SL063: How To Stand Out In The Speaker Marketplace – with Steve Lowell

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Stand Out In The Speaker Marketplace

Stand Out In The Speaker Marketplace

In today’s episode Steve Lowell talks about How To Stand Out In The Speaker Marketplace.

Would you like to learn how to stand out in the speaker marketplace? In today’s interview James Taylor interviews speaker Steve Lowell about:

  • How to generate revenue from the stage
  • How to stand out as a speaker
  • A mess, a moment, a mission

Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

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

James Taylor
Hi, it’s James Taylor, founder of SpeakersU. Today’s episode was first aired as part of International Speakers Summit the world’s largest online event for professional speakers. And if you’d like to access the full video version, as well as in depth sessions with over 150 top speakers, then I’ve got a very special offer for you. Just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com, where you’ll be able to register for a free pass for the summit. Yep, that’s right 150 of the world’s top speakers sharing their insights, strategies and tactics on how to launch grow and build a successful speaking business. So just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com but not before you listen to today’s episode.

Hey, there’s James Taylor, and I’m delighted to welcome Steve Lowe. Steve is a sought after speaker and mentor and one of only 15% of professional speakers worldwide holding the distinguished, certified speaking professional designation. In addition to this, he is the 2018, national president of the Canadian Association of speaking professionals and on the board of the global speakers Federation, we’re gonna learn a bit more about that later, with a worldwide reputation for excellence and training, steeped coaches, executives, speakers and entrepreneurs in the art of winning over audiences using interactive educational and inspiring approaches, and as a result, exponentially increasing the influence and growing their businesses. And it’s my great pleasure to have Steve with us today. So welcome, Steve.

Steve Lowell
Wow, thanks for having me here. I’m so excited about this summit. And congratulations to you, James, for all the amazing work that you’re doing and bringing all these incredible resources together for your clients.

James Taylor
And you’re you’ve been traveling around the world because you, you about to become the president of the global speakers Federation. Is that correct?

Steve Lowell
Right. So I was the national president for the Canadian Association of Professional speakers in 2018. As you said, I’m now the immediate past president and I am now the vice president of the global speaker’s Federation. So I’ll be the incoming president in about a year or so.

James Taylor
So if anyone that doesn’t know about the global speakers Federation, and what it does, Tell, tell us about what the GSM is.

Steve Lowell
Sure. So there are 16 countries around the world, each of whom have a speaking Association like they do in the UK and in the USA. And in Canada. There’s 16 of these countries around the world that have associations for professional speakers. So there’s a central hub organization called the Global speakers Federation. And these associations from all these different countries, they belong to the Federation. Now the Federation is like this central body by which these associations can share best practices and, and collaborate and it’s just like a central hub where everybody can come together to make every Association stronger across the entire world. And so as the incoming president of the global speakers Federation, I’ll have a lot of opportunity to work with the boards of directors of all of the different speakers associations around the world. And this is how we sort of bring the internet National speaking world together.

James Taylor
And in addition to all the different national associations having their own conferences, global speaker Federation also has a conference it is every every two years, I believe.

Steve Lowell
Yeah, it used to be every four years. But we made a decision, I think last year to run it every two years is called the Global speaker summit. And the next one is actually in February 2020. And it’s happening in Namibia, in Africa. And we’re so excited about that. And we’re expecting, I don’t know, somewhere around 200, maybe 300 people, something like that. And, and this is a really great opportunity for speakers around the world who are either international speakers, or people who aspire to be international speakers to come together and meet some of the top global speakers on the planet and just and shake hands and ask questions and learn, share, grow and belong together. And we’re just so excited about it.

James Taylor
And everyone tells me Namibia is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. So it was just just go into the movie. Everyone’s telling me the radio About as a country to visit. So let’s let’s take a step back. How did you get into this strange, unusual world of professional speech? We’ll begin.

Steve Lowell
Well, you know, actually, it all began for me at the age of six years old. So when I was six years old, I was a musician, you know, and a bit of a ham. And so I love to play my guitar and ham it up on the stage. And then that turned into a professional music career for most of my early adult life. And then I guess that was in my mid 20s or so. And I stumbled across a zig ziglar video, and I thought it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I want that job. Because, you know, he’s got no equipment, he doesn’t have to haul stuff around. You know, he speaks for 40 minutes and he goes home and in the music business, you know, we had trucks and vans that we traveled on the road and we play all night long and then you do it again the next night and it was awesome, but it was just you know, it was it was time for change for me and, and so I got into the world. of speaking and then I started training speakers very early in my career. And I just seem to have a knack or skill for that. And then over the years, over the last 3035 years, I’ve been honing that skill, developing that craft and coming up with a lot of very unique content specifically for speakers to help them in different areas, not just stagecraft, and message construction, but really going deep into their expertise and into their experience and their wisdom and their creativity, and pulling out that profound piece of messaging that only they can claim ownership of. And so that’s kind of where it’s all wound up. And that’s what takes us around the world now.

James Taylor
And you mentioned Zig has been one of those early inspirations as you were kind of getting into the world of speaking. Who were the you know, the mentors that you had or Who were those speakers that you looked at? And you said, I like their how they built their speaking business because there’s so many different models for building a speaking business. But was there any that you went? That’s the kind of speakers I want to be able to speak in business I want to have.

Steve Lowell
Yeah, so I would say that the Zig was my primary sort of virtual mentor. I never really had any personal mentors to guide me through because I was always, how can I put that I was always a bit of a rebel. And I was one of those guys that needed to figure things out the hard way, you know, so I need to get in and do it wrong and screw it up and do it wrong and screw it up and then figure it out. It’s just my nature. But the, but the speakers that I that really motivated me, were speakers that probably your audience wouldn’t know, because these were speakers who were not out there on the public stage. But I would go in I would watch these speakers at at conventions and a corporate things and, and what I got really fascinated with was how they would be able to generate revenue from the stage so they would speak and then at the end, people would walk up and sometimes run to the back table to sign up to their to their stuff. And I was fascinated with how that works. And of course, there’s the other side of the speaking business where people speak for a speaking fee, and at I did that. And I did. I worked in the corporate space and all that. But there was something about those speakers that that really captivated me. And this is long before, you know, the Brendon Burchard. And the ones that are popular today, this was years before them. And so I really started to try and study their craft. And I’ll tell you, James, I never got it. I mean, I tried and tried and tried and tried and tried. And it never really happened for me until until fairly, but it’s a real skill to do. Oh,

James Taylor
cool, pretty new kind of keynote.

Steve Lowell
Oh, yeah. It’s it’s totally different. But I was fascinated by the process. And so I just really spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on. I even studied neuroscience to try and figure it out, and a whole bunch of things. And so I mean, we we have a system now that works for it. And I can talk a little bit about that if you like but those were the people that really motivated me the most the ones that could get on the stage. And and it wasn’t really for me about how amazing they were on the stage or how slick they were. Although Didn’t notice those things, but was really impressive to me was how were they guiding the audience to respond the way they want the audience to respond. And I was fascinated by that process. So that’s kind of where I focused all of my, my, you know, training.

James Taylor
And you remember point where, you know, in the early days, you were kind of trying to figure out that figuring out that blend of the obviously the psychology, the stage skills, finding your message where you were, was there a defining event or speech that you gave, we just kind of all seem to click into place and it seemed to work?

Steve Lowell
Yeah, well, there were many of those until it didn’t work the next time. Alright, so the frustrating part of it, James, you know, I, I worked something out and I would say, okay, it works. I did it. And then all I got to do is do that again. And then I go to the next gig and I do the exact same thing and it wouldn’t work, you know, and there’s like years of this trying to try to figure this out. So was there a defining moment I don’t think there was a day defining moment as because I think what happened for me was I had so many of these so called defining moments that I just sort of stopped looking for them. And what I started focusing on was, you know, building the the patterns of success over time. So there was no snap of the finger where it came to my awareness that now it’s working. And yesterday, it wasn’t, it was more of a process of learning and getting momentum and fine tuning. And now we kind of have it down to a bit of a science but you know, that there was no snap of a finger, you know, earth shattering, jaw dropping, life changing moment that made it happen, I thought there were you know, before that, but they turned out not to be

James Taylor
so talked about and in. No one thinks I often speak have a conversation with speakers about is around kind of positioning. Yeah. It’s, you know, one of the good things now is we have this just so many speakers coming onto the onto the market, all different topics. Obviously, we’re in trouble. Local marketplace now as well. And that’s fantastic, because there’s all these voices, new voices coming onto the stage. But the challenge that the flipside of the challenge is, how do you stand out? How do you find your own place in this marketplace? So I know when you are in sync, we were in Singapore recently in event together, and you were kind of talking about this idea of thinking about positioning and how you can stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Steve Lowell
Yeah, and there’s, there’s a lot of different angles around that, you know, there’s the social media angle, and there’s the website angle, and there’s the branding angle, and, and there’s all these different things you can do. And I tried to do all of those, and I wasn’t really very successful at any of those things. So that when I when I look at standing out being noticed, and we talk about positioning, I talk about it this way. And you’re an excellent example of this James and it’s, it’s like this is what do people attach your name to? What do they associate your name with? And so James, you know, you’ve done some magnetic If isn’t work with this summit over the years, and so people now associate your name to the international speaker summit. And you’ve got that. And that’s, that’s a big piece now, of what positions you and it’s a big piece of what what attracts people to you, in addition to everything else that you do. And so, you know, for me positioning is about what do people actually attach your name to. And so for Jane, and I and my wife, Jane and I, over the past five or six years, people have been attaching My name to what I call my rescue meter, and anybody who’s seen it, they know what it is. And and so that is the positioning thing for me. So I’m becoming known as you know, I’m becoming known as the rep meter guy. And I’m, you know, I’m very much in demand as a mentor for professional speakers around the world because of that rep meter model system that that piece that I do, which I can talk to you about. So positioning as a speaker, I don’t think that there’s any one specific answer to it, but a answer like an answer. That works really well is when you have something that is so profoundly unique, or at least that you express it in a way that is unique that people can attach your name to it. And it’s interesting because, you know, we hear a lot about differentiation, right? The marketing, people will talk about differentiate, and you have to be different. And what I’ve learned is James, you don’t actually have to be different from anybody else who does what you do, you only have to appear to be different. And so and so what I found is the way you appear to be different starts by changing the language that you use when you speak about yourself or your business. And then and the ultimate goal here is to change the language that the world uses when they speak about you. That’s the goal. And so you want to train the world to speak about you a certain way. And that starts by changing the way you speak about yourself. And then the other component to it is that your messaging isn’t it’s not enough that people understand Your message, they need to be able to repeat it, which means they need to be able to take your message, whatever it is, and apply it to their lives somehow. And then when they walk out the door, they need to be able to recognize opportunities in which your message resonates with them. And so that’s sort of the process. And so there’s an understanding, first of all, I don’t actually have to be profoundly different, I just have to appear to be profoundly different. How am I going to do that, I’m going to start by changing the language that I use in my messaging and about myself, and the way I speak about myself so that I can train the world to speak about me a certain way, and then make that message repeatable so that they’re speaking about me out there to other people. And so that’s sort of the positioning trajectory that we’ve developed and, and that we’re working on and, and that’s kind of what we what we bring to the table when we work with speakers and coaches and trainers and authors and all the nice people who do what we do.

James Taylor
So it’s a little bit like a new assistant, like Seth Godin talks about in terms of printing Our product, it has to be remarkable it has to be something that people remarked others about. Yeah, in order to kind of spread that viral nature, something something you mentioned in terms of positioning and creating those kind of statements, those those words, that you know, eventually you can have, you put them out into the world and they might be nothing people, but gradually over time, that means something in you, you connect you own that that phrase in the in the mind of the, of an audience member. One thing I often wonder about that is, you know, in part when I used to be involved in politics, we often message discipline, so disciplined with your message over and over again, to the point that people can repeat it, like, they get almost Confederate because they can just repeat it or that Oh, that’s such and such. But, and I find, you know, I think I think for as a speaker sometimes as we were interested in often so many different things, is how to how to have that that discipline Plan of continually, can you repeating that message? I mean, have you any thoughts about that? Because that could be a, you know, if your mind kind of jumps around for different topics, I could speak about this, I could speak but I’m really interested in this topic just now. How do you give yourself enough discipline to be able to focus on that word?

Steve Lowell
Yeah. And I love this conversation. Because, you know, I hear this all the time, as do you, I’m sure you know, you know, I never met her microphone I didn’t love and I can speak on anything like that. And, you know, I think that that philosophy can absolutely kill you as a professional speaker, because as you said, you want to have something that people can eventually, you know, attribute to you. So the discipline, I think, for me, the discipline was this, because I’m kind of like that, you know, I’ve got a lot of different things that I would love to talk on. But I had to make a conscious decision and I’m gonna, I’m gonna filter all this out, I’m gonna, you know, choose this particular lane. Now, that doesn’t mean a particular necessarily particular audience. But here’s what it meant meant for me is, once I had that, that piece of messaging that you Talking about I call it expert insights. By the way, that’s the word that a word that I picked up out of a book somewhere. And I call it my expert insights. And this is what we teach people to do is develop their own unique expert insights. But once you have your expert insights, it’s not about speaking, adjust about that, as much as it is being able to take that concept and apply it to different audiences. So for example, I can take this concept called the revenue meter and my expert insights, and I can speak to speakers, and I can spin it a certain way. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a convention for real estate investors, which which are not my audience at all, but I use the exact same content and I just take speaker out and put real estate investor in and you know, fine tune a few things and targeted to them. And then I do it with executives. So you know, I take this do the same content, I just pull the keywords out and change it so that it’s relevant to the audience. So now what you’re doing is you’re taking your one message your one expertise or your two expertise. or whatever. And and instead of repeating the same thing over and over and over, which does happen, by the way, but there are opportunities for you often to take those expert insights, take that messaging, and just with some minor tweaking, you can make it available to a lot of different audiences. So it opens up the opportunities for the speaker and it makes it a little bit more interesting, you know, but I’ll tell you something, though, with the discipline side, you know, for years, as I mentioned, I was in I was in the music business and you know, we would play in bars, James, we played in bars, and sometimes six nights a week on the road for years we did this and so you know, I can’t tell you how many times I had to stand in front of an audience and play the song Brown Eyed girl right? And and if there’s any musicians listening to this, you know, Brown Eyed girl is a beautiful song. It’s a great song, but it’s got like three chords and then one little extra chord, and it takes almost zero musical talent to play Brown Eyed girl, but the audience has loved it right and so every night well Hey, we’re gonna play Brown Eyed girl. But here’s the discipline. You know, I’m picking up my guitar and I’m ready to play and sing Brown Eyed girl and in my mind, I’m going I just I just don’t want to do this song again. It’s the third time tonight is the hundredth time this week, done it a million times. Like that’s what’s going on in my mind. But here’s the discipline to that audience. It may be the very first time they’re ever hearing us do it. And so every time we do it that audience every single time, they deserve 100% or more, I mean, they deserve every ounce of anything that I can muster to make it feel like it’s the very first time I’ve ever played it. And to me speaking is exactly the same thing. And it’s the same with any other you know, skill or discipline. We need to be able to show up for that audience regardless of who they are every single time without fail regardless of how we’re feeling you know, I’ve spoken with the with the flu, as I’m sure you have. I spoke with, you know, with fractured ribs when I crashed my motorcycle I broke I’ve spoken broken legs come in you and you give 100% every single time period. So to me, that’s just the basic discipline of being a speaker. And it’s part of what we do. And it’s part of what we’re expected to do, even if it means that we’re repeating same message over and over and over and over again, it’s part of the business.

James Taylor
And you mentioned they just, obviously, you work with a lot of speakers and just kind of help them and coach them and around that positioning and the messaging and the business. I’m always intrigued, but, you know, you because you mentioned the music side, obviously, you know, like a music industry originally, as well. And I remember giving one of my very first speeches, I filmed it, and I sent it to a mutual friend, Frederic Heron from Singapore is a great speaker. And he and Frederic said, he said, because he knew I was a chameleon, and he said, you’re basically being a cover band. Yeah. Okay, you need to pull your own songs now. Okay. Yeah. And it was fine because it’s the way that We learned that we learn an instrument because we cover other people’s stuff. And then gradually over time, it gives the basic skill set. And then they say, Okay, what do I want to say? What was my my thing? And I remember another mutual friend we have with Ron Kaufman. And I remember speaking, I’ve run I’ve got this idea. And, you know, it’s about two things. I’m really passionate about technology and, and creativity. And it’s this idea, like bringing these two things together. And I said, you know, this idea of the center, like this half human half machine thing that can it comes together and he and and you can only get this from someone that’s experiencing the business and understand speaking internationally. And he said, center, yeah, as very European. So Oh, okay. And is that and so we started playing around and I came back and like, what about if we did like super creative, super creative? like super is like the augmented part and with technology and creative as the, the creativity part, and then Ron, and something you mentioned, like the small tweaks sometimes, and Ron said to me He said, make it a verb. So then that is a super creative you make it super creativity. And so super creativity is that word is now building and you’re building you mentioned, like having a word or something you build on, which means nothing, the outside world. Some mostly there’s no word at the moment. But gradually you look to develop it, but is it a little kind of steps in stage, like you’re chiseling away at this thing until you can hopefully you have your Michelangelo’s David or just an elephant or something. And so when you’re working, you work with so many speakers in terms of helping them develop that find that that that position, that speaker thing that’s underneath there. What are some of the good rules of thumb that you would suggest in order to start being able to really probe and find out what that is if someone could speak on anything, but what is that thing that’s unique to them?

Steve Lowell
Yeah, and that’s a big, big question because it’s different for for everybody. So, you know, some people I find have, let me put it this way. Most speakers that we do And you’ll recognize this I’m sure, most speakers, coaches, trainers, authors, entrepreneurs, people who use the spoken word to drive business. What we found is most of them are motivated by one of three or more of the three primary motivators. And the first one is what I call a mess. Which means some of us have, you know, a big massive story that we’ve overcome in our lives that have molded part of who we are. And I don’t have a mess. I don’t know if you have a mess. But I have a lot of it’ll know a lot of speakers who do have a mess. A mess is you know, where they’ve had the illness or the accident or something major in their life. And some of us don’t have a mess. But some of us have what I call a moment, a moment in time where we realize that we have a gift or a purpose. Like it’s that moment or a series of moments in time, James, you know, where you go, this is it. This is why I’m here, right? And I have one of those, but a lot of people don’t have one of those. And if they don’t have a mess, and if they don’t have a moment, then generally they have what I call a mission, which means they have a bigger purpose in life, right. There’s a footprint they’re trying to leave a legacy. See, they’re trying to leave, there’s a change. They’re trying to evangelize or something. And so typically when we, when we, you know, talk to speakers, we typically find they fall somewhere in there in terms of their primary motivation. And then that motivation sort of nests upon upon which they base their messaging and everything else that they do. So for me, one of the rules of thumb is first determine what is your primary motivation, I mean, what really actually drives you to be in this business, and it could be as superficial as money, and it could be as profound as changing the world and it could be anywhere in between there and and both of those extremes are okay. But once you know what your primary motivator is, then that would that sort of helps you guide towards what really should you be spending your time looking for because ideally, you want something that stirs you at an emotional spiritual soul level almost other than something that just drives your intellect because there’s something drives you’re in intellect, that’s a finite thing, typically, which means once you are intellectually satisfied with this piece, you move on to something else. And that’s why people tend to jump around from from one thing to the other, but the soul or the spirit, or that thing that comes from inside. That is that is usually not a finite thing. That’s usually something that’s more, you know, it’s almost infinite and a lot of people, that’s what I think we need to find, because finding that piece, you know, the piece you’re talking about, you know, what I call expert insights, or that one piece that is unique to you finding that can take an enormous amount of effort and time and, and introspection and, you know, a lot of years to try it and get it wrong and figure it out. I mean, it can be a really big process. And so this is why I think so many speakers never really find that piece. You know, James is because they’re operating at the intellectual level. They become either intellectually exhausted and they give up or the exact opposite they become intellectually satisfied in Then they have to move on. So the answer isn’t up here the answer, the answer is here. And that’s where we have to look. And just and you know this from your music background, you know, James, the music doesn’t come from the head, it doesn’t come from the page. And it doesn’t even come from the instrument. The music comes from the heart, it comes from the soul, and everything else are just vehicles in order to create the music. And I believe that speaking is exactly the same thing. And so many speakers speak from their head. And certainly when we first started as a speaker, you know, we’re cover bands, we’re all cover bands, right? I was a zig ziglar cover band, you know, for so many years, because I was in my head, just trying to get my you know, find my own stage. But then once we find the stage, once we find that place that comes from here, it gives us the drive. I mean, you know, I know how much work it is for you to do this summit. And you’ve been doing it for several years now. And you don’t do this because it’s a good idea. You do this because you’re driven for this right. And this part of it’s not part of what you do anymore. It’s part of who you are. So that’s the the angle we need to come from as a speaker. So to answer your question about best practices, I don’t think there are any best know, best practices matter until you get that. And once once you’ve got that, then it’s time to really start digging, but to just to start finding something because you’re looking for something and you’re and you’re in your head doesn’t isn’t really gonna work. I don’t know if that makes sense. No,

James Taylor
it makes total sense. And I think it’s that it’s that finding that that Wellspring? Oh, yeah. And it’s a difficult thing to explain, you know, something which energy you might make might constitute an energy or all, you know, is going to that place and that does require a lot of work often requires a lot of inner, you know, inner work as well to find that thing to chip away at that and that’s where I think mentors can be great, you know, and have that have or being part of a community is that I think the one thing about the danger the community is that That may be that need to feel to conform or to go along with what other people are doing in this. And when you’re in Canada, you’re at, you’re in a country of great songwriters. So the journey mixers of this world, they’ve always kind of chosen their own path. And it’s like, it’s trying to find that. So using the community to be able to learn to contribute to, but at the same time, figuring out what your own thing is, as you said, your you know, that idea. And so as you were going, you mentioned this, this coming to that stage where that light bulb did go on for you. And it was like, this is it. This is what I want to devote my life to what what was it for you?

Steve Lowell
So that particular moment happened? I’m going to guess I’m in my late 20s. By that time, and I had, I saw the zig ziglar thing I became very attracted to the professional speaker thing. And so I thought, Well, where do I go to learn that and so I started working with a training company called the Dale Carnegie training organization, and, and I went through all of their courses and I was working for them. Am I in my mind, I was training to be an instructor, but I started in sales and all of that. So what happened was, I would go to all of the Dale Carnegie courses, and I’d be sitting at the back of the room as an assistant. And I’m watching the instructors, and I’m thinking, I’m trying to coach in my head. And sometimes the instructors would do things I’d say, Oh, I didn’t like the way he did that. Oh, I like the way he did that. And I would have done it differently. And I’m really kind of in my mind evaluating the instructors, right. And then one time, the instructor came up to me and he said, Hey, Steve, would you like to try coaching somebody, which was like totally irregular, that would never happen, but it happened in this day? And I said, Yes, Yes, I would. So I stood up. And there were I think, 30 people in the class and this one guy, the student, he gets up to speak, and he is the one person in the class that absolutely did not want to be there. He was just he was his boss sent him there because he had no personality. He had no social skills like us is what he did not want to be there. And it was I think we Seven have a 13 week course. Anyway, he got up on the stage and he kind of had that, okay, I go ahead and press me kind of attitude, you know, and I and it within two minutes, man, I had that guy wide open. And he was like he was loving being in front of the room, and he never went back. And from there, he just soared. And it was in that moment, I thought, I can do this, this is what I can do. I can take people in front of an audience and I can find magic in them they never knew existed. And I did it in less than two minutes. And I had one of those earth shattering, jaw dropping life changing moments, then, and that’s when I realized I can do this. But I also realized that I was in the wrong place. Because I didn’t agree with a lot of the philosophies that were being taught at that time in that organization. And so ultimately, I left and started my own business, and I’ve been sort of doing it ever since. But that was the defining moment for me in terms of why I’m here. But there was actually another defining moment in In terms of my current content, and this was one of those things that happened and I don’t know if you’ve seen the whole revenue meter thing but I have some videos for you and your and your guests that describe it but what was happening in my business is I had just met my wife Jane, we’re going back maybe six years ago and my business was doing okay you know, but when Jane came into my life it just it really started to soar And I remember thinking you know, what, what has changed because I’m not doing anything differently just everything’s working today that wasn’t working before and and I was trying to figure out what changed for me in the business because I wanted that content. I wanted to see if there’s something there I could bring into my you know, content. And I had one of those two o’clock in the morning straight out of bed ideas ever had one of those jams I just got to pop you right out of bed in the middle of the night. You get those right, yeah, the trick is always do you write them then you write it you write it down. So I’ve had many of those over the years but this one I was from dead sleep to Wow. And then I went and got my iPad and I wrote it all down. And that’s become the foundation of what we do now. So those are the two pivotal moments, I think in terms of getting us to where we’ve been. Now, your earlier question, it sounds like I’m contradicting myself, because your earlier question was, you know, did you have a pivotal moment where you figured out how to be, you know, be productive from the stage. I never had a moment from that. But I did have that moment where I figured out why I’m here figure out what my gift was way back at age 2527, whatever it was, and I had this moment about five years ago, that drives the content we’re using now. So you got to listen to those moments, because I think we all get them and like you said, we get them and then we don’t write it down. And then you know, then it’s gone. But I wrote that one down. So thank goodness I did,

James Taylor
obviously so and this rescue meter, this is a way of being able to benchmark yourself and then be able to track your progress and develop as a speaker.

Steve Lowell
Yeah, exactly. I’ll give you a quick snapshot of it. It’s basically like the What we’ve found in working with speakers all over the world is that there there are basically four states to a speaker’s reputation as it relates to how people talk about you. I’m not talking about your reputation online, and although all that comes into play, but what is it that people actually say about you. And the first state is a state that I call obscurity. And obscurity means that people aren’t really talking about you at all. Nobody really knows who you are or what you do. And so many people stay in that state for a long time. And if they stay there long enough, they end up getting out of the business. But if they do a few things, right, the next state is a state that I call competitive at the competitive state. What that kind of means James is, generally people know who you are, and they know what you do, but there’s nothing really that separates you from everybody else who does what you do. And so people look at you as a something or an something and you’re kind of in this category of many, and it’s really difficult to operate in that state. And I would say about 95% of us And our business operate in that state, you know, for their entire careers. But then if a few things change, if you start changing the way you speak about yourself, and you start guiding the way the that the world speaks about you, then you can get to this stage that I call branded. Now, what the branded stage, this is where things really start to change in terms of your reputation out there at the branded stage. This is where people kind of look at you and they know what you do. They know who you are, and there’s something different about you, even if they can’t quite put their finger on it. Like your name doesn’t necessarily rise to the top, but it kind of it’s kind of, you know, escalating up there and you’re getting some attention, eyebrows are raising the phone is starting to ring a little more people are not noticing you and you’re in that stage. And that’s a really good stage to be and that’s the stage at which momentum starts to begin. And then the fourth stage, which is the ultimate stage is what I call the one. This is where you are the only logical choice in your field. This is where you pick and choose the gigs. You’re going to take you Set your price people pay it, you choose how hard you’re going to work, who you’re going to work with. And now at this stage, you’re kind of thinking more about legacy because your business has kind of taken care of itself. And interestingly enough, it has very little to do with tenure, it has very little to do with how long you’ve been in the business, and more to do with how you have trained the world to talk about you. And that’s why these these unique pieces that I’ve been talking about, you know, I call it expert insights. And, you know, people they’re different people call it different things, but that little package of of wisdom that only you can claim ownership of, that’s what drives that conversation that takes a person from obscurity to competitive to branded to v one. So the rep you meter is really just a visual representation of those four states and then the discussion in terms of how you get from one to the next.

James Taylor
I think you’re talking about that. So the first one was up was unknown. I’m talking about the first of a first security obscurity. So it’s interesting because as you’re saying, I’m also thinking about you know, what enquiries come in to speaking engagements, the level of conversation you have with someone depending on where they’re coming in. So, you know, if you’re in obscurity frankly you’re not getting any inbound leads anyway there’s nothing nothing coming you’re just wondering you’re having to go and fight every single fight. The second one is your in your in the competition you’re in the running but you’re not differentiated. I’m guessing in any major way. No, I heard and I see the emails that come in, which are around Oh, we’ve seen your we’ve seen your work around create my kissing on creativity, we really like it, we think it could work well for this particular event or this particular client. So you start to move up a little bit more branded because they like your, like you or they like your message like the way that you see it your unique take. But then there’s a final one, which is the one I love when I get those emails in. And we’re looking to book bring a speaker in to talk about this idea of super creativity. Which word is like that I’m not competing with anyone. You got

Steve Lowell
it. And so that’s exactly right. So for you, it’s super creativity, your name gets attached to that. And so now you become the one. So you nailed it. That’s exactly the process. Yeah.

James Taylor
So and it’s great, because I think as you start to do that, I mean, also, you can think of this in terms of a pricing perspective as well. I think all those people who are, you know, as you say, the one they own something, you know, start with why Simon Sinek Yeah, sure. I mean, I don’t know what Simon’s fee is at the moment, but it will be pretty significant he owns it owns something in the mind of the customer, though, so is an awesome, very different conversations that are going on there as well. So I love that so obscurity to competitor to brand new to the one and you have this video series, which we’re gonna have a link here below. So people can can go through and obviously go much more in depth into how each of these work, how you develop each of these, these stages as well. And so we’re going to have a link here. People just click on that link, and anything else that we need to, you want to kind of say just at the stages, as people kind of thinking now kind of getting their head around this idea of, of the one and what it takes to be the one?

Steve Lowell
Sure. Here’s, I think, the most important premise to start with, and that is, get your head out of your solution. Because here’s the thing, you know, we go, we go to many conferences around the world, as do you, and we see many speakers as to you. And, you know, we go to these conferences, and there may be, you know, 5060 speakers over three, four days. And, and even if all of them are outstanding on the platform, they got great stories, they got great show and slides, and they make you laugh, and they make you think, and they make you cry, and they do all the things speakers are supposed to do. And at the end of the three, four days or whatever it is, you walk out of there and usually there’s only one or two that actually stick in your mind. Right? And and so there’s a reason why only one or two actually stick in your mind and generally the reason is this, because most of the speakers are focusing on their solution. There. Five Pillars to this, there are six secrets to that there are three models to this, there’s a platform for this. And it’s not that that’s a bad thing. I mean, that’s an okay thing they get on the stage, they tell their stories, and then they present their solution in the context of those stories. And then, you know, and that’s their positioning. But the problem with that is, that’s what 98% of the speakers do. And so what, what I recommend is get your head out of your solution. And don’t even talk about your solution, help the audience understand that they have a very specific problem first, and if you can help them understand that they have a problem, help them and it’s usually a problem they were never awareness aware of. So you bring to their awareness, a problem they never knew they had, then you help them understand the cost of having that problem. And then you present to them here’s why that problem exists. And only then are they really at all interested in your solution. And so reverse the order of your presentation, get the solution out, leave it to the very end, help them understand their condition better help them understand the cost of their condition. help them understand why they’re in that condition and then bring your solution to the stage. Because here’s what will happen, people will walk out the door, and they’re not going to remember your solution at all, what they know is they need you. That’s what they know. And they’re not going to be able to remember your four secrets to this, your four pillars to that or your six strategies, or whatever. What they aren’t going to remember is that James is that guy for Super creativity, that’s him, or whatever that thing is, he calls it, that’s the guy I need. That’s what you want them to remember when they walk out. And even if even if you’re not selling, coaching, training, consulting, whatever, that’s what you want them talking about when they go to the next convention, or when they put their feedback form in or where it’s time for their organization to hire a speaker. All they’re going to know is that guy understands or that lady understands our world better than we do. And we need them in front of us. And so that would be sort of the starting point.

James Taylor
Great. So we’re gonna have that link. Yes, you can get that video series. As you start to finish up. I’d love to know, if you’re traveling a lot just now in your role. Go Speakers Federation, if you had a long haul flight, and you could choose any speaker or author or thought leader to be sitting next to you on that long haul flight, living the living all that. So you can have a really good conversation with them. Who would that speaker author or thought leader be? Oh, boy. Well, I would you know what, I would have to go with Zig, right. I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times. And I do have time for like, 30 seconds story. Absolutely. I
guess I use sigma stories.

Steve Lowell
Okay, so I, you know, I had written a couple of letters to Zig over the years and all the time, he always hand wrote me back, which I thought was cool. But he didn’t really know who I was. We could have just a guy, right. So he was speaking in Montreal, which is about two hours away from where I live in Ottawa, Canada. And so I went to see him speak because I hadn’t seen him live before. So I get to the hall where he’s speaking it’s a big conference room hotel room, and I opened the doors because I wanted to try and go get a front front row seat and there was nobody in the place. So I thought I’m going to run up to the front, I’m gonna put my book because I had one of his books, I put it on the front chair, and I’m gonna reserve my seat. And as I look up on the stage, there he is. He’s on the stage. And at that time, he was using overhead slides. Remember what the overhead projector was that he was using overhead slides? So I took my book, and I said, Mr. Ziegler, would you signed my book for me, and he signed and it was just him and I in the whole place. So we spent maybe five minutes chatting, then he excused himself because he had to get ready and people were starting to come in. So that’s that was my entire experience with him at that time. Now, it was over a year later, and he was speaking in Ottawa, my own town. So I thought to myself, you know what, it worked once it auto work again, right? So I showed up to the place an hour early and I cracked the door and I can get in and no one’s there and I walk up to the front. And there he is on the stage. And now Mr. Ziegler would travel like how many people what he needs in a year, right millions of people he would meet in a year. This was over a year later. He looked down at me and he said, Hi, Steve. Yeah. And that that’s what I did. And so to me, that was the essence of a quality being. And so that’s one of the reasons why, you know, other than his speaking and all that that was probably what solidified him in my mind as somebody I wanted to aspire to be. Now, sadly enough, I don’t remember my own name, and I have your name across the screen so I can remember it. I’m teasing. I’m kidding. But I’m not very good at remembering names, but but the level of integrity that he displayed every time I saw him was very inspiring to me. So I think if I could choose anybody to sit beside me on the airplane, it would probably be Zig

James Taylor
fantastic, great, great, great potential passenger to be beyond that long haul flight with together and what about in your speaker bag, what is in that bag with you that you carry with you to all of your various speaking engagements.

Steve Lowell
Man, there’s, there’s a whole bunch of them but there’s there’s two that that are really old that I always go back to And one of them is the science of getting rich by Wallace D wattles. And there’s just something comforting about about that message. And I listened to it on audio books. And the other is called the master key. And the master key is even older, it was written in, I don’t know, 1812 verse or something. And it’s very old colonial sort of English, it’s hard to follow. But it’s, there’s something about those books, they’re, they’re not tactical, they’re, it’s more about belief systems, and it’s more about that type of thing. And I’ve got all kinds of books on strategy, you know, Blue Ocean Strategy and never split the difference. And, you know, all of the Robert Cialdini stuff and all of those and they’re all awesome, and I read them all and I listen to them all and I love them all. But when I’m feeling just like I need, you know, I just need something other than intellect. I usually go to those to the science of getting rich, or the master key and I listened to those because they just get to the core of The beliefs that that drive, you know, my ability to stay with it when when sometimes because, you know, we all get the doubts, right? And, and that’s though I think those are my two go to books. And then Zig Ziglar, his first book, see you at the top used to be my go to book. But what would happen James is I would buy it and then I’d lend it to somebody and never come back. So I buy another one, I must have given out 300 copies of See you at the top. So I just sort of memorize the whole thing. And so even I don’t buy it anymore. But those are the ones that are sort of most valuable to me.

James Taylor
And what about mobile apps? Are there any apps online tools you find very useful for yourself as a speaker?

Steve Lowell
Yeah, there’s one that I just got. I can’t show it to you now. But yeah, there’s a lot of apps but there’s one that I just picked up at NSA influence convention last week, and it’s called savvy card as a VVY card. And what it is is like an online business card, so it’s meant to replace paper business cards. But what’s cool about it is you know, you meet somebody in the hall and they say, hey, do you have a business card? And I say, yeah, just give me your number. I’ll send it to you, boom, boom, boom, I send it to them. And now, they’re in sort of a, like a database. But the other thing is that I have their phone number, and I and I get to see what kind of activity they use with my card. And because it’s an online card, it’s got my videos there. It’s got all my contact information in there. It’s got all my websites there, everything is there, and I can watch their interaction with it. And I can follow up with them on it. In addition to that, it’s not really an app. It’s actually a website that looks like an app. So every time somebody looks at my card, it elevates the ranking on Google. And so it’s actually got this practical application behind it. It’s called savvy card sa ve ve y card. I saw them at NSA influence. I went down, talk to them signed up and I absolutely love it.

James Taylor
Fantastic. I’ll put a link to that here as well. And finally, Steve, let’s imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you have to start from scratch. So you have all the skills or the knowledge you’ve acquired over the years. But no one knows you you know no one will would you do? How would you restart things?

Steve Lowell
The very first thing I would do James is that assemble the right team. Because I spent all my life trying to do it myself. And and it was, it is not good. And then when I met my wife, Jane, you know, she comes from a very successful business background. So she understands business at a level that I just don’t. And what I had to come to the realization with is, you know, James, I’m only good at a small subset of things. And that’s my speaking of training it like my content like that. But when I try and run the business, I’m not good at most of that stuff. And I had to come to that realization, but what I know now that I wish I knew then or I wish I was smart enough to be aware of them was getting the right people in the right space doing the right things, people you know, people will there are people who will play at the things that you have to work at. So what we need to do is find those people who play at the things that I have to work at. Jane is a master at that she knows exactly what she can play at What she has to work at, and she farms everything out. So when that element came into my life, it just it changed everything about my business. And so she and I run our business together. But that would be I think the main thing is get the team in place. And there’s a number of things, of course, but that is definitely the biggest mistake that I made. And if I had to do it again, that’s what I would do.

James Taylor
build a team. And if you want to learn more about you, your speaking programs, the other things, you’ve got your training and connect with you. where’s the best place to go and do that?

Steve Lowell
Yeah, go to my website. Steve law. COMM it’s all there.

James Taylor
Yeah. Well, Steve, I know we’re gonna meet each other somewhere. It might be Namibia, it might be some conference somewhere. Who knows? Who knows. But thank you so much. And thank you for bringing the all your knowledge and I know how much you serve. Also the community of speakers as well. We didn’t even get a chance to talk about that side of things, but you put a huge amount of service into helping other speakers be the best and get their message out into the world and You know, take their mission and take it further. So thank you so much for the work that you do and I look forward to sharing a stage somewhere in the in the near future together.

Steve Lowell
Well thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to it as well.

James Taylor
Today’s episode was sponsored by speakers you the online community for speakers and if you’re serious about your speaking career then you can join us because you membership program. I’ll speak as you members receive private one on one coaching with me hundreds of hours of training content access to a global community to help them launch and build a profitable business around their speaking message and expertise. So just head over to SpeakersU.com to learn more.

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