Push the Limits of Your Speaking Business – #139

Push the Limits of Your Speaking Business

Entertaining and unreservedly direct, our guest isn’t just a motivational speaker – he is a company turnaround specialist driving everyone from CEOs to schoolchildren to ignite excitement and action in their life.
For more than 20 years, he has been on his quest to make you the best by sharing his techniques and tools to break through the boundaries we put up around us. His always animated and interactive presentations have inspired thousands of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 delegates, school children, charities, and prison inmates, in groups of five to 5000 and all over the world, into taking positive strides in their work and personal life.
No longer living the dress rehearsal of their life, his words whip up listeners into action; energized and passionate.


  • How long have you been speaking?
  • What is your speaking biz model?
  • How did you become speaker of the year from Vistage Ace Footdown and YPO?
  • Why do you specialize in CEO groups?
  • How many books have you written?
  • Why books can be a massive income producer
  • Why speakers are more concerned with testimonials than re-bookings
  • How to get rebooked even before the first event



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 speakers you podcast a show for aspiring and professional speakers. This episode is with my co-host Maria Franzoni. Enjoy the episode, entertaining and unreservedly direct. Our guest isn’t just a motivational speaker. He is a company turnaround specialist driving everyone from CEOs to schoolchildren to ignite excitement and action in their lives. For more than 20 years he has been on his quest to make you the best by sharing his techniques and tools to break through the boundaries we’ve put up around us has always animated interactive presentations that have inspired 1000s of footsie 100 and fortune 500 delegates of schoolchildren, charities in prison inmates in groups of five to 5000 and all over the world into taking positive strides in their work and personal lives. No longer living the dress rehearsal of their life, his words, whip up listeners into action, energized and passionate. Please welcome to the show. Nigel Reznor.

Nigel Risner 1:06
What a welcome what a welcome what a welcome.

James Taylor 1:10
Welcome to that now

Maria Franzoni 1:12
that was quite an introduction there, James. Thank you for the house. Wow.

Nigel Risner 1:15
See more than a speaker that he’s gonna be like,

Maria Franzoni 1:19
yeah, he carries me through this program. Nigel, it’s lovely to see you. And I’d like to know how long you’ve been speaking because I you know, I’ve been in the industry for a while. And I think you’ve been there all the way through.

Nigel Risner 1:31
So I did my very first speech in September 1997.

Maria Franzoni 1:39
Wow, no longer the mix. I started April 1998. So you have been around throughout my speaking.

Nigel Risner 1:46
We’re both looking so young. We could be the parents of James here.

Maria Franzoni 1:49
Oh, my goodness gracious. Oh, what I don’t like about stream yard is that I don’t have the zoom-in zoom, you have this filter where you can put it straight to the maximum and have instant Botox. You don’t on this. But anyway, so So yes, you’ve been around a while then shall we say so tell us before we go into more depth. What is your speaking business model? What does it consist of?

Speaking Business Model

Nigel Risner 2:10
So I’m slightly lucky that I have three parts to my business. I specialize in chief exec groups. And my business was a bit weird because I started my business doing chief exec groups in November 1997. by pure luck, because my next-door neighbor when I was two, ran the Academy for Chief execs. And my father introduced me to the party and said, I don’t know what my son does. I don’t really know what you do, but YouTube should meet. So I did the SEO group nearly by mistake having never really spoken to large groups before. And within minutes, I then got involved in 40 groups then got involved with Vistage, which now owns the Academy for Chief execs then got involved with YPO Young Presidents Organization, EO Entrepreneurs Organization, foot down a Cosmo, which is the Academy, the chief exec for nonvoluntary organizations. I mean, it went ballistic within about a year and a half. And I did 500 CEO groups literally around Europe and the world without really having a speaking business. But what happened was every group that I did the co2 You need to come into my company. So I didn’t do keynote speaking for about three years. I did see Oh, groups, companies. And then remember the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management. Yes. Very well. You have to the James is too young fellas, he’s about 11 At this point, but you’d have these regional events in all up and down the country, you’d have 40 or 50 people. But the pinnacle was the insert of the Sales and Marketing Management Conference in the IIC. In Birmingham, we’d like to 1000 been, yep. And I and I happen to meet Patrick joiner at an event in Brentwood. I mean, I mean, I can remember so many of these specific events, and he then invited me to their main stage. Now I’d never done a 20-minute keynote. I mean, a 20-minute keynote compared to a three-hour training session is unbelievably hard. Most speakers make the mistake of thinking a trainer can be a keynote speaker and vice versa. A keynote speaker can be a trainer. It’s totally different skills. Fortunately, I nailed the event. But that was a bit of luck. Because Subsequently, it took me a bit of time to learn how to be a keynote speaker. It needs a totally different skill to nail a 40-minute speech compared to a two-hour three-hour training. And if you think about someone like Michael McIntyre, or any of the comedians that do their show on Wembley, they do like 100 practice shows to nail the material so they really fine-tune every story. Most keynote speakers may include and I’m sure James will know about this, that you practice the old Story, and then hope you can fit it in somewhere. And then you practice a bit of it somewhere where clients paying you, we need to be really careful, because you’re getting paid to be your phenomenal nurse. And then you want to add in a story. Well, it’s really hard just to add in a story, if you don’t do it live, because then you don’t get the feedback if that makes sense. So my business is SEO groups, keynote speaking through fantastic agents like yourselves, and when you had your speaker Bureau business, and then my existing clients, who I’ve now been working with for nearly 24 years, and I coach about 10, to 12 CEOs every month, and half of them come to my house, and half that we meet in fantastic restaurants all over the London. So then I’ve got my books, which is a whole side. And now I’m going to give you a new side that we have a license for my animal model. So we have licensed zookeepers in seven different countries that are using my material, the payer license to use the material, and I train them. So that’s a quick answer or along after the short answer question.

Maria Franzoni 6:11
Names I’m showing you want to be

James Taylor 6:14
like this, the Vistage group, I’ve never spoken to any of the kind of Vistage groups a good friend, we probably know him, David Averin. You know, he does lots of these Vistage groups in the United States. And he can explain a little bit about that kind of CEO groupings, they’re, they’re a little bit different than they’re quite long. They almost like that kind of training kind of workshop-style, rather than the keynote, as you say, you became a speaker of the year and couldn’t work with Vistage YPO. Talk us through what does that engagement model looks like? What do you have to be really, really good at in order to engage that type of audience?

Nigel Risner 6:50
Okay, so it’s a brilliant question because imagine you’ve got 15 Maria’s in a room. Okay, visualize that nightmare. Number 15. Maria is in a room of known competing companies, all 15 think they know more than the speaker? That’s me. Yeah. And you’ve got to entertain them for anything between two to four hours, by giving them information, which they’re going to try and plagiarize back to their companies. They want some instant Now notice, as I call it, they want some new knowledge. So imagine James, I came on here to teach you the smart method for goal setting. Well, obviously you’ve probably heard it, Maria’s definitely heard it 20,000 times. So I have a smart method that goes in, but it’s different from everyone else’s. And I’ve adapted it to the current world. And I’ve now gotten smarter. So I’ve added two extra letters at the end. So it needs to be enjoyable and rewarding. And then I’ll ask people, how they maintain their relationships with their team, then we’ll do some exercises. But what you’re really trying to do with a Vistage group is they’ve given up a lot of their time. And if you visualize 12 CEOs of businesses between 40 and 4000 staff have allocated four hours to a speaker. They want knowledge and nuggets they can use there and then you might be James talking about the internet, the economy, Bitcoin, you might be talking about something esoteric in one way, you’ve got to think how are they going to use it because otherwise, they could just read that stuff online. They need to feel and experience something. And too many speakers are desperate for acknowledgment of bookings. Now, the advantage of being speaker the air from the Academy chief execs foot down, Vistage, I don’t need their approval, I’ve got the awards on my wall. I’m lucky in that sense. I’ve got the trophies. So my job is not to impress anymore, is to give the value so they invite me back to their companies. And too many speakers Maria, y’all know that they’re looking for glory points instead of long-term value. When we all started, we wanted these fantastic testimonials. Testimonials, don’t pay your mortgage. And I’ve tried giving testimonials to my to Waitrose and they don’t accept it as payment. What they have just paid is really bookings and cash at the bank. So speakers have got to realize if you give value, long-term value, and tips they can use immediately. There’s a chance of getting rebooked. So

James Taylor 9:22
if we think like a customer value proposition, any companies that launch a new product or service or a speaker’s launching, when the first things you think about the target market segment market that you’re kind of going after you mentioned, you specialize in CEO groups and I know I probably speak to kind of similar groups, C suite VP kind of level, and is that I had an event recently where I’d gone from doing a whole bunch of C suite kind of event, and then suddenly doing two things. As you mentioned, it was the ICC in Birmingham, same venue, and it was 2000 frontline workers for people on the front end in retail stores and Having a bit of a head like oh, okay, this is a very different group. I’m sure I’m gonna have to change in language and things. So I’m interested to hear your perspective. Why do you love speaking to CEO groups? Why do you specialize

Speaking To CEO groups

Nigel Risner 10:13
in? I specialize by mistake. I also do anyone who’s involved in leadership, I don’t often talk to the frontline delivery staff. I did, I did a conference with Debenhams in the old days where anybody who managed more than two people, and there were like 5000 of them over a series of 10 weeks, I did them all. I really want to work with people who are in some sort of leadership role. Because as you know, we lead people and we manage things. I like to help and support people who’ve got to lead to people to get the best out of them. So I love working with CEOs, leadership teams, where they’re going to inspire other people. So when I’ve gone they’re going to take my message and share it with other people

James Taylor 10:56
to talk about there’s the leverage you’ve got, you’ve got leverage in your intellectual property in your knowledge.

Nigel Risner 11:01
And when I did the housekeeper’s Association in Great Britain. Okay, so I want you to visualize housekeepers of hotels, what comes to mind, I’ll ask both of you what comes to Bob, when I say the housekeepers of Great Britain,

Maria Franzoni 11:15
think of the two ladies that used to go around sorting outhouses, you know, the one with the bun, baggy? coming the other lady’s name, what would be completely wrong?

Nigel Risner 11:25
Audi, yeah, okay, the head of Gleneagles housekeeping, is wearing a Chanel suit has 400 staff, okay. And they all look better than the three of us trust me, okay, I’m sure they do. But I had to quickly then think about, they have to manage and lead a team, they got to manage millions of pounds of equipment, and purchasing, and lead hundreds and hundreds of part-time staff. And all of a sudden, you then have to change your framework as a speaker in what your delivery is, do some motivational speech, reach your goals. Yeah, go for it. Standard chairs reach for the stars, they need practical advice that can make them even better make their hotels even better. So there are fewer complaints. So any speaker out there’s got to really think when they share that message, what are they going to do with that information? I don’t want to knock any other speakers. But there are a lot of speakers who’ve done to me brilliant 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and it’s great. They’ve got a gold medal in downslope skiing is brilliant. I’m not sure that’s going to help my hotelier unless we can find a way of sharing real practical tips about the preparation, how they did what they did, how they chose their equipment. David Brailsford, you know the Olympic cycling coach, you know that 1% marginal gains, but most speakers, it’s about them, I tell him very easily. If you like me to bonus mark me note now and then remark me in 21 days time, I take what I’m sharing, and use this information. And if you don’t like it, then I’ll send your money back. Because I’m confident with that stuff that I’m sharing is going to make a difference to them, their families, their relationships, as an example likey. Me Now when you’re working with a bureau, you want to make sure the bureau thinks you’ve done a great job. But what you really want is it 21 days or 42 days time, the client says we’ve implemented what Nigel said. And we’ve seen a difference. So I don’t really care quote, unquote, if they liked me on the day I care about they made a difference in 21 and 42 days time. Now I could do that because I’m a speaker of nearly 25 years. And I’m not precious anymore. I used to be because I wanted that glowing testimonial. I was speaker of the day I was the best I’ve ever heard. Well, if I’m the best I’ve ever heard that many speakers, that’s my new take on it.

Maria Franzoni 13:43
Okay, so listen, and as that’s part of your business, your business model, you told us that you’ve written books, how many books have you written Nigel?

Nigel Risner 13:54
I’ve written five books, I don’t think they’re I’ve written five books, but two of them are by what I call. It’s a bit like my steak. My Philips state that you know, I often will offer clients as part of my theme I package 100 copies of my book, but I do it in a very clever way. So Maria, pretend to book me for a speaking gig.

Maria Franzoni 14:17
Okay, Nigel is available on such and such a date. What’s your fee? Can we do the deal? How many

Nigel Risner 14:24
people will be in the audience? 100 people. So my fee includes 23 copies of my book.

Maria Franzoni 14:31
I 23. Nigel, that’s a weird number.

Nigel Risner 14:34
Normally, I’ll stop talking and they’ll say no, but there’s 100 of us. I said, Well, if you want to deal for the other 77 we can organize that. And if I can bring it on the day, we do a special deal and we do a hotel drop if you want. But I do something else that’s even cleverer than that. I booked the follow up in advance. Yeah, you know, when I leave a client, they’re going to want more. So I say to the client right at the very beginning, when I finished and y’all have had this James, I’m sure you’ve come offstage. And the CEO says, We must have you back to organize that is not easy. Because before you spoke, they love you. Now you’ve spoken, they’ve got other stuff to deal with. And I’ll often say, I’ve already got the follow up in the diary. Because if it wasn’t any good, then we’ll cancel it. So I’m 25% of all of my clients have a follow up in advance, we get as many of our clients to get books in advance for a book drop. And all of our books have knowledge they can implement immediately. A one of my books is a two toilet sitting book, they can finish the whole book in two toilet sittings and gain instant knowledge of you. I

Maria Franzoni 15:39
don’t know what people I don’t know what people do on toilets, but I don’t read in the toilets.

Nigel Risner 15:44
But have you ever seen the Book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? Of course, have you ever finished it? I mean, no. Okay. Here’s my point. So if you don’t want to, I don’t know, do. 8 million people have got the book and about three people have finished it. What I wanted to do was have the reverse, make sure that people could read the book, finished a book and do something different. And so we wrote a book on communication in four styles. So the four different animals who’d read the book in their own style. And we’ve now got it translated around the world, we’ve got zookeepers around the world using it. And lots of companies use it in their induction process. So when they join the company, they read the book, and all of a sudden they go, now I understand why I find it difficult to talk to James, because he’s talking crypto language or some hyper different way of the world. And then Maria needs short, sharp facts she doesn’t want any messing about she doesn’t want to know how you are she just wants to get information. That’s true. It’s true. That’s why I’m saying it. So if you understand personality styles, all of a sudden t work works. Then when you’re communicating as a speaker, life is easier. So books are really key as a speaking the problem for most speakers. They think the books are the answer. Books are part of your speaking business. And most speakers should have a book now. And in hardback, it’s great having an ebook, but people like to physically touch a book, we sell 1000s of books compared to our Kindle version. You know, all of our books are on Kindle. We sell many more hardback and Kindle, and they’re half the price. I mean, it doesn’t make sense, but people want to touch a book, and they want to feel like there’s a good bit of you home.

James Taylor 17:24
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 strategies, 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 speakersu.com. This week’s episode is sponsored by speakers, you the online community for international speakers, speakers, you help 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 speakers, you will teach you how just go to speakers you.com to access their free speaker business training.

Maria Franzoni 18:11
Let me just quickly touch on some of these comments that we’ve got coming in before I hand back to James because I’m sure you’ve got a great question to ask. And so Ty is saying what’s a good way to introduce yourself to CEOs with limited face to face interaction? Is it a phone call? Is it LinkedIn or is it email?

Introducing yourself to CEOs

Nigel Risner 18:28
Okay, so remember, the CEO has got about 17 minutes maximum of attention span. Okay, that’s all you’ve got with Maria 17 minutes. Do you see that? Yeah, well, I know that when I’m with you, I’ve got 17 minutes of a phone call once we’ve connected. So I tell all my CEOs, I’m going to give me 17 minutes of your time, a headline that will tell them what difference you can make to their organization at the moment. Because they live in what we call an expectation economy. They expect something now they can use. So share some facts that are going to make their business better. Get in get out really quick, and no waffle. They cannot stand waffles. Don’t start saying how wonderful you are and how many awards you’ve gotten for your best-selling author and speaker. They don’t care. It’s all about them. Lion. It’s all about them, isn’t it? It’s all about you.

Maria Franzoni 19:17
Absolutely, absolutely. There’s a nice comment as well from Alice Frost, who saw one of your talks online the other day, he said he brings great energy to the stage loved it. Given that there may be fewer live in-person events in the future. I’d love to know how he thinks these in person performances may change. Will these audiences be easier or harder to engage?

Nigel Risner 19:38
Okay, so this is a phenomenal question. My average speech is only 42 minutes. So, James, I don’t know how long your speeches are. My average speech is. 42 minutes when I do a keynote. That’s as long as people can stay in the room. I want to be really clear and I start with the bank the middle bit, okay, at the end bits phenomenal, because you’ve got a very short time to engage people. And if you’re on Zoom, or WebEx or any of this, but go straight into it, none of this Good morning, it’s so lovely to be here. I really want to thank you, Maria, for inviting me onto the speaking business TV. It’s lovely to be haven’t seen him for so long. But what I’d like to do is I’d like to share seven aspects of speaking business, people don’t care. Just give them a fact that the average person spends 50% of their time not in the room. And we call it MPs missing, presumed selling. So, James, you’ll know when you’re speaking at an event, half the people are on their phones, either taking notes or playing Candy Crush. The problem is you just don’t know which 50% It is. So I tell people, I’d like to take notice. Don’t take notes, any notes you need, I’ll send you if you just email me. Now I’d like you in the room. And that’s my opening line. I don’t do business report. I just grab them and share information differently the first second you’re giving them information. So you could do it on Zoom. You could do on WebEx, I’ve seen speakers die on stage in a live audience with round tables with the lights on with everything you need because they’re not interactive in the first five seconds. The average person needs to be engaged, they need to be shocked with some statistics. So we just did a statistic that said 90% of the staff spent 90% of their time doing routine shite. Now James is the speaker, you went to Ukraine as I went to New James. Yeah. In a nutshell, tell me the day that you spent going to Ukraine and what your day looks like. So you got picked up at your house at what time?

James Taylor 21:31
on that flight. I actually flew in the day before the event. So I think I got picked up about 7 am

Nigel Risner 21:36
ish. I got to Heathrow like nine o’clock. No,

James Taylor 21:40
actually, I didn’t live in London. So I actually went to Edinburgh, and then get a flight to Heathrow and then Heathrow. Even worse, even worse.

Nigel Risner 21:48
Yeah. You go to Scotland, you then get to Heathrow, then you wait, you wait for your and you probably did business. So you got a bit of a lounge somewhere. And then you get picked up by Ilona and her team. And then you have a dinner. You most of that first day you didn’t do very much. That’d be fair.

James Taylor 22:05
Yes, I filmed I filmed the whole thing, because I can use that for content afterwards. But

Nigel Risner 22:10
most of that day was not living your highest purpose and your highest vision. Most staff are not spending most of their time doing the stuff they love to do. I spend half my time traveling, waiting on a line waiting to get on to do a YouTube, whatever it might be. If you then think about staff, 9% of staff or 29%, that time do routine stuff. So they can live their highest vision. When you share that to an audience. And you realize how much money they’re wasting by people not being effective. You grab people’s attention. Does that make sense? So I will shock an audience with a statistic that is true, by the way, don’t give people stuff they can check online if on it is not true.

Maria Franzoni 22:50
So given the source, I would say sorry, excuse me, there’s

Getting people’s attention

James Taylor 22:53
something you mentioned there. Like I’m just thinking about that Ukraine day and something I’ve noticed from going from virtual now going back to in-person, I would use less. And if I’m using PowerPoint, I’m using probably one slide every three minutes or in-person before pre-COVID Free pandemic. When doing virtual, I’m probably using one slide every one and a half minutes. It’s good, it’s going a little bit faster. And then I experimented going to Ukraine, I thought, I’m going to be interested to see if people kind of got used to everyone’s living in tic to land and doing that stuff, whether I need to keep that pace. So I actually experimented, I thought I should I’m gonna go at Pace level when doing a virtual which is much quicker. In fact, the speaker that was on before me, who was from Belgium, I believe he actually did a similar thing. And he was like very, very fast. And then I saw a speaker who came on after us who, who kind of went in the old way of doing it where it was, I think it was maybe one slide every five minutes or thereabouts. And I was watching the audience and I was getting Oh, this is interesting. And I don’t know what your take on this is but I’m noticing this a lot also in things like music, for example now where musicians realize you have to pull people in that first five seconds, even on things like TikTok and a lot of apps now, basically, you got five seconds if you don’t put us and so I’ve seen musicians do things like in that first five seconds, do something there’s really like pulls you in, even though actually no relation to the rest of the song.

Nigel Risner 24:31
Sounding shocked that this is 50 years old people said grand people, share some stories and then relieve them that leaves them with. take with them. That’s a key. So the idea in the old days, we’d say you know, you’d say I’m going to tell you a story. I’m going to tell you just tell them the story. Don’t tell them what you’re going to tell them and they don’t really tell if they got it.

James Taylor 24:54
And then at the end, but is that different? So can you mention this at the keynote that they start you said to During keynote and training the different animals and different things,

Nigel Risner 25:03
I still start oath I start exactly the same for training and Keynote to grab them longer to share in training, some stuff to do. But in a keynote, 42 minutes, you better be on point, you don’t have too many things to share.

James Taylor 25:20
So on your training, though, let’s say it’s two and a half hours, you pull them in at the start exactly, you do as a key or Keynote, you can want to get that I caught a cold open, you’re going to bring that person in, in that the center of the training, would you actually say to them, this is where we’re going get giving them a sense of the map of where they can go the two hours and half hour?

Nigel Risner 25:38
I don’t, which is what makes me a little bit different. Yeah, so it’s different. Yeah, I’ll have some crying within an hour. Yeah, I’ll have them laughing within two hours. And then back to where I started with. I’m known as someone who does open heart surgery without an anesthetic. I dig really deep really quickly because I’ve got time to bring them back together. I don’t have time in a keynote to dig deeper. So this is gonna sound a little bit disrespectful. But y’all get this I offer three speeches, Chinese, Indian and Nigerian. Have you got shot?

James Taylor 26:13
I’m intrigued. I’m intrigued about where we’re going.

Nigel Risner 26:15
Okay. Chinese food, Maria? Yes. After about an hour, what normally happens?

Maria Franzoni 26:21
I’m hungry again.

Nigel Risner 26:22
Yeah, there you go. So that’s your classic keynote speech. You do your 42 minutes, everyone says it’s great. But in an hour’s time, the next speaker comes on, you can do some more? Have you added the food? James? Oh, yes, I

James Taylor 26:33
love my name food? Or do you have it like every week? No. Otherwise, it’d be three times the size.

Nigel Risner 26:39
Most people in England have a curry-like once or twice every week or every two weeks. So Indian is where it’s a bit deeper, as I’ve called it, but it’s still not really the massive stuff. Have you had Nigerian food? No, actually, I’ve never had Nigerian food because I’ve been to Nigeria three times, and it’s still in my system.

James Taylor 26:58
Okay. And no residents.

Nigel Risner 27:02
What I’m saying is I offer my clients a choice to say, I can do the Michael McIntyre stuff, I could do that 40-minute burst. But most people are going to more of it within a week or a month, the stuff you’re going to be a bit more trusted to be able to dig deeper. A Nigerian is when you really go deep. So I was in Nigeria, just before lockdown. I mean, it was a heavy session with three YPO groups. And we had lots of tears, we had lots of emotion, there was dancing, but lots of big stuff came out. You can’t do that in 42 minutes. I’ve done firewalks with some of my teams. You can’t do that in 42 minutes. So you’ve got to think about how you use your audience and where your specialty is, I like slightly longer than 42 minutes. The problem is if you think about the conference world, you’re not going to be given more than that the first time you speak because you’re not a trusted advisor yet. So I’ve done what Ukraine said eight times. So I now I’ve done 40 minutes, I now do a whole day with the whole team. But you’re not going to get to chapter a whole day unless they trust you. So you’ve got to look at where you’re speaking businesses and say, What’s my biggest specialty? It took me longer to become a keynote speaker than to become a trainer. So I’m a professional speaker, who has written books who coaches who also does speeches. So it’s slightly bizarre, most speakers think they can do it all. It’s very, very hard to be able to move your material and be fresh. And one of the questions we spoke about before is how do you keep your business and your speaking career fresh? Because I’ve been doing it I’ve had some audience have heard me speak 20 times.

James Taylor 28:42
So you’ve had 27 years in this business 2425 to 25 years in this business. And topics have become some topics being fashionable, some kind of go out of fashion, some of that kind of evergreen ones, what have you, how have you, you’ve kind of stayed with a central topic and just kind of adjusted a little bit of the tonal side based upon what’s relevant at that point. Or have you every five years like writing a new book, you can go into a slightly new topic, what’s been your strategy?

Selecting Topics

Nigel Risner 29:11
Okay, so I started off with something called the 10 steps to success. The problem is I forgot some of them. So I then changed it to the four steps of success, because I can always remember four, I think, give them some extra steps. Then I wrote a book called the Impact code. And so it was how to create an impact in the workplace. Then I went to how to create a massive impact as a CEO. How to create impact as a leader is my big topic. But I could change the letter C of impact from comic relief to communication. Then I went to how to create a massive impact as a zookeeper. And so zookeeper to me is the analogy of leading your team, knowing you’ve got different animals in your company. Now we’ve gone one stage further, that we brought the zookeeper. The zookeeper principles for the office, where we’ve added new animals we’ve added your lightest mirror. So some people like you will go for what I call this friendly line that works into pride to a tiger, we just eat your own. If you don’t get yourself sorted out, I was a monkey can be really funny. And if I get pissy, I can turn into a hyena, and I’m not funded. Like an elephant, James, you might go what I call a little bit Rhino, where you’re going solitary, go into your little den, and then charge for documentation and then upset some people. So what happens in the workplace is that when your workplace is, at best, you need to manage the zoo. But what happens when you get disruptive animals what happens when you’ve now had COVID, where you’ve got people who are not working in their normal environment, where you’ve had people working on their own, for someone like me, I’ve loved being on my own, which is strange as a monkey, because I like other people, but I’ve quite enjoyed my own space. But there are some people right now who are missing their colleagues, desperately. And the CEO has said, we will come back into the office after the team is going, why we’ve made more money not being in the office, not traveling, spending an extra three hours at home, why we’re doing it. So we’ve adopted new working relationships, for principles of working and best practice in the workplace. So I’ve changed my speech probably seven times over the last 25 years. But it’s still good to hear. But there are still some core principles, Maria, people, you know, my biggest messages, if you’re in the rugby in the room, that’s still the same message, the 25 years, you’d need to be present, you’d need to be here, you need to communicate like a zookeeper. You need to be passionate to some my core principles are lifelong principles. They’re never going to change. But what you’ve got to do is to adapt, where communication is how you send messages. A book suggests that take home for people, it’s about taking, they get a chance, take a little bit of your heart home with them.

Maria Franzoni 31:56
Do this, we’re going to ask you one final question and then we’re going to let you go. You mentioned previously that speakers are more concerned with testimonials. And those testimonials. You’ve taken them to Waitrose and they don’t pay you think they should be more concerned with re-bookings. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Nigel Risner 32:16
So when I look at most speakers, I’ve done coaching of speakers, I used to run a speaker’s Bootcamp by opening the line and you want to preach that there are only two ways to be a great keynote speaker. One is a phenomenal 42-minute speech. And the second is to be phenomenal at marketing. Because unless you can market yourself and put yourself out there and ask for business, you’re not going to get it. And the other is to be phenomenal in that 42 minutes. If you’re not being rebooted, and you’re not getting recommendations that you’re not that good, because the world is such that when I do a speech, the only thing I’m interested in is the LinkedIn comments or Facebook, etc. About what people have said about me. And I’m not the nicest speaker. I’m not like James who’s polite. well dressed. He follows the system. I’m I’m a bit of a I was gonna say, bully. That’s the wrong word. I mean, Emmerich Yeah. But I’m, I’m a bit in people’s faces. I’m challenging people within five seconds, do something different. If you want to know why your business sucks. It’s because you suck. That’s one of my best lines. So you’re not going to get rebooked on personality. What you are going to do is get rebooked on results. So, be upfront be results orientated more than applause orientated. Getting a standing ovation does not pay your mortgage being we booked well. So being rememberable, big recruitable being you know, all that stuff is great. What you want to do is look at your rebooking rate and without blowing smoke up my own ass, my rebooking rate is one of the highest in the UK. And I know it because I see where my work comes from. I don’t have to be doing hundreds, hundreds of new speeches. Because I know what my rebooking rate is.

Maria Franzoni 33:56
Brilliant, brilliant. So James, how can we get in touch with Nigel, do you have anything, to sum up for us?

James Taylor 34:01
I know Nigel before we came on, you mentioned that he’ll go to your website in Nigeria isn’t a.com You have mentioned that about the animal side, I’m sure we didn’t kind of get into fully into that. And so people I’m sure gonna be interested, you look at personality types, that

Nigel Risner 34:17
there’s a quiz online within literally one minute to find out which animal you are. And if you really want further information, there are books. There’s a personality assessment, tool, and quiz, which you can then invest in if you want, but within literally a minute, or we don’t ask for any names and addresses because we don’t want to be capturing a binding detail and then sending you spam for the next 20 years. We don’t do that. There’s a quiz. Do the quiz. Find out which animal you are. Get your family to do it. Get your colleagues to do it. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s unbelievably true.

James Taylor 34:47
Fantastic. Put that link there. So we’ll go to NigelRisner.com Nigel, thank you so much for coming on today sharing all that wonderful knowledge. The bit about the debrief calls afterward. I think that’s, that’s a crack me we’re gonna have to bring you back on the show to talk about that

Nigel Risner 35:04
whenever you want. Make it 2023, new information, new material.

James Taylor 35:08
rebooking. Thank

Maria Franzoni 35:09
you. Thank

Nigel Risner 35:11
you looking for to be involved. That’s all people get. That’s all I care about. Thank you so much for trusting me.

Maria Franzoni 35:17
And I think you’re very well.

James Taylor 35:20
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