Respect your audience, respect their time - Talk Marketing 084 - Alastair Greener

Respect your audience, respect their time – Talk Marketing 084 – Alastair Greener

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Marketing Skills, Public Speaking, Sales Skills, Talk Marketing

Click through to the good bits.

00:00 Introductions

04:13 Does it matter if a public speaker fumbles their words a little bit?

09:46 Should people review the talks they deliver?

11:13 Should your talks be scripted?

17:23 Why is listening important in presenting?

19:54 The preparation iceberg.

26:37 How should people structure their presentations?

28:11 How are you qualified to talk to us about presenting?

34:56 Why do so many presenters and trainers come from the tourism industry?

38:37 Who do you work with how do you add value to their lives?

39:21 How does presenting online differ from presenting in a room?

40:27 How do you create a brief for a keynote presentation?

43:14 What is it that people are most commonly challenged to communicate?

44:19 How do you make a presentation sticky?

47:12 What is the worst thing a presenter can do?

49:14 How much of presenting is a natural ability and how much of it is taught?

52:20 Why are people so scared of speaking in public?

54:52 What can you do to reduce anxiety when you are presenting?

57:05 What is your recommendation for anyone who is either thinking about presenting themselves or wanting to present themselves better?

58:54 What is the issue with improvising a presentation?

1:01:50 The problem with a scripted presentation.

1:02:45 The power of anchor points.

1:06:51 What media should people consume?

1:11:29 How have you enjoyed your experience of being on the Talk Marketing show?

00:00 Introductions

Martin Henley: [00:00:14] Hello there. My name is Martin Henley. This is the effective marketing content extravaganza and if you’ve not been here before, you won’t know that I’m on a mission to give you everything you need to be successful in your business. Providing, of course, that what you need to be successful in your business is to know more about and be motivated to implement more effectively sales and marketing, which is of course what you need if you are going to be successful in your business.

Martin Henley: [00:00:43] What we do here is we review the very best and the very worst of marketing content on the internet. We bring you the marketing news and whenever I can, I will bring in whoever I can find with experience relevant to you being more successful in your business to extract that information from them so you can implement it in your business and be happier, more successful, have more sales, more profit, nicer car, nicer house, nicer holidays – all of those good things. If that sounds like it might be interesting or useful to you, then you should take the time to like share, subscribe, comment, get involved. Most importantly, what you should do is take something that you hear from today and implement it in your business and let us know how you get on in the comments below.

Martin Henley: [00:01:27] Today is Talk Marketing. So we have a guest for you. And today’s guest started his career as an actor and presenter before spending almost 13 years managing entertainers in the cruise ship industry for Princess Cruises and Cunard. Since then, he has been a TV presenter with Solo16, South West London TV and Business Reporter. He is currently Director of Regions with the Professional Speakers Association. He is an event host and moderator and emcee and communications and communications speaker and consultant in his business, Present Yourself. He was introduced to us by the wonderful David Abbott, who tells us that he can tell us how to deliver a presentation with real impact. What you probably won’t know is that he has climbed Kilimanjaro and completed the Three Peaks Challenge. That’s the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours. I am a little bit flummoxed today because he has interviewed more than 500 people. Today’s guest is Alastair Greener. Good afternoon. Good morning, Alastair Greener. How are you, man?

Alastair Greener: [00:02:44] Hi Martin. Yeah. Great to be here. It is interesting, I’ve interviewed a few people along the way, one of the most iconic people I interviewed was David Frost, and that was my first question to him. How does it feel like being interviewed when you normally ask the questions? He admitted he did not like it at all.

Martin Henley: [00:03:02] Okay. Who was that? You interviewed David Frost?

Alastair Greener: [00:03:05] That’s right. Yeah. As in, people might know the movie Frost Nixon, he was the man who got say, at the Watergate.

Martin Henley: [00:03:13] Okay, well. Well, I’m done here now. That’s fine. If I’m interviewing somebody who’s interviewed David Frost, like David Frost, not just an interviewer, probably the best interviewer ever. Do we think? That Nixon thing was especially…

Alastair Greener: [00:03:30] Yeah, it was absolutely brilliant. I think for anybody who wants to interview and get information out of people and have that conversation and see what happens, you know, it’s required reading or required viewing, I should say.

Martin Henley: [00:03:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah, 100%. I don’t remember the last time I saw it. You’ve motivated me now, to go and watch that again. So it’s good. I have been fumbling my introductions a little bit recently, but, you know, I was always going to fumble it with you because you are one of these very polished, professional speaking association director type people. I don’t know if there’s a question in there. There’s a question in there. Does it matter? Is the question.

04:13 Does it matter if a public speaker fumbles their words a little bit?

Alastair Greener: [00:04:13] You know, what it’s a fine balance. You don’t want to be so polished, so smooth, so slick, that actually comes across as being inauthentic. Authentic is a word that’s so used at the moment. Actually, there’s a lot of validity in using that word because you need to be natural. The big difference between being an actor and a presenter is that a presenter needs to be themselves. They need to be someone who connects as themselves with their audience. Whereas an actor is someone who is playing a role and some people, when they get up on stage, or they’re in front of a camera, or they’re delivering a speech from stage, they go into a caricature mode. if they do that in a very slick, polished way, there’ll be something that the audience will sense that’s missing. Therefore, yes, you can be too slick, too polished. You need to be natural, but absolutely rehearsed. So you know what you’re going to say, how you’re going to sit and when you’re going to say it.

Martin Henley: [00:05:11] Yes. Excellent. Because I’ve done have I been I’ve been to the Professional Speakers Association a couple of times, and I’ve been to Toastmasters a couple of times. And what always struck me is that they do have this. I think it’s an over. And over what it’s like. They seem to be fascinated with this. Getting rid of the ums and the ahs and doing the slick thing and I don’t I’ve never felt that’s particularly important to me. I think if somebody’s standing up and they’ve got something really interesting and useful to give you as an audience, that for me is the quality, you know, I mean, that for me is the value.

Alastair Greener: [00:05:59] It’s really interesting you say that because, yes, you can be too slick and you can be, if you’re not careful, a bit formulaic where you follow a structure. Certainly there are certain teaching, speaking teaching organisations, who are very into their structure of how you do things. You start this way, you do this, then you do that. I’m certainly not an advocate of that. I have a few basic principles when I teach people how to speak, which we will probably get into later on, but natural and being you is really important. We do want to try and avoid ums and ahhhs and what we call fillers. The reason we want to do that is because, especially now, every word matters. When you’re on stage, especially if you’re doing a short keynote or a short piece to camera, you’ve got a very small amount of time and therefore, if you’re putting in words that aren’t necessary, you’re putting in those ums ahs. If you’re not careful, it becomes noise and if you listen to the very best speakers, you listen to, people would probably think of someone like Tony Robbins or those big inspirational, big state speakers, you’ll notice they don’t have fillers, they don’t do ums and ahs, and if they do, it will have been programmed in. They will know exactly what they’re doing when they’re doing it. I remember Mark Twain once said, my best improvised speech took me three months to write. It’s that whole art of speaking. It’s a craft and if you get it right, if you do it well, it can be incredibly powerful.

Martin Henley: [00:07:37] It can be incredibly powerful. It can be incredibly powerful. What you’ll learn about me, Alistair, is that I’m just a box full of issues. So what will happen is issues will come up for me and you’ll have to address them, because that’s basically what’s going on here.

Martin Henley: [00:07:54] I transcribe these interviews. And what actually is more upsetting to me is because then I am really seeing every word. Now, the transcription services, they don’t pick up the ohms and the r’s, so that’s good. What they do pick up is the likes and the and the he goes and the you know what I mean. And the, all of those things.

Alastair Greener: [00:08:21] What we call verbal tics.

Martin Henley: [00:08:24] Okay.

Alastair Greener: [00:08:26] These are little phrases that people often do, which becomes a almost like a comfort blanket of speaking. People will use them, and it’s not because they’re being lazy, it’s just habit. When you get into speaking professionally, one of the things that you want to try and do is examine those habits and think about the habits are helping versus the habits that are hindering you. Your key thing is you want to get your message across to people. Anything that’s hindering that message that’s creating noise around that message is unhelpful to that message and therefore you want to try and get rid of it, because then people can hone in and zoom in and focus on your core message that you’re trying to get across. Much as you don’t want to be too contrived, you don’t want to be too slick, they’re really good things to focus on and to make sure that you try your best to get rid of.

Martin Henley: [00:09:24] Yeah, I think so 100%. I think it’s almost like, it might be like a tic, but it’s almost like a grammar. You know, I mean, it’s almost like they use these phrases to punctuate what they’re speaking, and I’ve just done it again, and that’s annoying. So that from.

Alastair Greener: [00:09:46] I do it all the time, even as a TV presenter, as a speaker, I’m not comfortable looking back at what I do. But you absolutely have to. And you suddenly realize, oh my goodness, that’s not actually quite as good, because what we think we’re putting out isn’t exactly what we are putting out sometimes. What’s going on in our minds is sometimes a little different to what comes out and therefore, watching yourself back is, I think, really crucial to understand yourself and understand how you come across.

Martin Henley: [00:10:20] Yes, I would 100% agree with that. I suppose what I need to do about this situation is just make sure that I’m not doing it and then I’ll only have 50% as much of this stuff to edit out as if the pair of us are doing it. So that’s the way I will do it. Although I’m feeling now, this is going to be the game of this conversation is to see who can fall into the verbal tics or not. There was something else I wanted to say. Okay.

Martin Henley: [00:10:51] There is something else I wanted to say. Because I’ve presented a lot and as part of that, I did a comedy stand up comedy course. It was amazing. It was by a woman called Jill Edwards, not a million miles away from where you are down in Brighton on the south coast and lots of now famous people have done her course. She’s amazing. She’s really amazing.

Martin Henley: [00:11:13] What I didn’t know about stand-up comedy is that it is like you’re saying, the gig is to present it like it’s totally authentic, totally improvised, but it is precisely scripted. I really didn’t enjoy that aspect of it at all. With standup comedy, it’s like everything you do, what I want to do is get up on stage and freestyle with people and have fun. For me, that is where it comes about, that’s where the fun comes in because I teach, I stand up in front of groups for a week, you know? So that’s what I have to do. It feels always a little bit to me, like it’s a little bit contrived. Now that I know before I knew, obviously I had no idea. Now that I know, it feels a little bit contrived. What do you think about that?

Alastair Greener: [00:12:04] Yeah, I think that’s a very valid point. To a certain degree, it is absolutely contrived because it is absolutely scripted. When I was working on cruise ships, I got an opportunity to really study comedians and speakers. I would see the same person at the time and time and time and time again. I could really watch how they worked their craft. I developed a concept of what I call a washing line. A washing line is basically as a speaker, as a comedian, as a communicator, as a trainer you will have different thoughts, ideas, you’ll have different stories, you’ll have different experiences, different things that you want to bring into the conversation. Well, the reality is they’re already prepackaged, pre-done stories. Just pick it up off the washing line and there it is, ready to go. So you have that story ready. You know how you’re going to tell that story, but it just fits in that moment. So the improvised part is I didn’t think I was going to put that story exactly there, but that fits and that works. But within itself, it’s quite a carefully crafted story or a piece of work. Now, the reason that’s important is because timing is everything. The old cliché that you’ve got to get your timing right and for professional performance, I think the difference between a professional and an amateur is someone who’s worked on their craft and has really nailed it, changing something every time. So if you have a standard speech, let’s say, for example, we’re talking about to salespeople here you have your standard sales pitch and actually it works.

Alastair Greener: [00:13:44] That’s what you’ve tried for years, it works. You keep examining it, making sure that that is still effective and everything else, the true professionalism is delivering it like it’s the first time, delivering it like it’s never been said before. For example, on cruise ships, we had new passengers come every week. We had to make sure that their experience felt unique. It didn’t feel like they were just week 51 out of the whole year. They were special. This was their week. Imagine a wedding venue where people every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, there’s a wedding. How can that venue make it feel special for those individuals? And that comes down to the way that you communicate it. Now you’re going to have a process. You’re going to have a step-by-step route. If you’d like to be able to deliver what you want to deliver. But you need to make the audience, the people you’re speaking to, feel like this is deliberately down to them. I talk a lot about personalised communication and that phrase basically means that you are connecting with your audience, with the people that you’re talking to, and you’re doing it in a way that they feel that you get them, you understand their pain, you understand what they’re trying to achieve. You’re listening really intently and you’re working with them. Now. A lot of what you’re saying will have been pre-thought out, really thought about, but it will come across in a way that’s natural and authentic.

Martin Henley: [00:15:19] Okay, cool. So I wonder. If it’s different. So in the conversation that we had before we were having this conversation, you were concerned that you weren’t marketing enough, that this wasn’t relevant enough because you don’t consider yourself to be in sales and marketing. I think whenever we stand up and speak, it’s a pitch, you know, and ideally it will be motivating people to do something ever so slightly different. There’s a line here where it descends into entertainment. I think, and what I hear from lots of presenters, trainers, teachers, those kinds of people, is when the concentration gets stretched, then you lean heavier on the entertainment aspect to pull them back and do that kind of thing. What am I saying here in sales and marketing what we really want to do is build trust. So the issue is, this is that your first challenge, if you’re ready, are you ready for a challenge?

Alastair Greener: [00:16:27] Yeah.

Martin Henley: [00:16:29] The issue is if I’ve made up all of this stuff in advance or I’ve carefully crafted all of this stuff in advance and I am trying to present it so that it sounds like this might be the first time that I’ve ever said it. There is a conceit in that isn’t there. The question then is, is there a danger that if you are trying to pretend like this is the first time you’ve ever said this stuff and you’re trying to convince the audience that you really get them and engage with them, would it not be better just to get them and engage with them? That’s what I think. Is there a line there? Am I speaking nonsense or is there a line there somewhere?

Alastair Greener: [00:17:17] And I hate to answer like a politician, but in reality it’s both.

Martin Henley: [00:17:22] Right?

Alastair Greener: [00:17:23] Absolutely right. When I talk about personalised communication, I talk about building a meaningful business relationship with another individual or organization, and that’s an absolutely key part of it. There are lots of different things I talk about in my keynote in terms of how you can achieve that. That is a genuine, authentic way. You’re genuinely, really listening. I don’t mean listening, there’s a great quote that says, Listening isn’t just waiting for your turn to speak. It’s real in-depth listening. If the person feels you really are listening to them, you really get what they’re looking for. Essentially, we’re here as a salesperson. You’re there to solve someone’s problem. It could be that they need a new printer, which printer they going to have that’s going to best solve their problem? It could be whatever it is the person has come to you because they have a problem that needs to be solved. It might be insurance, it could be anything. What that person needs to understand is that you get them, you understand what they’re looking for. You understand their needs. Now, a lot of sales scripts are very formulaic. You go down through this thing and don’t you interrupt my pitch because this is my order, this is the way I go. That’s not authentic, that is fake, and you’re not going to get a decent relationship. My washing line theory is far more applicable, so the person you’re talking to comes up with a particular question or an objection or something. You think, Great, pull that one off the washing line. That’s how I solve that one. Now it’s individual because the final conversation that you have will be, I won’t say unique, but it will certainly be specific to that individual.

Alastair Greener: [00:19:12] So therefore it is personal and you’re showing that you get them, that you understand them, and you’ve built that rapport with them and you’ve built that relationship with them and therefore you’re going to get a far better result. So that is communication, but it’s personalized communication. Less formulaic, less structured but absolutely all the elements are there because why would you just go in and do a complete impromptu and just give it a go and see what happens after the relationship? You have to value their time, so you have to be able to deal with any of their questions fairly quickly, smartly, concisely, but also based on reality, not just something you’re just plucking out of the air.

Alastair Greener: [00:19:54] So that preparation, I call it the preparation iceberg. Everything that we do, the end result, that conversation you have with someone is that little bit that we see sticking out of the water. Actually, the real work is everything that’s underneath the water. All that preparation you’ve done, learning about the client, learning about the person you’re going to speak to, understanding what their concerns, what their issues are, so you’re able to solve them and you’re able to meet their expectations and to help them. It’s that preparation where you write all your elements of your washing line that’s going to help you to then connect with that individual. The best part is you will come across as someone who’s confident, someone who knows their business, but also because you know them already, you’ve already done that preparation you will come across in actually a far more relaxed way because you’re going to get a lot less curveballs heading in your direction. Does that does that make sense?

Martin Henley: [00:20:52] It does make sense, yeah. I’m kind of resolving it a little bit in my own mind because we also what we say in sales is telling isn’t selling. By virtue of the fact that you’re at the front with the microphone, you are telling. So now in my mind, I’m wondering actually is a presentation, it’s only ever marketing. It’s one to many. What you’re pitching really is the opportunity maybe to get face to face with them in like a proper sales and marketing context where that’s what you want to do. Like maybe where you are, you don’t want to get face-to-face with these people. You know, you are doing your pitch on stage.

Martin Henley: [00:21:27] There is a theme that runs through these conversations, which is about creatives finding themselves in marketing. So lots of people are coming from like music backgrounds, they might have been deejays, they might have been actors, but it seems to me that you have travelled least far from that to where you are. You’re clearly marketing your business. It’s interesting that you call yourself Present Yourself, because where we’ve got to in 2022 is that people are now talking very much. We have what they call solo entrepreneurs or solopreneurs. These people are talking about personal brands. You know, this seems to have got very relevant in 2022 to where people actually have to be thinking about how they present themselves. So I just wanted to say that before I bring some order to this. Do you want to respond to the fact that I think you’re the person I’ve spoken to, many people have come from a creative background, but you’ve come least far from that creative background.

Alastair Greener: [00:22:37] Yeah. No, you’re you’re absolutely right. I always think wherever you are at the moment is the culmination of all your experiences to date. My work actually, funnily enough, on Cruise ships was particularly relevant because I understood working an audience. I understood trying to work with the audience, work with the various different people who were within my remit and the TV work. How do you come across in a way that people are buying into you? They like you, you’re speaking to this inanimate object in front of you. How do you come across in a personal way to do that? Which is why, unsurprisingly, during lockdown, I was doing a lot of presenting yourself when you’re virtual, how do you come across in a way where people are going to buy into what you’re saying? Yeah, So that’s all come down to what you say is my company Presents Yourself. The reason I called it that is because we are all salespeople. We are salespeople from the day we were born trying to convince our parents that we want to get that extra bottle of milk. Or later on when you’re going to school can I go to the sweet shop on the way and pick up a Mars Bar or whatever it is. We start that negotiation and draw those sales right from the beginning.

Alastair Greener: [00:23:54] We are presenting ourselves in the best and most powerful manner that we possibly can, and it’s inbuilt. It’s part of us. What I’m doing is helping people to sharpen that message and make sure that you’re coming across in the most powerful way you possibly can with what you have to offer. Sharpening that message, particularly at the moment we hear so much about people’s attention span getting smaller and smaller and smaller. That puts a lot of pressure on us to present ourselves in a way that is going to come across quickly, but we’re going to get that message across concisely and also effectively. That’s where presenting yourself in the right way can make a big impact to your audience, whether that’s one person you’re selling to or whether you’re on stage talking to an audience of between 30 and 1000 people, or you’re on TV and you’re talking to millions. Whichever way you do it, you’re still having to present yourself in a way that’s powerful and that’s going to work for you.

Martin Henley: [00:24:58] Okay, Perfect. Excellent. Good. Now, I’m going to bring some order to this. Okay? So you know that there are five questions. We’re still going to have chats around that. The five questions are, how are you qualified to talk to us about your specialist subject? So your specialist subject is that presentation skills? Is that developing a presentation? How do you define what you do?

Alastair Greener: [00:25:28] Because there’s lots of strands to what I do. I’m still doing some TV presenting. I’ve just come back from a conference yesterday that I was emceeing and then I was doing the awards in the evening and I still do roundtable small discussions. I do a lot of training to help people get their message across more effectively and I also do keynote speaking. I put that under the umbrella of communication. A lot of that communication is me communicating in the most powerful way that I can to get that message across. Slso it’s helping other people with my company Present Yourself that’s about helping other people, enabling other people. I do emcee masterclasses. So for example, I had a client I worked with in London, I went to Paris with them, I went to Germany with them and they were going to go to America and said, Really, sorry, we can’t take you to America, but can you train our people so they can be the great emcees that we think you are? I said, Absolutely, I will help people if they are polishing a keynote to really hit home.

Alastair Greener: [00:26:31] I have a very simple model for a keynote, it’s basic and then we build up from there. Many people from the UK will be familiar with what I call H.M.R.C. His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. So in other words, the people who collect our taxes.

Alastair Greener: [00:26:50] I change that to hook get people involved in what you’re saying, so they really want to hear what you’ve got to say. Then deliver your message that’s the M. There’s a lot of things surrounding the message, which we’ll probably talk about later. Then doing a bit of a recap, remind people what you’ve said. You know the old adage, Tell people what you’re going to say, tell them and tell them what you’ve said. The power of three, that comes in the recap. The final thing, which is I think what you were alluding to earlier on, is the call to action. What do you want people to do, feel or think differently as a result of listening to you? Because if they’re not going to, well, Why have you spoken to them? It could be something as simple as you want to entertain them So they walk away thinking, Yeah, that was great, really enjoyed that. Or it could be actually, I want something that I can really take away and act upon that’s going to change my business that you said in the introduction there. So that’s the call to action. What I do is help people in whichever environment they’re in, whether it’s online, on stage or on camera, to communicate in a more effective way so they can get themselves presented in a way that engages their audience and their audiences do take action.

Martin Henley: [00:28:05] Super cool. You’re messing with my order horribly here. You do know that, don’t you? You really are.

Alastair Greener: [00:28:11] What I will say is coming back to your thing about why am I qualified to do what I do?

Martin Henley: [00:28:16] Yes.

Alastair Greener: [00:28:17] I’ve been communicating all my life. My first career was in hotel management. That’s what I thought I wanted to, and I loved it. It was great. It was, you know, dealing with the general public. I was communicating. That’s exactly what I was doing, how do I get the orders? How do I work with managers? So I started off with that and I went into sales and I did that for a few years. Sales, as you know, is absolutely all about getting your message across, getting people to take action. Funny enough, I wasn’t terribly good at sales, if the truth be known, I wasn’t brilliant. Somebody I was working with said to me, You know what? You’re much better at presenting than you are actually at selling, have you thought about that? And that was the path that then to get into acting and TV presenting. I was just at an audition after about three or four years with somebody I’d worked with before who was a dancer at a roadshow I was working on and she was showing me after the audition, we were in a little Greasy Joe’s Cafe, as they used to be called it would be called a coffee shop nowadays, but in those days there was this little greasy Joe’s cafe, and she’s showing me all these pictures of the Caribbean and palm trees and beaches and this was a wet, cold November day in North London. The green-eyed monster came out and said, I’ll have myself some of that and I said, Well, what can I do? And she said, Well, you can’t sing and you can’t dance you could become an entertainment officer. Six months later, I’m in Majorca boarding this amazing ship. I thought this would be fun for six months because it’s something to do, you know, in our world of acting and presenting, it’s the original gig economy. You would do your bit, and then you go off and have to find something else to do. Actually your job was auditioning, that’s actually what you did more than anything else. So I thought, Well, this is great. Six months. That’ll suit me fine. Sailing around the Mediterranean. What’s not to love? Performing and doing what I love doing? Well, as you said, actually, you said 13, it was actually 16 years later, I think about 3 million nautical miles, 14 ships, three companies I decided that, yeah, I’ve done that now.

Alastair Greener: [00:30:26] During that time I worked with entertainers, I was part of the management team. I was very much involved in getting the message across to passengers. A captain once said to me, he said, I’m the mayor of this town and you’re the Pied Piper, meaning it was my job to get the message across to the passengers because they were the people that saw me more than anybody else. So when I gave that up about 11 years ago, I wanted to utilise all those skills. Originally, I just wanted to get back to TV presenting because that’s what my dream was. Then I realised actually I can help other people become more effective communicators. I can continue doing the emceeing that I’ve been doing all this time, all those things. It just all culminated and made perfect sense. I set up my company. I still carried on doing the emceeing, the presenting, and then decided I was going to do keynote speaking because I was particularly keen on this concept of personalised communication. So the reason I feel qualified to do what I do is that this is, as I mentioned earlier on, the culmination of all those different jobs I did along the way that have brought me to this point now.

Martin Henley: [00:31:44] Alistair, we’ve got a real problem here. I’ve got an actual tropical storm going on I can’t really hear you. The heavens have just opened. I’m trying to find a way. What are these different things? Can you say something and see if I can hear you?

Alastair Greener: [00:32:05] Well, actually, yes, that’s fine. It’s work. It should be working.

Martin Henley: [00:32:08] Okay. I think it might actually be letting up a little bit. Can we? I’ve got these headphones. I’ve never been able to make them work. Okay, let’s. Well, put a little cut in here, and we’ll come back to it.

Alastair Greener: [00:32:27] That’s fine.

Martin Henley: [00:32:37] Okay. Sorry about this, man. The heavens have literally opened. Okay, so this one outputs audio monitor, field monitor. Okay, so if you say something.

Alastair Greener: [00:32:59] Yeah. So I’m actually here.

Martin Henley: [00:33:03] We’re winning. We are winning. Okay, cool. Right. So Mike is still this one. This is coming through my ears. Oh, this is genius. I found it now. Okay. So I didn’t catch much of what you were saying. You were saying that you’re passionate. You’ve done it a lot.

Alastair Greener: [00:33:26] That’s a very nice, a good way to wrap it all up. Yeah. I think, as I said before, the to me, what I do now is the culmination of everything I’ve done in my life from my early days in hospitality, moving into sales, moving to working on cruise ships, dealing with passengers, entertaining, emceeing, and then getting into back into TV when I left and then building my company. And now having worked for 11 years, helping other people communicate more effectively and developing my personalized communication model as well.

Martin Henley: [00:33:59] Okay, brilliant. Interestingly, you are the third person and we’re coming up to about 90 of these conversations. Who has come from the tourism industry into presenting or emceeing or whatever it is, because what they do in the tourism industry. The problem is, I’ve got an echo on these headphones now. Okay. It’s not as simple as it looks. I can go with one earpiece. So what they say is, like, if you’re managing these huge groups of tourists, then it’s a little bit like teaching where teaching you’re essentially presenting 6 hours a day. If you’re in that situation in these tourist situations, then you are basically herding cats all day, every day. You get to be really good at this.

Alastair Greener: [00:34:56] Yeah, there’s certainly parallels and there’s obviously nuances within different aspects of the tourist industry. Although the way that I was to use your phrase, herding was through communication from stage as opposed to physically holding a paddle up and taking people on tours. You’re absolutely right in terms of the communication method you use, are absolutely they have a use in the wider world and they’re hugely valuable tools as well. The one big thing that is absolute throughout all of this is relationships. Having the relationship with the audience, having a relationship with the people you’re taking out on tour. For example, one of the things, my role on board the ship was apart from running the entertainment department of about 100 people, one of my roles was if there was an accident, if there was an emergency, I was in charge of passenger evacuation. I would have to lead all the passengers to lifeboats to safety. The reason my role was that was that I was the most prominent individual on the ship. Everyone knew who I was, therefore, if I was the person who was now responsible for their safety, not just entertaining them, they had to have faith and they had to have trust in me. First of all, it was because they knew me, that definitely helped. But secondly, they needed to see that the way we communicated with them, they thought, Yeah, that’s okay, I trust them, that’s good. We’ve all been in positions, haven’t we, where someone has said, This is what we need to do now this is the way forward, whether it be an emergency situation or just going on tour and someone says, Well, we’re going down this way. You either think, Yep, I trust them, they know what they’re doing, I’ll follow, or actually this person’s a bit of an idiot they got us lost last time they did this wrong, they did that wrong actually, I’m going to start questioning. I’m not going to be so sure I’m going to agree with them and actually what I’m going to do is I’m going to start getting a few people who agree with me, because this is what Brits do. I’m going to get a few people who agree with me and then we’ll form a team and then we’ll go up against him because we don’t have faith in them. That’s what we do and it’s particularly British culture, I have to say, that we do that. If you’re in an emergency, you absolutely need people’s trust. They have to believe you when you’re saying we’re going this way and they think, Yeah, but the lifeboats are that way, Why are we going this way? If they don’t believe you, if they don’t trust you, they won’t follow you. Communication may be not quite so dramatic, but the principles are absolutely the same. So, yeah, a huge amount of parallels between the tourism industry and the speaking industry, sales industry and trust.

Martin Henley: [00:37:43] 100%.

Martin Henley: [00:37:44] It’s interesting because one time a mate of mine who used to work on the doors in clubs convinced me that I should go help him out. There was a situation where people were spilling onto the road and obviously that wasn’t safe. So my job was to go and sort this situation out and I just went into crowd control and because that’s what presenting is occasionally, you know. So I was just able to dominate this situation. So I think you’re right, there are transferable skills here.

Martin Henley: [00:38:12] 100%.

Martin Henley: [00:38:13] So question number two, let me know. I won’t we’ll just go through the questions. Question number two, who do you work with? How do you add value to their lives? And now you can tell us a bit more about your process and things maybe.

Alastair Greener: [00:38:27] So when I’m doing my presenting, well, we’ll put that to one side a second because that will cover whatever topic it happens to be.

Alastair Greener: [00:38:37] Let’s talk particularly about my speaking work and certainly when it comes to both of them, I speak to corporates my aim is to help them become more effective communicators. Now, with my company, present yourself, I’m predominantly helping people, or helping corporations, and people within their teams to become more effective at what they do. Often that’s presentation skills. For example, I was working with Brother, you know, the big technology firm, and I was helping them during lockdown to get their teams, when they were presenting online, to their clients and customers, how were they going to do it in a sharper, clearer, more concise way?

Alastair Greener: [00:39:21] There’s a lot of nuances about presenting online which don’t apply when you’re in person. For example, when you’re in person and you get round, you know, maybe you’re in a boardroom to make a presentation there’s cookies on the table, there’s coffees, there’s a bit of chit chat beforehand, you’ve got eyeballing, you can see each other, it’s very different environment when you go online. So what I identified fairly quickly was what were the key elements that people wanted out of an online presentation versus being one where you were actually there in the room. The short and simple way to describe that is you’ve got to be shorter, sharper, clearer than you do when you’re in person.

Alastair Greener: [00:40:03] So we talked a lot about that.

Alastair Greener: [00:40:05] I also help corporations when they’re looking at major events and they’re looking at … maybe it could be an event where I’m emceeing and I’m also doing a keynote about personalised communication. It depends on the organisation, what they’re looking for, and which areas they feel that they’re not so strong in.

Alastair Greener: [00:40:27] This is where this personalised communication comes up, when you’re working with a client, I use the word bespoke and some people use that a little bit glibly, but genuinely everything I do is bespoke. First of all, a call with a client to see what they want, then I’ll put together a proposal based on that. So someone sends me up and says, Oh, can you do your personalised communication keynote for us What’s the price? That for me doesn’t work. I’ve got to know who are they? What problem are they trying to solve? And I want an in-depth conversation with them before I put together a proposal. The proposal will outline what I’m going to talk about in my keynote. Again, I just pick things from the washing line that I feel will work with that particular client. Then we will have a briefing call before and in that briefing call I’ll be talking all about, this is what I’m proposing does this sound right? Would you like to change anything? What would you like to hear instead? So again, this becomes a bespoke piece to them and then we actually have the keynote itself and there will be materials afterwards that are given to delegates which are specific to them rather than just generic items.

Alastair Greener: [00:41:41] The same goes with my training. You know, I do media skills training. I was working with an ecology company a couple of months ago and we brought them into studios that I worked with in central London. The whole day was designed around what do they want? What problem are they solving? In marketing, you’re very familiar with the term WIIFM, What’s in it for me? For me identifying my clients, what their problem is and what they’re trying to get across to their delegates and their individuals. That’s the first and most important question for me. What is it that they want? What problem are they trying to solve? Then we start building up that jigsaw and bring all those elements together to make sure that whatever we do is targeted exactly to their requirements.

Alastair Greener: [00:42:28] So those are the things that I do, mostly corporates working with banks. I don’t have a particular sector because communication works across all sectors, but once I work with a particular sector, whether it be technology, whether it be banking, insurance, or the environment, I will then study their particular terminology, I’ll use their language, I’ll use the things that are familiar to them to make sure again, this is personal and they realise, Oh, he isn’t just doing his standard keynote or this isn’t him just doing his standard training. He gets us, he gets our pain points and he’s here to help us.

Martin Henley: [00:43:05] Okay, So what is it commonly that people are challenged to communicate? Can you give us a sense of that?

Alastair Greener: [00:43:14] It will vary, but generally people want to get across a message, but they want to get it across in an effective way where people will actually remember them. You know, we’ve all been to conferences, we hear lots of keynotes. You think, what was that all about? So most clients that I work with, they want their messages to land. They want their messages to resonate with their audiences so that people are then fired up to take action, or to think differently, or to do something differently than they were before. I would say within my world it’s how do you get that message across so that it actually becomes sticky, it becomes tweetable, it becomes repeatable that people will actually do something rather than just sitting through a 45 minute keynote and saying, Yes, that was very nice, I was thoroughly entertained, he was a very nice chap and then walk away and doing absolutely nothing.

Martin Henley: [00:44:11] Okay. So the question has to be how do you make these presentations sticky?

Alastair Greener: [00:44:19] First of all, you have to speak to your audience. So you have to understand what their issue is, what are their pain points? What problem are you solving for them? That’s the first thing and that’s the hook part, really. That’s what’s going to get people to listen to you because within the first few sentences you said, I get your problem, I understand you, I know where you are, I know what you want, I’m going to show you how to resolve that. That needs to be done very, very, very quickly. Then you deliver your message. You deliver what your content is that’s going to achieve their goals. Within that content, it’s not lots of data, it’s not lots of big diagrams and things on a PowerPoint presentation. It’s first of all, stories and your stories are, and a really good way to do this, and you probably do this in sales where rather than saying, Oh, we will make this, this, this and this work for you, you talk about a client you’ve worked with, what their problem was, which is very similar to the person you’re talking to, how you resolved it and what the results were as a result of it. Then you back it up with maybe a bit of data to really help give that validity, if you like, to the story that you’ve just told.

Alastair Greener: [00:45:33] So your presentation becomes very much experience, story, testimonial based, and then you provide some backup data for it dependent upon the industry you’re working with. If you’re working with engineers, if you’re working with people who are very numbers oriented, then you obviously put a bit more in there. So again, you need to know your audience. Then you give them a recap, remind them what they’ve heard, remind them of the value that they’ve got from it, and then give them a task to do at the end. Ask them to think differently, do something differently, and make sure that it becomes memorable. Your last line is an old adage and it came from a university in America where they looked at students. Students absorbed everything that happened in the lecture and they find they found that the first 9 seconds and the last 9 seconds were absolutely critical. It’s a little bit like first and last impressions. So when I’m working with my clients, I work on those first, the opener and the closer probably more than anything else, so that you grab their attention in the beginning and you leave them with a great impact at the end. So they feel inspired to do something different and they really get what it is they’ve got to do.

Martin Henley: [00:46:50] Okay. I think you’re right. I think people stand up and they haven’t really got much of a sense where the audience are and where it is that they want to take them. Just really doing that would make all the difference in the world.

Alastair Greener: [00:47:12] One of the worst things, Martin, that people do, even worse than that. Rather than not thinking about their audience and thinking about how they could answer their why. The worst thing they do is just trot out the same presentation that they deliver every time. The problem with doing that is if you don’t personalise it, what will happen is that people will switch off. You won’t get them hooked in at the beginning because you haven’t answered that. Now you just have polite people sat there.

Alastair Greener: [00:47:38] I’ve done some work in schools and it’s great because if kids are bored, if they’re not buying into it, they will let you know. You will know very quickly. They don’t have the filters that we in the corporate world do, where we will sit there politely and at the end and then walk away. You will know whether you’ve engaged them and actually good presenter will know whether you’ve engaged your audience because you’ll look in their eyes and you’ll see, are they making notes? Are they actually engaged? Are you getting the reaction you hope for at that particular time? But my pet hate is what I call lazy presenting, just doing the same thing you’ve done 100 times before and actually probably delivering it with a lacklustre performance because actually you’ve almost bored yourself with your presentation. That to me is unforgivable because you’re wasting your time, but more importantly, you’re wasting your client’s time and your audience’s time by doing that.

Martin Henley: [00:48:32] Yeah, 100%. I think like that. I think if I’ve got 15 minutes to present to 300 people, I will times that 15 minutes by the 300 and say, look, this is how much time I’m being given and I think it’s really valuable to think about it in that way.

Alastair Greener: [00:48:53] How.

Martin Henley: [00:48:56] Like you say, this is a really valuable skill like being able to present will get you on in your career.

Martin Henley: [00:49:05] How much of presenting is a natural ability and how much of it is taught?

Alastair Greener: [00:49:14] Really good question. I think you cannot teach someone personality and there are natural people who have charisma and they have that way about them. We only have to look in the world of politics where there are very charismatic leaders who seem to get away with an awful lot more than people who are less charismatic I’m not going to draw any particular parallels to that. The point is, yes, you can have that natural element, and that’s great. What I teach people is if all else fails, if you just stick to these rules, you’ll be fine. Now, the reality is a lot of people break my rules and they don’t do what I suggest, but actually they’ve got the personality. Which is great. If you don’t have that, actually, just by sticking to some general rules, you will still be effecive. Of course, if you have a personality that is that people recognize, and people enjoy and so on, then that’s great. The really useful thing is if you have a model that you follow, basic, you will be able to get your message across in the most powerful manner. The best thing to do is to really respect your audience, respect their time and respect the fact they could be doing something else. Therefore you’re going to deliver what you promise what the client wanted and within the time that you said as well.

Martin Henley: [00:50:41] Okay. Is that all of the rules?

Alastair Greener: [00:50:46] Interesting. That’s. That’s got me thinking for a second. I think. I think the rules are understand your audience, understand their pain and then help them deal with that pain. To me, that’s the single biggest rule of any form of speaking. If you do that then you’re 90% there. Now, there’s lots of things within that that you should be doing. But those are those are the golden rules for me. Respecting the audience and delivering what they are looking for, otherwise, why are you there? And that’s the same whether you’re an emcee, whether you’re delivering a keynote or delivering a training. Whatever message it is you’re trying to get across, understand your audience, answer their why, what’s there with them, and then deliver and deliver. As you have said, you’re going to within the time you’ve said, you’re going to, with complete respect of your audience.

Martin Henley: [00:51:41] 100%. I think the big issue in public speaking is you will have heard people would rather die than stand up in front of an audience, etc., etc.. For me. That’s a nonsense. If you are standing up in front of an audience and you are more concerned for yourself than them, you’ve got it absolutely wrong. You should leave.

Alastair Greener: [00:52:01] Yeah, it’s a very, very good point. A lot of people, when it comes to confidence, there’s a few things which you’ve touched on there. The first thing with confidence is you’re absolutely right. Why are you thinking about yourself? This isn’t about you. This is about your message and your audience and getting a connection between the two. But people,

[00:52:20] There is psychology behind it, what they call Glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public, and it’s a real fear. The irony is more people are scared of speaking in public than they are of dying. Which means that they would rather be in the box rather than delivering the eulogy, which is absolute madness. The biggest reason why people are fearful is because they’re going to be judged, they’re going to make themselves look an idiot. The reality is that it comes back to my preparation iceberg. If you’ve done all your preparation, you’ve nailed it in terms of answering the audiences why, you’ve given some great examples and you’ve really done all of that prep that’s all way before you get anywhere near the stage, if you’ve done all of that, that’s a huge way past getting past that nervousness. Another trick that you often hear presenting skill coaches will talk about is turning that anxiety into excitement. I’m excited, not for me being on stage, I’m excited about sharing my message with my audience that I’m really going to give them something that they’re going to walk away with and think, Wow, that was really helpful.

Alastair Greener: [00:53:31] I’ve got some nuggets that I can really take action with, and I’m going to be able to really transform my business as a result of hearing what this person is having to say. So be excited about your message and just think about your audience. Then it’s never going to go away, all these people say, you do that, you’ll be fine. No problem. No. Some people will still have anxiety. The other thing I suggest to people, and this is one of my big mantras, is practice, makes not perfect, permanent maybe, but actually, for me, it’s progress. Actually, it was a nine year old lad in Northampton who taught me that. I did this thing in front of the school, I said practice makes and they all went perfect, and this one lad said, progress and I thought that is really insightful. Then every opportunity you get to speak, do it, whatever it is, get out of your comfort zone and just do it. There’s no question it’s muscle memory, the more you do it, the better you get. Was I a slick presenter? Was I having no problems getting up on stage, speaking to, I think my biggest audience was about 3000 people. Did it bother me years ago? Of course it did. Does it still bother me a bit? Yeah, I still get nervous. If you’re not nervous, you should be worried. I don’t have anxiety about it and I can come across as quickly, go into into my mode of delivering my message.

Alastair Greener: [00:54:52] One thing I would do, a little tip here I’m going to give to everybody. When we’re nervous, we tend to start off and we go off at 100 miles an hour. We speak way too fast. So what I do is I program in my introduction, in my first few words in that hook, I program pauses, and those pauses will naturally slow me down and then I’ll get into my rhythm. I do that if I’m out of my comfort zone. I did a comedy spot at the Professional Speaking Association annual summit last about three weeks ago, and we were in Ireland and there we were delivering comedy. I used that trick then because I was out of my comfort zone. I only do this once in a blue moon, so that’s just a top tip. If you do get nervous, focus on your audience, do your preparation, get excited about your content, and put some pauses in those early parts of your delivery. That will slow you down and calm you down as well.

Alastair Greener: [00:55:47] One final thing.

Alastair Greener: [00:55:48] Breathing. Breathing is incredibly important. I do what we call a three, four, five method, which is breathe in for three, hold for four, and breathe out for five. If you are breathing out more than your breathing in, you’re actually releasing some of those stress hormones as well. So that will actually help you be relaxed and it’ll reduce your heart rate.

[00:56:12] So a lot in that.

Martin Henley: [00:56:13] There’s a lot in there, a lot of really useful stuff in there, I think. Okay, good. There’s something else. Maybe there isn’t anything else. Maybe we’re up to question number three already. What do you think?

Alastair Greener: [00:56:27] I’m happy to. You’ve you’ve heard the messages, you’ve heard the parts. You tell me whether you’re ready to move on. And the reality is, as you said before, it’s a moveable feast we’ll dip in and out and around the questions all along. .

Martin Henley: [00:56:39] That’s not what I said. I said I was going to bring order to this, and you’ve totally disrespected that. Okay, cool. So question number three is and this is like a one or two minute thing because we’ll chop this up and put it on. TikTok.

Martin Henley: [00:56:53] What is your recommendation for anyone who is either thinking about presenting themselves or wanting to present themselves better?

Alastair Greener: [00:57:05] Number one, know your content. Know what you’re going to talk about. You know people who think they can just hoof it, I’m sorry, the most professional people never do it. The best comedians, the best performers, they know their content. They have practiced, they’ve rehearsed, and they know their content. Secondly, practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, it will pay dividends because you’ll then be really familiar with what you’re going to say, and that will also help you with your confidence as well. So if you do those three things you will be more confident, but most importantly, you’ll be also more effective with your audience.

Martin Henley: [00:57:42] Yes. Okay. I agree with that. I think in my mind, I’m a little bit resolved that the preparation a sales or marketing person should do before they stand up is really knowing their market, obviously their audience, and all the experience of having been in that market for all of that time. I think people really struggle to understand their personal value and the personal values should be them and the value they can deliver. They understand the issues, understand the options, have experience of implementing those solutions. You know, that for me is that kind of preparation. So for me, I think a sales and marketing presentation should be less, I don’t want to use a negative term, prepared. Okay. Maybe if you are that person who is in that industry, then maybe you can be a little bit more… I don’t want to use negative term now improvised. Let’s go that way. Based on the fact that you’ve got decades in this industry.

Alastair Greener: [00:58:54] Yeah. I’m very nervous of people who say improvise, because improvise implies you’re hoofing it and you’re just going to go for it. The reality is, coming back to Mark Twain, the best improvised speech I did took me three months to write. Actually, the shorter the pitch, the more effort you need to put into getting it right in the first place. I’ll come back to what I talked about before about the washing line. Yes. Improvise the order in which you do things because nothing worse than I’ve got this point, no, no, you’ve got to hear this first, because I can’t move on to that one until I’ve done this. So in that case, absolutely improvise the order, improvise some of the elements. Some things can be dropped out, some things to be brought in. I come back to my washing line thing have your washing line prepared. Each one of those elements on that washing line is carefully prepared, carefully scripted, so you know exactly what you’re saying. Then I think you will nail it. I think just a plain busk it, I think is potentially a little bit dangerous. We’ve all seen politicians who’ve gone off script when they’re supposed to be doing a briefing. It quite often gets them in trouble. The other thing, by the way, is improvisation some people can do it, some people will put it off, I’m not saying it doesn’t work, but you need to be a certain type of person to be able to do that. What I talk about will work for everybody. Improvising will definitely not work for everybody, and a lot of people will not get away with it and actually they will feel really nervous if they feel they’re having to improvise as well. If they feel that’s the direction that they’ve been taught, they should be heading in. If you have a clear structure, and I don’t mean verbatim, this is where possibly we will agree to meet in the middle a little bit. I’m not saying script. I never say script unless it’s 5 minutes. If it’s 5 minutes, you’ve got to nail 5 minutes. That needs to be scripted and you need to know almost word for word but if it’s longer than that, definitely don’t script it. I’m a professional presenter, I can read an autocue and I can make it sound like it’s natural and it’s the first time I’ve said it, but that takes years of experience to do. Some people are naturals at it, most of us aren’t.

Alastair Greener: [01:01:12] So definitely don’t script, but do have a plan, and do have a structure, and do have your washing line ready so that you can pick the elements that you need. That will feel a bit improvised to the client because the client will think, Oh good, they responded to that with that. If you haven’t prepared then you’re not going to come across as smooth and that’s even worse. Some elements of what you do will be really smooth and really on point, then other bits will get really weak and waffly because that’s what we tend to do. If we don’t know what we’re saying, if we’re not confident in what we’re talking about, we will waffle and put in a heck of a lot more words than we need to.

Martin Henley: [01:01:50] Okay and just to be clear, I’m not recommending anyone stand up and wing this and start making stuff up, we’re not so far apart, as you seem to think. I think this authenticity thing is interesting. The danger of what you’re saying. The only time I’ve ever stood up in front of an audience and actually been even partly worried, or concerned, or anxious was the stand-up comedy thing because it was scripted and because if it’s going wrong, you’ve got nowhere to go. You’ve got the rest of your script and you have to get through it. If they don’t like it and, you know, in a comedy club, if they like it or not, then you’re dead. That’s how you die. It comes back to your point, you really need to know what your audience want.

Alastair Greener: [01:02:45] I have a technique I call anchor points in a presentation. So you have your clear points you need to be at a certain point in your presentation. If you have those anchor points not learned, but you know where those anchor points are, you’ll be able to get to that next point. So if this bit’s gone a bit haywire, it’s gone a bit off track, you know you’ve got your next anchor point ready to launch into when you’re ready. I see comedians do this as well. Comedians will go off script, they’ll go off to their washing line and they’ll go and get stuff. When that’s gone a bit pear-shaped, what they do is they then come back to their anchor point and say, Right, I’ll carry on from there. A classic case being Billy Connolly. I’m a massive, massive fan of Billy. I’ve seen him on stage probably about four or five times. Watch him whenever I can. Absolutely brilliant. There’s one particular time when he was performing at the Apollo, as it is now, the Hammersmith Odeon, as it was then, and he was performing and some friends of mine, I bought my ticket to go and some friends of mine had bought a ticket as well but on a different night he was there for three nights. So I said, No, that’s fine. I’ll go both nights. Absolute gold dust for me because I saw what he did differently the first night to the second night. He absolutely uses this principle of anchor points. So what Billy would do is he would go off on a tangent. Now he can do it. He can go off on a tangent. There’s an element of washing line in there. There’s an element of just being quick witted. Then, when he felt it was starting to dry up, he would come back to his anchor point and go off again on another tangent. I saw him do this a few times and I’ve seen comedians subsequently do this and it’s just genius and it works brilliantly when they need to suddenly re-energize everything and get it going right. Let’s get to that next anchor point.

Martin Henley: [01:04:35] Yes. Yes, I 100% agree with you. You really like this washing line analogy. Why is it a washing line? Why isn’t it? I talk about a quiver, I go to my quiver for something slightly different. Why did you settle on a washing line?

Alastair Greener: [01:04:51] I don’t know. I think it’s just something that is easy to visualize. If you just imagine everything on the line and just see these things. I’m reminded of actually a dark room where you have where in the old days with it, they’d get the photos and put them up on the washing line. You’ve got all these different negatives all along and that was the first image that I had actually. Then that takes a bit of explaining as I’ve just had to do. With a washing line we get it immediately. We know exactly what that is. All the things are hanging on there from your, you know, your shirts, your socks, you know, everything. It’s all there. You just think that that, that, that, that, that a little bit like when you go to dress in the morning, you think, okay, I want to match my clothes a little bit so you look along your clothes. I think that sweater with that pair of trousers.

Martin Henley: [01:05:37] Your wardrobe that would be better.

Alastair Greener: [01:05:40] Yeah, maybe.

Martin Henley: [01:05:41] What would make it make sense for me is if you were saying you need something fresh and clean to put on that from the washing line.

Alastair Greener: [01:05:50] Yeah, yeah, that could work and actually the nice thing is that it’s it’s still fundamentally the same, but it’s just been polished because it’s been cleaned. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.

Martin Henley: [01:06:01] That’s okay. You can have that for absolute free.

Alastair Greener: [01:06:03] You’re quite right and what you brought up there and I will use that, I’m going to write it down actually, is that all of the content on that washing line does need to be inspected periodically. It does need to be checked. Make sure the moths haven’t got in there or make sure that you’re not like us at the moment having work done and you suddenly realise it’s all dusty because of stuff going on so well.

Martin Henley: [01:06:26] There isn’t a bee in one of the underpants.

Alastair Greener: [01:06:29] Yes, Yes. Well, yeah, we’ll move on from that image.

Martin Henley: [01:06:33] So let’s move on from that image. Okay, cool. We’ve got to question four. I’ve taken charge of this conversation a little bit now. Really simple.

Martin Henley: [01:06:43] What should people read? Is there something that you’ve read that has given you particular insights or epiphanies or directed your direction?

Alastair Greener: [01:06:51] When I saw this question, I thought, what should people read? I mean, I’m doing a huge amount of reading on personalized communication, and I’m working on a big project at the moment about generational communication. Generational communication is all about how Gen Z are communicating with millennials and so on. For those I’m reading a load of books, I’m reading loads of McKinsey reports, I’m reading tons of them. However, for presenting, actually, I’m not going to say read anything. Watch and listen. Watch the masters. I go to the Professional Speaking Association, a phenomenal organization for people who speak for a living. Just a little bit of clarification. So you mentioned about Toastmasters and PSA. Toastmasters are for people who want to learn the craft of speaking. The Professional Speaking Association is for people who speak for a living already. Now, that doesn’t mean that they can’t improve the craft, but effectively they have some form of business where they speak for a living. So the strapline for the PSA is speak more, speak better. So it’s about that business of speaking. I go to every meeting. I just came back, as I mentioned, from Dublin when we had our in fact it was the Global Speaker Summit where all the speaking associations from around the world all gathered in Dublin. It was hosted by the UK and Ireland Professional Speakers Association, and we saw keynotes. What I did, I watched the craft of people doing a keynote and obviously I got to see some of the best in the business, Sean Weaver, David Abbott and some amazing people who really were phenomenal. So I watched the craft of what they do, even when I go to regional meetings and as someone who’s a fellow of the PSA, I often get asked to give feedback to someone who’s an emerging speaker.

Alastair Greener: [01:08:36] I learn by watching somebody else by what they do well and what they don’t. So my advice is watch as many speakers as you can watch TED talks, look at the way they structure TED talks. It’s brilliant. It’s absolutely amazing. And they’ve changed. Interesting. Now it is all TED talks now down to nine, 10 minutes. They’re a lot shorter. Not the 18 that they were. Also, listen, this came up fairly recently, someone was talking about virtual speaking, where actually your voice is more important than anything else. I say to people, if your broadband isn’t particularly good, just come off camera. It doesn’t matter if they can’t see you. It does matter if they can’t hear you, which is why you and I have got professional-level microphones so that you can be heard clearly and succinctly. What I gauge is to listen to people doing voiceovers, listen to people who do podcasts, Listen to people who do audiobooks and listen to the way they use their voice. That vocal variety, making it a bit more interesting, speeding up, slowing down. I use this analogy for that, a roller coaster. If you imagine a roller coaster where tone, pitch, volume and speed are all the wheels on that roller coaster, they’re all moving in unison as the atmosphere and the content you’re speaking about changes. That makes it more interesting for people. So if you’re telling a story, you can go quite fast. If you’re delivering real key nuggets of information, slow right down. So it’s those little techniques that if you watch people and listen to people, you will you will get that.

Martin Henley: [01:10:22] Excellent. Good. I’m with you as well. Do you? You must have seen Sir Ken Robinson’s TEDx talk on creativity in schools. That’s the. That’s the best presentation I’ve ever seen. I just think that’s amazing.

Alastair Greener: [01:10:38] It is. And actually one of my favorites that I use for my generational communication is Simon Sinek. I think Simon Sinek is just amazing. And I watch his particularly, he’s got millennials in the workplace. It’s the one that huge amounts of people have seen. I think it’s had some I don’t know how many it’s into, I think a billion views. It’s just extraordinary. But you watch those masters at it, as you say, you know, they’re just brilliant and just watching them, you learn so much and then watch yourself back and don’t beat yourself up too much because you’re not those people.

Martin Henley: [01:11:16] Okay. Super cool. Great recommendation. Thank you. Okay, good. Now I need to check in and see how you have enjoyed your experience of being on the talk marketing show.

Alastair Greener: [01:11:29] You know, it’s really funny. Well, first of all, you’ve taught me something, and I’m going to write that down as soon as we finish about laundering your clothes before you put them on the washing line. I think it’s it’s really good to have the time to go into a little bit more depth. I think that’s really lovely. I spend a lot of time condensing information to try and get into a neat little package. So to be able to have a conversation is really, really valuable. So it’s been great. It’s been you’ve taught me something. You always learn from everybody else in different ways and just going through your material again, you actually think, Yeah, I could do that bit better next time and I will watch this podcast back and I will beat myself up a little bit. I will think you could have done that bit better, but that’s how we do improve all the time.

Martin Henley: [01:12:13] Yeah, I think it’s interestingly, it’s interesting speaking people are overrepresented. Steve Bustin was hosting was he in Ireland.

Alastair Greener: [01:12:26] And he hosted one of the days, Yes.

Martin Henley: [01:12:28] Yeah, yeah. So he’s been here, I think there’s five or six speaking type people have been here. But it’s interesting because you’ve all come with a different kind of aspect and yeah, I think that’s really interesting. The reason, of course.

Alastair Greener: [01:12:43] Yeah, it comes. Steve comes from a not-dissimilar pedigree to me. He’s a TV presenter, he’s also an emcee and he works mostly in the health sector. It’s quite interesting watching and I watch Steve because Steve is a master, he’s phenomenal at what he does. So I’m always watching the people who I want to learn from. Jim Rohn, who is someone, and actually that’s a nice little fun fact for you, I met Jim Rowan about three or four times. If you don’t know Jim Rohn, look him up. He comes from the southern states of America. He has this wonderful, silky smooth voice and he talks about motivation. He talks about all sorts of different things. My favourite quote from him was that you can’t drift through life, you’ve got to have purpose, you’ve got to have reason, you’ve got to know where you’re going because you can’t drift to the top of the mountain. The wonderful stuff. Anyway, he’s full of all of those great things. Tony Robbins studied Jim Rohn, that gives you an idea of who he is. But Jim Rohn said, you are the sum of the five people you spend most of your time with. So when it comes. A brilliant two are experts at what they do because I want to learn from them.

Martin Henley: [01:13:56] Excellence. Cool. I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. Thank you so very much. I’m struggling with this echo in my ear. I imagine this is what it’s like to be a TV presenter when.

Alastair Greener: [01:14:11] You have someone’s voice in your ear then, and then you’re trying to do two conversations at once. That’s an interesting talent to learn.

Martin Henley: [01:14:18] Okay. I’d like to have a go at that at one time. Excellent. The reason I ask that question how you’ve enjoyed it is to work out how easy it’s going to be for you to throw a couple of people under the bus who might enjoy or maybe just endure to have a conversation like this with me. Have you got some people in mind?

Alastair Greener: [01:14:38] I will flick through what the Americans used to say in my Rolodex. I will flick through my digital Rolodex. Definitely there are some people, but some of the people are the people you’ve already spoken to, actually. But there are people who I think have got a huge amount to share. One of the lovely things and you alluded to this earlier on is that people might have a similar message, but they all deliver it in a different way and that will resonate differently with different people. I think that’s the art of speaking sometimes is coming up with new ways of communicating. Oh, I got that. Yeah, I like that. You know, I’m going to remember the fact I’ve got to do my laundry before I put it up in the washing line.

Martin Henley: [01:15:21] Yes. Excellent. So you’re not going to throw anyone under the bus right now? Because the way it works really best is if you pitch them a little bit, you say you need to speak to so-and-so because they are great at this thing or that thing. Then when I introduce them, I’ve got something to introduce them about.

Alastair Greener: [01:15:40] Right. Okay. Well, I hadn’t prepared a particular name. Shall I throw a name on? Well, I know you’ve got a name already. I don’t know, because we are in a mastermind group. By the way, I’ll give that as a great tip to anybody. Wherever your craft is be part of a mastermind group with other people within that craft. And David Abbott is in my mastermind group, as is Michelle Mills Porter, who I think was mentioned by David you might have spoken to already.

Martin Henley: [01:16:05] Yes, I have but she had a lot going on at the time so if you want to recommend Michelle again, then I’ll have another reason to go back and touch her and see if she’s managed to sort things out a bit and she’s going to have an hour and a half to spare for us.

Alastair Greener: [01:16:21] What Michelle does, and she’s taught me a huge amount, is we talked earlier on about really understanding people. Michelle has developed this model called the People Reader, and it’s incredibly powerful because it’s all about understanding people better. People might have had a desk, they might have had a color coding and all these different techniques Michelle takes principles of them and puts them into a whole new model, which gives a far more dynamic and realistic view on the people that you would be talking to. So she’s really valuable person to talk to.

Martin Henley: [01:16:56] Who else? See, that’s perfect. What you did there is perfect. I would cut that bit out and I’ll put that into her introduction. Excellent.

Alastair Greener: [01:17:06] I will think of some more people. I will definitely let you know. Martin But at least throwing somebody under the bus there.

Martin Henley: [01:17:12] Yes. Okay. Although Michelle’s already been under the bus and managed to evade me.

Alastair Greener: [01:17:18] So you’d like to. Let’s try and find somebody else who you can throw under the bus. I know somebody who you should talk to if you haven’t already. Is a lady Shantell Cornelius. No, I.

Martin Henley: [01:17:28] Haven’t. I would remember if I’d spoken to Shantell Cornelius.

Alastair Greener: [01:17:32] This one’s a company called Apple Tree Marketing. A marketing expert. She particularly helps speakers with their marketing. She is also the president elect of the Nation of the Professional Speakers Association. So she will be the national president in 2023 When? October 2023, when Nathan Lyttleton, who is currently the national president, and Nathan Littleton, he’s been there. So you’ve already spoken to Nathan?

Martin Henley: [01:18:02] Yes.

Alastair Greener: [01:18:03] So there you go. Chantelle that was the name I plucked out of my head. And Chantelle is someone I know very, very well because she was she goes to the same regional meetings of the PSA as I do in Thames Valley.

Martin Henley: [01:18:15] Fantastic. Okay, cool. Then you have fulfilled your obligation of throwing people under the bus.

Alastair Greener: [01:18:21] Well, thank you. And thank you to David Abbott for throwing me under the bus. And thank you for hosting. It’s been really great. I’ve learned an awful lot at the same time and hopefully shared some really valuable content that people can take away, use and help them to become a more effective and more confident speaker.

Martin Henley: [01:18:41] You are an absolute legend. I think you have done that at least. So what we do now is we say goodbye for the benefit of anyone who is still with us, and then I’ll stop recording and we’ll say goodbye like normal human beings. I have thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this, Alastair. I did wonder a little bit before we spoke if there was more but you’ve definitely brought more about this idea of presenting yourself, which has been really useful, I think. I really think that the people who’ve been watching will find it useful also. So thank you so much for being here, man.

Alastair Greener: [01:19:14] It’s an absolute pleasure. Martin. I would just say to anybody who’s watching, if you’d like to see more, I do completely free, they are on Tuesdays every week, I do a present yourself in a minute video. 59 seconds, top tips completely free. And that’s a great way to see how you can improve your speaking.

Martin Henley: [01:19:35] Fantastic. And they’ll find that on LinkedIn. Did I see what some of those on LinkedIn.

Alastair Greener: [01:19:39] If you just connect with me on LinkedIn, you don’t even have to connect with me. Just follow me and you can see them. I don’t add you to a marketing list or anything like that. I just believe that LinkedIn is a platform for sharing content and for helping people, and that’s what I do. So I post, I write articles, but I also have my videos every week so people can watch them and hopefully get lots of tips. It’s about 72 if you want to go through them all.

Martin Henley: [01:20:04] Wow, you’re an absolute legend. Thank you so much, Alistair Greiner. It’s Alistair and it’s Greener like more green so people will find you, I’m sure, on LinkedIn. And we will put a little link in the description below.

Alastair Greener: [01:20:21] Brilliant. Thank you very much. Martin It’s been absolutely great to talk to, wishing you all the best and, of course, all your listeners and viewers.

Martin Henley: [01:20:27] You are more than welcome. Thank you so much, Alistair.

Martin Henley

Martin Henley

Martin has built a reputation for having a no nonsense approach to sales and marketing and for motivating audiences with his wit, energy, enthusiasm and his own brand of audience participation.

Martin’s original content is based on his very current experience of running effective marketing initiatives for his customers and the feedback from Effective Marketing’s successful and popular marketing workshops.







Leave this field blank