you just come up to people and say we’re valuable, you know, that’s different than saying like, what’s valuable to you? Right. So for example, and that can take the shape of, you know, I mentioned MIT earlier, they have, you know, events and clubs and or activity all over the world. And their model before I got involved was just to decide on an annual basis, what the themes would be for conferences in Santiago and Singapore, and Berlin. When I switched the model and said, Let’s do it from the bottom up. And six months out, let’s get in touch with the alumni in Berlin and the alumni in Singapore, you tell us what people are talking about in Singapore, I’m sitting in a conference room at MIT, I don’t know what people are talking about in Singapore. But that whole idea of flipping the pyramid, so it’s not the headquarters talking down to people, it’s the headquarters, speaking to each individual and say, You tell us what matters, what matters to you. And once you do that, once you apply that kind of philosophy, which is not complicated it can fundamentally change how you go about things. Because then you’re hitting people with questions rather than statements. And that changes the whole tone and the long-term value of what that conversation is going to be.
James Taylor 16:32
I’m James Taylor, keynote speaker, and speaker business coach, and this is the SpeakersU podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations that will help you launch and grow your speaking business fast new thought possible, then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss marketing strategy, sales techniques, as well as ideas to increase the profitability of your speaking business and develop your craft. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode, as well as free speaker business training at speakers u.com. This week’s episode is sponsored by SpeakersU the online community for international speakers, SpeakersU helps you launch, grow and monetize your speaking business faster than you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker, then SpeakersU will teach you how just go to SpeakersU.com to access their free speaker business training. So are you continuing to work with the Obamas now that they’re I mean, they’ve got podcasts there? I think former President Barack Obama’s here in Scotland next month for the cop 26 conferences, you continue to do what with them?
Working with Obamas
Roger Fisk 17:34
Well, pre COVID I did, I helped launch their Young Leaders Initiative for their foundation in Malaysia. And then much, much more fun. Was Mrs. Obama’s book tour, which I coordinated a lot of the media events on, especially internationally. I did Ottawa up in Canada, and I did I was in London with her for four or five days. And if I can tell a quick little story, tend to give celebrities a wide berth. Right. So for example, in Malaysia when we did the Young Leaders Initiative, Julia Roberts was with us for a couple of days and, and, you know, we say hello, and things like that. But you know, when my approach to people like that is, you know, similar to my approach with the Obamas when the whole world’s trying to get at these people, I prefer to just give them about 20 or 30 feet. And then if they need me, I’ll go over and I’ll, I’ll just discuss whatever needs to be discussed. But then, for the most part, stay out of their way. But I do have a thing for corgis. And when I coordinated Mrs. Obama’s visit to London, she went up to Windsor Castle to have lunch with a young couple that used to live there. And so that required me in the Secret Service and some other folks to go up there a couple of times before she went there. And I shared with the guy, literally the guy who has the keys to Windsor Castle, and I’m not joking at all. He has the keys to Windsor Castle in his pocket, was the guy who walked us around and showed us you know what was going on. And by like our second or third visit, he goes, You just missed her. And I was I didn’t know what he was talking about yet. And I was like, What just happened and he said that the Queen just came by on our horse with her Corgi. So I had missed my royal Corgi window during that trip with Mrs. Obama. But yeah, I continue to be involved with them and it continues to be an honor and a blast.
James Taylor 19:33
And you have to be careful because if you do things wrong here with the Royal royal family, you know we put you in castles in the middle of nowhere. We’re going to leave you there.
Roger Fisk 19:41
From what I’ve seen worse things can happen. But you know, I guess we’d have to see the castle first. Right?
James Taylor 19:48
We have some fantastic nice castles here. If you want to come and stay.
Maria Franzoni 19:53
Have James I’m going to switch to the next question. So I’m going to leave that question that I’m supposed to ask for you to ask because it’s a new question. So I’m going to switch it instead, I’m going to ask you, Roger, because I want to know, what’s happening in terms of events and conferences in the US at the moment.
Roger Fisk 20:11
I think people are, first off, there’s a pent up appetite to just getting back to whatever normal was, I think, you know, the larger messages people just as folks around the world, maybe a little bit different than Asia, but are approaching it a little bit more dial than switch, right, which is kind of trying to modulate on like, a month, by month or quarter by quarter basis, things are coming back in person, I think what you’re seeing, though, for a lot of your audience that are used to going out to, you know, various conferences and seminars where there’d be 2500 people in a ballroom or something seated, you know, for a day or two days of activities, that that ballroom probably has, you know, 1000 people in it, and that there are a couple of feet between each chair, that, you know, kind of how people get refreshments and how food is served. And all those things have kind of changed. But then each state, you know, because, you know, a lot of the power about regulating these things is with the states rather than the federal government. That’s why you can see, like Texas and Florida, being in some eyes a little too eager to open so that they’ve been burned a couple of times, you know, about a year ago, for example, southern Florida was, was open, and I think it’s widely accepted that they open too much too quickly. So I think people are about to, if you look at it as like, five, you know, one through five, like five, is fully open. I think people right now are flirting with like around between a two and a three, you know, trying to take those steps towards being responsible, but also trying to, you know, operate on the show business idea of the show must go on. So I’d say it’s, it’s, it’s cautiously optimistic, slowly taking steps back towards normal, but still realizing, you know, with a public health challenge like this, you never know, we could be, you know, you never know we could be closer to the finish line, we could be closer to the starting line. There’s just no way of knowing. So I think people are approaching it as more dial than then switch.
Maria Franzoni 22:18
Right? I think, yes, we’re seeing that a lot. And, yeah, our numbers are going up. Sadly, here, as we record this at the moment and stream this at the moment. So fingers crossed, they start coming down again.
James Taylor 22:29
You mentioned their show business, no business to business. It’s the call Judy Garland, the triple threat because you could dance. She’s saying she could act always fell, I had the pleasure of seeing President Obama speak before, I always can essentially, he was like a triple threat. He was amazing on stage. On TV. He’s fantastic. And social media is almost like a natural with that it’s new to people, his generation as well. So any advice that you would give speakers on how to translate their, their message across these very, very different mediums?
Roger Fisk 23:03
I think the most important thing is I back when I first started to work on press, and started to work on writing, talking points, and then and then writing speeches and things like that long before I ever gave speeches, I was writing speeches for John Kerry and people like that is that there’s a continuum and that there’s authenticity. Because for example, when people talk about novels, you never want something to come out of the mouth of one of the characters that are like jarring, right? And that is inconsistent with with with the rest of the characters. So like being, you know, very authentic and honest. You know, for example, you know, if you’re kind of loud and boisterous and willing to take risks, then then you should, you know, roughly, you know, maintain that kind of flavor across things. President Obama is relatively cautious, right, like the no-drama Obama kind of approach. But that’s consistent. So I think one of the challenges is when you go from, you know, the difference between delivering a 45-minute speech, and posting a 140-word tweet, or 140 character tweet, obviously is huge. But when you are, you know, truly tuned into exactly who you are, and what it is you want to say, there should be some kind of narrative cohesion, there. And then that’s the simplest way of trying to approach these things. Because if you start to try to act out of character, if you tell yourself like I’ve got to get, you know, more aggressive or more controversial or something like that, sure, it can kind of work but like in the long run, you’re not you’re the idea is to have as lucid and simple a connection between who you are and the voice that you use to reach out to people and the clearer that is and the more honest and is, then the easier it’ll be for you to maintain it. Because all you have to do is remind yourself to be yourself.
James Taylor 25:07
There’s an authenticity that I remember seeing years ago that watching a President Ronald Reagan thing on stage. And he just, he was like, just like such a natural in terms of being able to communicate as much as across. And I think a few years ago, I was interviewing Dr. Nick Morgan, who I know, in this area coaches, a lot of different politicians, and he told me the there’s a little thing that you see a lot of politicians do today, which is this, this kind of motion here that with the thumb and the hand. And he said you know how that came about? James. He said it came about because I don’t know who coached President Clinton But Clinton early on had a bit of a habit of doing the pointy finger thing.
Roger Fisk 25:46
Yeah, almost like a pre-stylus stylus.
James Taylor 25:49
Yeah, it’s kind of like you have to be careful with audiences like pointing fingers. So he whoever his coach was, maybe someone leaving the chat if you know who the coach was. Got him to do, like just take the finger and put it down. And so we have a lot more like the thumb. We have a lot of politicians here in the UK who do this. There’s a famous politician called Michael Gove who’s double down on it, he does a to thumb thing as well. But when I saw President Barack Obama speak, he does one, which is he does this is great at pausing between an RT Lanza line, but he kind of does this kind of thing with his hand in terms of using his like, like getting to the LinkedIn getting to the point. And he uses his hands very, very well. So you’ve seen him on stage have seen Michelle Obama on stage lots of times. Is there anything that you noticed, just from a, you know, a fan of the craft of communication that you saw their pros? Do they know what they’re doing? Yeah.
Roger Fisk 26:49
Yeah, it’s well, both are very natural, right? I think Mrs. Obama had to work on it, and just put in the hours to get to where she could be comfortable doing it. I remember I did. I was with her early when she started to go out and travel on her own and do multiple days, you know, solo, we did about 25 stops over five days in South Carolina, for example. And she just took it very seriously. And she devoured briefing material and things like that. When you mentioned the timing, it’s interesting, because that’s a very unappreciated skill. And it’s probably one of the most difficult to learn, which is the cadence, and especially when not to say something right, when to leave those two or three, second four second, windows, I always think of like, if you try to sing along with a Sinatra record, for example, it sounds like he’s very effortless and how he sings, but if you, if you try to sing along with it, everything is coming in kind of late. It’s the timing of it is really, you don’t realize it until you start to focus on it. But the timing of it is one of the things that grabs you in and holds you. And I think part of that, you know, it is just a natural gift. But I also think, you know, in Senator Obama’s case, being very, very tuned in to the individual. And watching, you know, people, and I’ll give it to the former president of the United States, President Trump as well, they don’t share a lot of things, but they both know how to read a room. Yeah. And I and I would assume that something that a lot of your audience’s very tuned into as well. Because even I’ve, in my small way, I’ve had, you know, little, you know, asides, stories, jokes, and I’ll read the room, and I’ll say, you know, what, I’m just not gonna, I’m not gonna throw out that that little story. That little aside, this is a very buttoned-up crowd, or if it’s like, I remember one time in Australia, and like, these, these folks, we’re just like, having a good time, I could tell everyone was relaxed. So I told a couple of stories that weren’t like in my prepared remarks, threw in a couple of jokes, that kind of stuff. And it just worked well. But like, I think both both both President Obama and President Trump are unparalleled in their ability to read a room. And then when you use that as a feedback loop for how you think about getting your point across, you know, that’s almost really the secret sauce,
James Taylor 29:28
very skilled communicators, very skilled. Roger, I’m sure a lot of people asking like, okay, I’d love to learn a bit more if maybe just hearing about you for the first time. What’s the best way for them to kind of learn more about your work, if we have people watching just now who are maybe looking for a speaker, they come into the next upcoming conference? Where should they go and do all that
Roger Fisk 29:49
for speaking I you know, I’ve been with the London Speaker Bureau since 2009. So, you know, and I’ve been through 25 countries and been all over the world with those folks. If you want restaurant recommendations in Kazakhstan, for example, I can help you out. But that’s it’s London speaker bureau.com My consulting firm is New Day strategy. So it’s new day strategy.com. And then any of my TV appearances and things like that can be found on YouTube or anywhere else. And I think at the end, we have a slide where folks can grab my email address and stuff like that as well. Yeah,
Maria Franzoni 30:26
exactly. Putting that on speaking. business.tv And we went, oh, one night,
James Taylor 30:31
Zach, is people go to speaking business.tv We’ll have all the links will be speaking about there as well. I noticed as well. You have this interesting, it’s a round table.
Maria Franzoni 30:39
I should change. I think that’s a mistake. I think that’s for a different show. I’m just reading that it’s not I apologize. Because yeah, we usually ask
Tip and Tool
James Taylor 30:47
all of our guests are just gonna share like a maybe a tip or the tool as we kind of finish up the show as well. Are there any things? Maria was very jealous of your microphone? As
Maria Franzoni 30:59
I am jealous? Yeah. No microphone.
Roger Fisk 31:05
This is a Toner. You know, I don’t think that windscreens do all that much, except they kind of look a little bit more official. So it kind of looks like I’m a little bit more serious than I am. But a to James’s question, because I, it’s a, it’s a serious one. You know, when I did Maria’s podcast about a year ago, or so we spent a lot of time talking about or she was kind enough to listen to me talk about how much I’ve listened as I’ve gone around the world because what I discovered was, you know, it used to, frankly, kind of annoy me at the beginning, when I started doing speaking engagements, where you have to go have tea with the mayor, or the CEO, or something like, you know, in some little, small green room, you know, tucked away somewhere in the conference. And I was just like, all right, I mean, I was nervous, you know, I’d rather just focus on doing the show. But what I learned was, and this is what I would leave your audience with is, you know, those 20 or 30 minutes have a lot more to do with the long term, flavor and relationship and value of that engagement. They are more important than almost whatever you’re going to do on stage. And what happened for me is, and I wish I realized this earlier, but I did ultimately realize it six or eight years ago, was that that was when you were getting the unfiltered feedback about what this organization wanted to do. Because when you do the conference calls with the marketing staffs and all that other stuff, like they, you know, they’re reading the tea leaves in terms of what the C suite folks are thinking and stuff. But then when you sit down, you know, in an unfiltered context with a CEO for half an hour, and it wouldn’t be unusual that they would clear the room as well, where they would ask all their staff, you know, all the people who think that nothing can happen without them, they would clear them out of the room. And we would have a completely unfiltered conversation about where that person is, where they’re trying to get the organization, what they think their strengths and weaknesses are, what some of the obstacles are. And I, you know, quickly realized that this was, first off a real honor, you know, it was a, it was an honor to be brought into that level of trust by this individual. And then I was, you know, kind of lifting the hood and looking directly into the DNA of that organization and exactly kind of where they wanted to go and things like that. So I quickly figured out that that window, that you are asked to spend in kind of a courtesy context or protocol context, with the leadership of your host organization or something, you need to be very, very tuned into that, because that’s how you understand who these folks are and what they want to do. But also that’s you know, just in an in a selfish context, that’s how you create trust and communication and ideally, a long term relationship with the organization. You’ve just
James Taylor 34:04
described one of the most important values of life in-person events, they’re not just the content, but the conversations all those things that happen around the bit where you go on stage as was such an important point.
Maria Franzoni 34:17
Absolutely. Well, listen, all that remains is to thank you so much for all your great advice. It was thoroughly enjoyed it. And to have a great rest of the day because it’s the morning for you.
Roger Fisk 34:28
It so enjoys everyone’s evening or afternoon or wherever they are in the world and, and thanks a ton for having me and safe travels to you and your audience as well.
James Taylor 34:38
You can subscribe to the SpeakersU podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts while you’re there. Leave us a review. I really appreciate it. I’m James Taylor and you’ve been listening to the SpeakersU podcast.