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How to Monetise Your Knowledge by turning ideas into learning models with guest Neen James

by | Dec 15, 2022 | 0 comments

How can you take what you know and turn it into a business? Neen James helps leaders to be productive and have focus. In this episode she explains how having your own unique models to explain your ideas, can help you stand out and monetise your knowledge.




mark egan 0:18
So today’s topic is how do you productize and monetize your expertise? Our guest is Nene James. She’s a leadership expert, an executive strategist and a keynote speaker.

Unknown Speaker 0:28
Do you sell online courses or run live workshops? Do you have expertise that can help people in life or business? Are you even running an online training Empire from your kitchen table? Then you’re part of the knowledge industry, a fast growing industry that means that you can learn almost anything, and anyone can create a business around what’s between their ears. Welcome to the knowledge industry podcast with your host, Mark Egan.

mark egan 0:55
So Nene, great to finally talk to you. I’ve been trying to track you down for ages. You’re so busy traveling all over the place, but set the scene where are you now what glamorous location Are you in?

Neen James 1:05
You’re joining me from my home studio in Tampa, Florida. So I used to live on the east coast of the US for like 15 years. And then before everyone went into lockdown before the craziness that is happening in the world at the time of recording, I ended up moving to Florida. And so I was very glad to be in this beautiful place. But the accent originally from Sydney, Australia, oh,

mark egan 1:29
one thing I’ve really loved just, you know, watching interviews that you’ve done and looking at your website, you’ve got such a great personal brand. I mean, obviously it’s your personality shining through that. Then when you look at your background, you know, you’re in banking, which to me, maybe it’s a stereotype, but banking is something that screams you know, personality fun, you know? So how, you know, how did you go from you, you’re in Australia, then you’re in banking to what you do now.

Neen James 1:59
I was so fortunate I grew up in corporate business in Australia, like you said, so I worked in retail banking, telecommunications, and the oil industry mark. Now at the time, though, not a lot of ticks in oil, right. But when I decided that I was I was constantly getting attention for being the person who could get things stuff, right. They would give me projects to look behind, they would give me the fundraising projects, like I was the girl who could stand up in front of hundreds of people and convince them that they needed to write checks for $10 million. I mean, I was literally that go. And so I kind of took a lot of that for granted. And then when I decided to leave the corporate world in Australia, and start my own business, someone said to me once, you should be a speaker, and I was like, Can you make any money doing that? Well, Mark, and you know, because you do this, there is a whole industry dedicated to professional speaking. So I was so fortunate early in my career, to see this gentleman at the front of the room, I’ll never forget, I walked into this hotel room in Sydney, I was in like a basement of a hotel. And there’s this man pretty good look in high energy. And he was sharing all his secrets about running a speaking business. And I thought to myself, crazy. He’s giving all his intellectual property away. He gave people templates and ideas. I wrote notes furiously. But I was still a corporate though. And I remember going up to him afterwards. And I was like, I get crazy. You just give this whole audience, all of your tools for your business. Now understand mark as a corporate goal, we had lawyers to protect our IP, right? And so and he said to me, he’s like, mean, they’re not gonna use it. And I was like, Huh, that’s really fascinating. So I ended up stalking him and asking him to be my mentor, Mark, I asked him for six months to be my mentor. And when I first asked him, I was like, Okay, well, I like to be my mentor. And he was like, Yeah, no, I don’t think so. And I was like, What do you mean? Like, what do you mean, you don’t want to be my mentor. But he’s one of the greatest speakers in Australia and in basically in the world has been named one of the top 25 speakers. His name is Matt church. And that church for me, Mark was the person who could demonstrate not just how to commercialize your intellectual property, but how to build a brand, he had built an entire million dollar practice around his name. That was fascinating to me. So he became my mentor, my friend, we became business partners. But he was definitely one of my role models early in my career. And I gotta tell you, being mentored by him probably saved me five years in my career was speaking. So when I wanted to pursue professional speaking, he was the benchmark, he was the one everyone looked to he was the role model. So like, well, he’s the perfect mentor. And I’ve always believed that. So whether you are building a business, whether you’re showcasing intellectual property, whether you’re trying to build your personal brand, who are the people who are doing it exceptionally well, watch them, learn from them. Now, banking is interesting, because you wear a uniform, but I gotta tell you in the bank, I was like, the youngest bank manager that they’d had in that particular company and 33,000 employees. I won the trip so I was always upselling the existing clients because I also could lose Listen to what clients were telling me across the cameras, a little bank teller. And I’d say, Well, have you got our insurance? Have you booked through our travel agency? And so I think this whole idea of how do you make people’s lives easier? How do you pay attention to what they’re saying has been a through line in all of my body of work?

mark egan 5:15
No, I just want to rewind to one thing you spoke about there, you said, that Matt church, he was there, he gave everything away. And at the end, you said, You’ve given away with great stuff? And he said, Well, they’re not going to use it. Tim, a little bit more about you. What was his thinking there about? Why has he given all this great value, and people are not going to use it?

Neen James 5:34
If you’ve ever had the ability to work with Matt church, if you’ve ever seen any of the work that he does, he wasn’t saying no one would use it. He was saying that, even in like the generosity of giving everything people have to take action. And not many willing people are doing that like maybe less than 1%. Right. So if you even go to Matt, tipster calm and then you go forward, slash books, everything he’s written, he gives away, he gives away his books, I mean, how many thought leaders do you know in the world, he’ll just like he is my IP, right? Because he also believes that if you can help create thought leaders, then the more thought leaders we have on the planet who are doing good in the world, the greater the world will be. And so his philosophy of generosity is in everything that he does. He started a whole business school for thought leaders, I’m a part of the thought leaders global movement with him. So I feel like it It speaks a lot to it an unfortunate thing that many of us hear all this great information, we have access to some of the world’s greatest speakers nowadays, a TED talk, a tweet, and Instagram post, we can learn from experts all over the world. But the people who take action, the exception

mark egan 6:42
and in that case, you weren’t the exception when you because you, you went and spoke to him, you made sure he was mentoring you, and then you stop trying to put a better spin on it, you know, you make it sound criminal, that’s fine. But then earlier talking about sounds very dodgy

Neen James 6:57
systems, listen to them. Right? If you never know, when someone’s looking at your website, you don’t know whether they’re paying attention to your tweets, you don’t know. And so you have this responsibility to be able to put great content into the world that is worth sharing, but you just never know who’s watching.

mark egan 7:15
When you go back to that point where you thought you saw him on stage, he thought, yes, I like this. He’s helping people. He’s got his kind of particular message and all that kind of thing. You must have been had a process of looking back at yourself and thinking, Well, I’m good at this. I’m good at this. I’m good at this. How did you decide what to which bit of what you can do you decide to specialize in? Or did you just do a bit of everything to see what

Neen James 7:38
you thought I even had that intelligence, I didn’t have that intelligence. Like, I didn’t look at myself and go, Oh, I’m good at this. I’m gonna but I didn’t, I really didn’t have that. Because here’s the other thing that I realized is sometimes our thought leadership is quite intuitive. Meaning we’ve probably been learning the same lesson our whole life, it’s just we’ve learned that more than others, therefore, we can teach it better than others doesn’t mean we’ve mastered it, it just means that, hey, you’ve had a lot of experience in it. And I remember sitting on that was this great little bench in a park in Sydney. And I remember sitting there overlooking the Sydney Harbour with Matt. And it was when I was very new into establishing myself as a speaker and trying to learn as much as I could from him. And we were talking about topic and topic development, because as you know, a lot of professional speakers specialize in a particular topic. And I was like, I don’t know what to talk about. I don’t know what I’m like, good at. And he said, You know, he was like, well, you, you famous for getting things done, you’re always the person who can get everything done. I was like, yeah. And he said, What about productivity? And I was like, productivity. That’s a sexy topic. Why would I talk about productivity? Like, everybody’s productive? And he was like, Well, actually, no, nein, they’re not. And so it was interesting to me that sometimes our thought leadership, our expertise, our experiences are so close to us and so ingrained in us you’re like, Well, of course everyone knows how to get things done just because I did didn’t mean everyone else did. And that’s I think that’s a key lesson for listeners is that you could be just so good at something that if I invited you to reverse engineer that you could teach me how to do it but you just kind of make assumptions everyone’s good at it. My Think about your work in video, you’ve grown up it’s intuitive to you you know about lighting you know about all of the speeds you know about setup environment, all the beautiful camera angles that are available. But to you it you just know it and so when you teach other people about that, they’re like, Oh my God, that’s revolutionary to them. But you’re like, seriously, like, tell the diva light on I’m a little bit good. Like you just know this stuff. You know, I think that’s one of the things that’s interesting. So to find your expertise, sometimes it’s very close to you and sometimes someone else has to highlight it to you.

Mark Egan 9:44
You made the point about you know, something that you think is obvious. That was really driven home to me. When the lockdowns first started happening. And you had celebrities you had Prime Ministers you’d all sorts of people appearing on zoom. And it looked like a hostage video you know, it’s like well Lighting your framing, you know what’s wrong with you? And to me that just is is completely obvious. And I can see from you I know because you have been out you’ve been speaking to him and stuff, but leadership and all that kind of thing. Going from stage there was must be that point for you as well where it was. Now you have to try and communicate in the way that you do so well on stage but now you’re having to do it purely from your home office on a camera. How did that work out

Neen James 10:26
for you? You know if your listeners I want to encourage them to go back and listen to the great episode you did with my friend Ryan Avery Ryan I met when he was first new in his speaking Korean I’m so proud watching the way that he is just literally changing the world. And so one of the things that he was talking about was communication. And being able to do that. And it was interesting to you did an interview with my friend john, who has photographed some of my virtual events for me, john dimatteo. And you too, were talking about and it was your comment, I think mark where you said, you know, having worked in radio, where you don’t have an audience around you, you’ve got to set the energy, you’ve got to set the tone, you’ve got to like create this experience for people. And I love that conversation. So two episodes everyone needs to listen to. But what I have been doing, I’ve been presenting virtually for 20 years Mark because my corporate clients are global. And so it wasn’t uncommon for me to have an audience in the room around a board table in a massive, beautiful corporate office in New York, but it beaming out to all of their offices, right? So I’m very used to dealing with camera. I’ve also done a lot of TV I’m, I sit in did YouTube, like so the video doesn’t concern me. And zoom, I’ve been using zoom for ages before we you know, started to get zoom fatigue. And so what I had to have the ability to do though, is I am incredibly interactive. So my clients hire me, they all call me the Energizer Bunny, that’s what the meeting plan is name me. And then by my energy, like they want me to open their conference and set the tone or they want me to speak after lunch to keep the energy out. And so what I had to be able to do, and I often put people on stage with me. So I have this thing that I do where I can help position someone in their brand within moments by asking them questions. It’s very fun. The audience loves it and I adore doing it. Well, I had to work out how do you do that on zoom, and have that kind of Mic drop moment for the person who’s in the hot seat right? on camera. So my little beautiful little office that I loved in Tampa, Florida, we had to switch everything around, I used to look at the water. Now I look at a blank wall with a whiteboard in front of it. But my studio had to be set up with flip charts and whiteboards and lights everywhere. 1234 lights, you know, like, so it looks like Oh, she looks so natural. No, nothing about this is natural. So it had to set up a studio. But in full disclosure, I bought a lot of the equipment Mark and I didn’t use it, I have the most fancy camera with the biggest lens blahdy blah, john would be horrified still in the box. And I bought it as soon as we went into lockdown. So like just so people understand I had to do what worked for me, I don’t use a lot of PowerPoint, like barely ever. And so when I would say to the client, I have no slides and they’ll be like, Oh my god, but it’s a virtual core, because my style is interactive. So Mark, I had to adjust everything. And not just how I interacted not just how I set out but sometimes like I change it always have fresh flowers in my office, always always that I didn’t have them this morning for our recording, but I have like champagne bottles part of my brand new champagne. So having something in the background you can talk about, like there were just lots of adjustments I had to make. But you know what, I really, really, really miss live audiences. But I also love sleeping in my own bed. I love eating my own food. I love that I can do a show in 6am in Singapore lunchtime manufacturing group and for their lunch and learn I can do a 6pm with Australia, New Zealand like I love that I can do multiple shows in a day, which I never had the luxury of when I was on the road, I can completely

mark egan 13:56
understand that. Maybe I’ll get a bunch of like beer cans at the back for my personal brand and might work quite as well.

Unknown Speaker 14:04
As long as I think if you get enough props, I do believe like you should have a story like I am I had, I got Adam Grant who I love. I have such a crush on his brain. And he spoke for one of my clients recently virtuoso travel. And he was great. He’s just genius, his current and relevant and his books are fantastic. His latest book, think again is one of my faves. But he had this amazing green stuffed toy frog in the background while he was doing his keynote. And half the time I was thinking he’s gonna get to the frog, right? It’s gonna tell me about the frog. And then I realized it’s just a cool frog. So I think if you’re going to have like props, they are the need to have a story or it’s just part of like who you are and the quirkiness, so your personal brand kind of thing. So yeah, I think if you’re gonna set up your environment to your point you need to have when people need to see your beautiful face and they and they need to hear you but You’re in my home, you can see my baby sister photos, you can see things that I love. So I made it very welcoming. So my conversations are as relatable as I am on stage. But you have to create that in the background too. Which is why I’ll never use a virtual breakout. Yeah,

mark egan 15:15
well, I could think put it this way, even with without a webcam, your kind of personality and energy would still come through. Now talking about, you’ve got your kind of expertise and things like productivity leadership. You’ve written books. If somebody is thinking, I, I do have an area where I’m pretty good at, but I need to monetize that. What would be your advice to say, Okay, I, there are lots of other people speaking about whatever topic it is, how do I stand out? What would be your advice on that?

Unknown Speaker 15:46
I think in discovering your thought leadership, there’s several really important steps you want to think about maybe if you’re trying to even work out what your thought leadership is, is what is that lesson you’ve been learning your whole life doesn’t mean you’ve mastered it, but it’s something you have a lot of experience. And that points you to at least some sort of contextual topic. And then the next thing that I often ask people when they’re trying to discover their thought leadership is what makes you crazy in the world, like, so for me, for example, it makes me crazy, if someone is rude to staff members, when I’m in a restaurant at a hotel, it makes me crazy when people are like, on their phones, instead of having a conversation with the good looking human who’s in front of them. stuff makes me crazy. And what I realized was because I just want the world to pay attention, right? And pay attention with intention is something that’s really important to me. So sometimes your thought leadership is, it’s a lesson you’ve been learning or what drives you crazy in the world. And then the next thing you got to think about is yes, there will probably be 100 books published in what you think is your thought leadership. So read them, read them and grab a pad and then write down on one side. Yes, yes, I agree with this. And here’s what I dad, from my experience and on the other side of the pad, right? Yes, but here’s where I disagree with that. Right. So Tim Ferriss wrote a very famous book, The Four Hour Workweek, well, that’s great. But I don’t know any of my clients who can do their job in four hours a week, and I certainly don’t know any of them who can do email in a month. That’s just dumb. I’ve never agreed with that. But his concept about creating a lifestyle that you want is a great part of the book. So what you want to think about as a thought leader is yes, they’ll always be people who’ve published ahead of you, and you can sometimes walk into a bookstore, I’ve done it, and then you pick up a book, and you’re like, Oh, that’s the book I wanted to write. Right? That’s just gonna happen if you want to publish, but you got to think about Yes, and yes, and the people are saying this in the world, but what’s your take on it? Yes, but here’s where you disagree with it. It’s okay to disagree with people. David Allen wrote a very good book about getting things done. It’s fantastic. My life is never gonna consist of making lists and reprioritizing them and rewriting them. But for some there, there’s so many key elements in his book that a great so what’s your thought leadership, when I wrote one of my books folding time, which I wrote a bazillion years ago and happy to give that to you mark, you can put in the show notes, everyone can have a free copy, I’ll send you the PDF it converted it with COVID fantastic. One of the things I said back then is time management’s out the window, it’s a stupid idea. You can’t manage time, that’s not so because we only get 1440 minutes in a day. So find something that does make you crazy, and then start talking about it. But the thing that will separate you, the thing that will make you more money, is if you can show people your idea. I am a huge advocate. And I’m known for my ability to think in models, I create contextual models for my clients. Because if you can help people see your idea, they will hear your idea. And if they can hear your idea, they will share your idea. So my belief is a great contextual model that is uniquely yours, will help not only showcase your intellectual property, but it will help commercialize your intellectual property because you will be the person with the model that is uniquely yours. So I’ve created conceptual models for some of the world’s greatest thought leaders, and they show up in books and speeches and on websites. And some of my clients, I’ve worked with them. And that’s really fun. But what I want you to start thinking about is conceptual models are really just squares, circles or triangles, and sometimes they smush together and in the world. We have famous contextual models you just hadn’t maybe thought about them. Remember the old food pyramid mark. It’s, it’s just a triangle. It’s not as relevant now, but it was back then. If you even look at COVID, Steven cobis work the late Stephen Covey said it was basically the urgent versus the important. And he is a quadrant model. It’s just a square. So we have thought leaders in history, if you look at Simon Sinek Stoke, it’s great, but it wouldn’t have been as great if he didn’t put the circles on the flip chart. That’s when people went Oh, I see what he’s trying to say. So thought leaders need contextual models. In my practice, we call that idea shaping and so helping you shape your ideas so you can set them with them world. And the conceptual models can be used in 1000 different places, but make it yours. The moment you have a contextual model. I promise you You can stick your fingers up.

mark egan 20:01
What’s the psychology behind that? Yeah. What’s the psychology behind that in the sense that, like you say, let’s say was leadership or that what thought leadership? Maybe it was productivity attention any of these topics, just by kind of giving it a particular name of a process or an idea or thought, giving it a, you know, a triangle a square? Why do you think that makes such a difference? And I know you were kind of mentioned that in your last sentence, but that was the psychology of somebody thinking, Well, they’ve got something that’s got a name and it’s, you know, got four points around a square that then I’m going to go to them instead. What do you think is the psychology behind that?

Unknown Speaker 20:40
It’s all about attention. Because when you think about like, as babies, we learn how to see things we recognize our parents faces, right? And so we understand when we see that there’s a response. So we are visual learners. And we start this really yeah, we also learn as the baby that if we cry, someone will pick us up. Hmm. Okay, so this is where we learn attention, we learned attention from a super young age, right? We also when we think about how we teach little ones, we teach them about putting squares in squares, circles in circles, the toys we designed for them around shapes and visual imagery, right. So we’re learning these lessons very much from a young age. But we’ve also realized that it when it comes to contextual models in a snapshot, you can showcase something so quickly. Not everyone wants to read the five paragraphs in your book. But if you give them the model for the people who tend to be more strategic, who really appeal to this, the way their brain works, they’re like, Okay, got it. Now think about the way math that we’re wired. Some people tend to really use the left hemisphere of their brain, it’s a little bit more dominant, by the way, we use the whole brain, but they love models, they just love them, give them a bar chart, a pie chart. Oh, they’re so happy, right? The big picture thinkers who are left brained love it, the right brain, people who tend to be more right hemisphere in their strategic, they love a great metaphor. If they can paint a picture in their brain, right? They’ll help you remember. And remember that metaphor is a memorable, repeatable, repeatable. So let’s just say you want to showcase your intellectual property, great model, great metaphor, hello, you’re going to elevate your messaging instantly, because you’re the only one who’s talking about that. People are still talking about Stephen Covey’s big rocks presentation where he put big rocks in a jar and basically said, these your life priorities, then you put all the little pebbles around them, like people who are listening probably know what I’m talking about if you don’t go Google it on YouTube, but I heard a speaker this morning talking about that very story. And if you look at the footage, it’s centuries old, but the lessons still remain. So models and metaphors, really cool ways to showcase the psychology behind it is is based on the brain and the way that we process messaging.

mark egan 22:49
Another thing I have to ask you about is your personal branding, like from your website to when I see you on interviews, to just like, the way you start your emails, it’s you know, like good, a gorgeous thank, you know, I think your auto responder out of office probably is more kind of positive than most people is going to best emails. But you know that you were just mentioning about the things you have behind you on camera. And talking about the messaging and everything that you’re It seems to me that your personal brand is really really coherent in the messaging, the visuals and everything. How did you go about putting all that together? Is that something that’s developed over time or did you sit back sweep back some champagne and it came to you in a dream?

Unknown Speaker 23:32
Ah, gosh, I wish it was champagne inspired. But champagne is part of my brand. So let’s be super clear about that. Here’s what happens with your personal brand. Your personal brand is often what people will talk about when you’re not necessarily with them. And you don’t even know that that’s the case. It could be a personality, it could be the colors you wear, it could be things that you like and mine was all of the above. And so I was always famous for wearing pink I had a pink briefcase, I’ve always loved pink even in my corporate days in in some of my crazy conservative clients, I would still wear pink much to the horror of some of the people that I work with. And so when I was starting to create my personal brand I remember when I first moved out of corporate into my own practice, my brand was pink and purple and I figured to myself if I had purple sort of like Navy so sort of corporate so I get away with it. So if you look at any of my original stuff, my very first book that I published was pink, I mean it’s so pink like lollipop pink, okay, and it’s not available anymore but it was my very very first book so pink became a part of my brand. Now whenever I’m on camera pretty much in my personal life as well. I’m in pink because I love the color. I love the energy that it creates. It’s very girly, but look even like if you get a note from me it’s in a pink envelope. If you get a book for me it’s in a hot pink envelope. I have a pink water bottle and so branding pink is a part of the choice now here’s what else happens. Your audience tells you about your brand. I cannot tell you how many tweets started happening about myself. Shoes people would post about my shoes in conferences, people would ask about my shoes. And I was like, What? No, I love shoes. I would talk about shoes. I have fabulous shoes, I would wear fabulous shoes, but I didn’t even know that was a thing. Well then also too, I have things like I have a little shoes, stickers for all of my seals. So I made a very deliberate effort to make my collaterals my own. My that’s me. I love shoes. I love champagne. So, but I think you’ve got to be able to back up your personal brand was substance. Yes, I wear pink. Yes, I wear beautiful stilettos. Yes, I drink champagne, very girly. But I also have to be able to deliver incredibly cutting edge strategies for the SEO clients that I work with. Because as an executive strategist, that’s my job, I consult to some of the world’s biggest brands to all of the C suite in order for them to be able to really pay attention to what matters in advance, especially because I work so much in luxury. So you have to look the brand as well. If I’m going to charge you a ginormous fee to consult to you or to speak at your event, I better look like I’m worth it. And so that also extends to the stationery I use the website they visit the books that they receive. I give my clients Tiffany that is something I’m famous for. I personally love Tiffany and I use Tiffany. And so some meeting planners will say to me, Nina suffers Tiffany I’ve ever got Well, that’s just sad. But isn’t it great that I could give them that treat because Tiffany is an extension of my brand. Does that make sense?

mark egan 26:29
Everything you say makes sense is quite scary.

Unknown Speaker 26:36
I remember there was this man and he was in a very blue color. Amazing business. He is he was a genius. And then he started giving his cons Tiffany because he heard me talk about it now. And the clients willing, what do I do with this? Like it was just so off brand for him? It made no sense, right? And I was like, well, let’s just let’s just ideate around what would be a good client if you and he totally changed and the clients loved it. So just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it’s gonna work.

mark egan 27:03
But interestingly, I know a lot of people who you know some people who do fantastically well with corporate clients, and some who don’t, and it may just be a perception, but one of the things I think that people do wrong is to appeal to corporate clients. They try and be so corporate that they think that’s the kind of a perfect match. When actually I think sometimes corporates are trying to bring in something they don’t have from outside. I mean why do you think you’ve been so successful with appealing to those big international corporate clients?

Unknown Speaker 27:33
You know, I grew up in corporate and so I know corporate and I lived corporate I had the navy suit I will pantyhose for goodness sake, I carried a briefcase. I mean, seriously, like I was that look. And then when I left corporate I thought I had to still look that way. Right? And so I will, you know, the the, the just very corporate stuff, right? And I did, I did okay, because I knew corporate. But then when I started to think you know what, this, I’m just gonna wear my pink dress onstage. I’m gonna wear my sneakers, I’m gonna wear my slippers. I’m gonna carry my pink briefcase into this law firm in New York, Sydney, on the top floor, and the managing partner is like, what is this? I literally remember him stuffing in the hole going What? Like, who are you? And I was like, You I had me like, you know what I’m like, so I feel like yes. But I think people often say yes, corporate does want an alternative perspective. But you better understand the business, you better know how what you’re offering is going to grow, their bottom line is going to attract and retain top talent is going to make their leaders more successful. Gonna make them stronger communicators. So yes, I’m this little four foot 10 and a half, very important that half, four foot 10 and a half. And I wear pink, and I sound like I’m five years old. But yet, the heads of these organizations will text my cell phone when they have a question. But you got to earn that, right? I know a lot of professional speakers who say I want to work corporate, I want to work corporate, no, they want corporate fees, to work corporate, you’ve got to be able to understand corporate challenges, speak corporate. I know for all of my corporate clients, who is their successor, what are their KPIs? What is their massive big goal for the who is the talent they’re trying to attract? Like, I know all the intricacies of my corporate clients. So when I stand on stage in front of them, I know their acronyms. I know the charities that they support. I know what’s what boards, their particular leadership serve, and that’s part of my job, right? So I think people want to have corporate income, but they don’t necessarily want to do corporate effect. It’s very different, right? And because my strategy Mark when I built my practice was to go in very high and go very deep. So of the, you know, my dozen of my favorite clients, I can email with the CEO cmo, you know, Sierra very regularly and I am then invited to talk to their teams and then they invite me to talk to their teams and work one on one. That’s why I’m doing executive strike. Do you work, I love it. Because I can talk corporate, but I can talk corporate. As an entrepreneur who runs her own practice. It’s just me and sue my sales goddess. It’s only two of us. Like, that’s my team. And that’s the practice that I’m running. So you got to work out. Just because it looks appealing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. And I, I work a lot in luxury. And I love luxury. That’s like my life. That’s my choices. You’ve seen my Instagram, I love beautiful, amazing experiences. And so working in that industry, for me is very, very

mark egan 30:32
well, you obviously did very well. A couple of quick things I want to touch on. Before we wrap up. Personally, you’ve mentioned a little bit about like each, like you’re training to be interactive and pulling people on stage and all that kind of thing. What is your approach to you know, how you teach your expertise? What’s your kind of mindset around that?

Unknown Speaker 30:51
I don’t teach my expertise smack. What I simply do, it’s not a presentation, it’s just a conversation. And so I approach everything from a conversation point of view, which is why I deliberately don’t use slides. Now on massive big stages. Of course, I have to have some slides. But what I tend to do is make it more conversational. So the key to that for me mark is you have to set up interaction in the first two minutes. So within the first few minutes, I help the audience understand I made fun of myself very quickly, self deprecating humor as an Australian, that’s really all I’ve got self deprecation and sarcasm. My American clients don’t understand sarcasm. So I have to use just self deprecating, right. So I set it up and make it fun within those first two minutes to grab their attention and tell them this is the rules. This is how we’re going to play together today. So when I start to ask them to play with me on zoom, or in a ballroom or in a board board room, then instantly they feel comfortable. My job is to set the environment while I say let’s just have a chat about this very conversational. Now my chat has very specific points I wanted to address it has KPIs that I’ve agreed with the client, like all of those deliverables, but I want them to feel part of the conversation, I’m never going to be a good talking head, I’m never going to be a person who can do the exact same speech every time. That’s not the way I’m wired. I’m no good at that. I don’t choose to do that. So what I choose mark is for conversation. So wherever I can I create that. So whether it’s a webinar, whether it’s a boardroom strategic planning I’m doing whether it is a keynote in a ballroom, the more you can have people involved. So my process is set up engagement super, super early. But the show starts before the show starts because I think you’re on before you’re on. So I have this process, go b d A before, during and after my time with a client. So before I spend time with a client, I’ve interviewed their key stakeholders, I’ve read all of their literature, I know all their acronyms. I also make sure I shoot a little video which might you might be happy about. But I always shoot a promo video that says I can’t wait to see you. Well, let’s start out conversation. Oh, here’s how you stalk me on social. Here’s my email address, and I give them access, right? I answer all those things. And then when I arrive on site, let’s say for example, it’s a keynote, I meet the crew, the AV crew are the most important people in the room, right? I take them coffee and give them treats, I make sure I do everything right for them. And then I meet all the audience as much as I can I go early, I hang out I want to have the speakers that were actually attending conferences. And then I make sure that my keynote is fun and energetic. And then afterwards, I sign all the books, I take the selfies I talk to everybody who wants to connect, I post on social I repost all of their kindness. But then it doesn’t just stop there in the keynote, I give them something to do to interact with someone that they sit with. So then in 30 days, I send them the afterpiece, which is another video that says hey, did you do what you said you would do when we were together? So I’m constantly in conversation with people. So my process BD a before, during and after, obviously, it has a whole lot of checklists, and a whole lot of systems that sit behind that. But in its simplest form, every listener could come up with their own VDA. What do you do before the engagement or the opportunity, whether you’re a coach, trainer, mentor facilitator, you know, Speaker doesn’t matter what your modality is, but you can have a process as well. And that way it makes it more than an event. People want to look forward to spending time with you. So you’ve got to give them those opportunities to start to get to know you to be able to serve them. I was at a conference in Vegas, my most most favorite Conference of the entire year for the luxury travel industry with virtuoso travel. And I came away with like, literally hundreds of business cards of people that I met and had conversations with. Well, I had right you can see as evidence I’m not through the poll yet. But I handwrite every single note like to every person I met and I don’t just write them a standard note. I look up their website, I look at their LinkedIn profile. I have a look at their social media. It takes me a long time to write them. But it means it’s so much more connected. That’s part of my after process. Does that help answer your question? No,

mark egan 34:42
that’s incredibly interesting, actually. Because certain things there are things I agree with, you know, like him, not just turning up, giving a talk and then leaving, you know, get into the conference, meet people get a sense of it. You know, speak to the AV people or if you have translators, you know, make sure you make friends with them. What you completely like out of the water with his aftercare, because I guess I need to get my pink notes. So I think that’s really, really good. The other thing that you mentioned that I’ve seen this, you know, somebody listening to this won’t realize this. But before we even hit record, you, were you first of all, you made sure you understood who the audience was, you were chatting to me about, you know, what you could talk about the best be able to serve people, you’ve obviously done your research on previous podcasts, and you know, what we’re talking about, and all that kind of thing. And I think that level of detail, or that level of attention means that obviously, every interaction you have is going to be high quality, rather than kind of saving a little bit of effort, but maybe not producing what the audience needs or making it a good use of your time. So is that something you do consciously? Is it?

Unknown Speaker 35:47
Yeah, and this is not supposed to be morbid. But one thing that I’m often conscious of is what if this is my last day to day? What if this was my very last podcast, but if this was my very last speech, what if this is my last opportunity for us to connect, I want to make sure that it is the most intentional use of our compensation, my attention, our time and our energy. And so we tend to live that way, trying to be much more mindful. And do I do it every day, I wish that I tried to be so in the moment that it is going to be incredibly rewarding for both of us. And so I, because attention has been something that has been so important to me my whole life, not so much the getting of attention, but i’d love it. Just for the record. I mean, I stand on the stage for living, for goodness sakes. I mean, that is an attention business. But I love giving attention, because I feel like everyone on this planet Mark wants to be seen and heard. So part of my job in life is to make sure every person I’m with feels very seen and feels very good. Does it take extra time? Yes. Is it worth it? 1,000% because the lovely David from join up dots is the one who connected us well, I want to honor that relationship because I was on his show a bazillion years ago. And then I listened to the show the two of you together, which is awesome. It’s like I was having a beer with you not that I drink beer. But I would have champagne, because we would all sit around the pub and we would be talking about that’s what it felt like to me, right. And so I feel like we have to make those choices in our daily life, whether it’s the people we share our lives with, whether it is the team that we serve, whether it is the clients that we serve, my job is to stand in service. So what does that look like? So for me, there are systems of attention that I put in place to make sure whenever I’m on a podcast, I’ve listened to several episodes, there are certain systems that all of the listeners could put in place if they want to pay more attention. systems of attention

mark egan 37:39
right now, one just final wrap up question if there was one takeaway, because I mean, you know, because you’ve got books, you know, your presentations, there’s we can’t fit all that into one interview. But from what you were saying about attention, talking about productivity leadership, what would be one, if there’s one takeaway, that you know, you’ve got people here for 30 seconds, what, what’s the one thing you’d want them to take away?

Unknown Speaker 38:05
It’s intention that makes our attention valuable. So when we pay attention, you have a choice, you can pay personal attention, which is about being very thoughtful. You can pay professional attention, which is about being productive, we can pay go global attention, which is about being responsible, and taking care of how we pay attention in the world. So who deserves your attention? What deserves your attention? And how are you paying attention in the world? That’s what I want people to think about as they sign out about podcasts today.

mark egan 38:33
Great. Well, I have to say, I’ve obviously I can see some of your posts and watch some of your interviews and you know, certain things you were saying about for instance, you know, leaving your phone on the table when you’re speaking to people can immediately make them feel that you’re less interested in them and so on. No, I do do that sometimes. So yes. I think you’re absolutely spot on with everything you’re saying. And if somebody wants to kind of find out more and go deeper, and I mean, you mentioned the book earlier, what do people do if they want to find out more about you?

Unknown Speaker 39:03
Well, lucky for all of us, there’s only one name James online so if you google me, you’ll find me so I play on Instagram every day, my professional stuffs on LinkedIn and Twitter. But that’s the best way is just you can just easy cyberstalk it’s super easy. My website, all of the things it’s just mean James great.

mark egan 39:20
And I just there’s so many great quotes and there’s normally when I do an interview, I kind of try and pick out a few quotes and put them out on social media. I might just take the one that said there there are no chicks in oil that might that will get attention. get attention.

Unknown Speaker 39:36
Yeah, but now it’s so much better now it’s so much better. But when I this a long time ago Mac said an old fan is that would not be the tweetable from

mark egan 39:46
I’m just joking, but um, it’s been a pleasure as always keep that fantastic energy going and maybe someday, again, I’d love to kind of cross paths in person that in Vegas, Vegas would be good and been to Vegas for a couple of years now. And then again he withdraws. Don’t stay too long, but it’s great. But um, but yeah, thank you.

Unknown Speaker 40:06
That’s how you manage Vegas just stay for a little while before we get to but

mark egan 40:10
it’s been an absolute pleasure. And thanks again.

Unknown Speaker 40:14
My absolute privilege thanks for inviting me on your show and love what you’re doing in the world.

mark egan 40:17
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