“Being able to live their passion… is stronger than the fear of not doing it.” -Corey Poirier
We were taught to dream as kids but as adults, we were taught to let go of our dreams and live to the expectations of others. You will make others happy. But will you be happy? In this episode, you will discover how to identify your passion and be the doer of your dreams. Our guest, Corey Poirier will also help us differentiate a speaker and a story-teller and which should we be to create the deepest impact. Listen in and learn how to improve your speaking skills. Live your passion. It’s a road with no regrets.
Listen to the podcast here:
01:05 Small Town Life
06:31 Being A Dreamer
11:46 Having A Passion
16:32 Identifying Your Passion
23:40 From Music Dynamic To Speaking Engagements
29:36 Tips To Become A Speaker
35:00 Difference Between A Speaker And A Storyteller
45:50 Speaking Program
Live with no regrets. Follow your passion. Jump into today’s episode with @myexpectation and @thatspeakerguy and learn how to be a doer of your dreams. #expectations #epiphanies #doer #music #passion#dreamer#maturity#speaker Click To Tweet
10:27 “Dreamers that dream are nothing more than a dreamer. But dreamers that take action, become the doers of the deeds that change the world.” – Art Costello
12:14 “Being able to live their passion… is stronger than the fear of not doing it.” -Corey Poirier
18:15 “We have to become emotionally intelligent. We have to be able to identify our emotions and feelings and put them in context to our lives. And that comes with maturity.” – Art Costello
30:11 “When you start teaching others, you have to really look into why…”-Corey Poirier
44:44 “A storyteller- a good one is always going to have an easier time of it when it comes to impacting an audience and working on stage.” -Corey Poirier
50:37 “Once you make the connection and we learn from each other, it grows on you.” – Art Costello
Corey Poirier was born in a small little town in Canada. He was raised by a single mother and a grandfather who became his surrogate father. Now, Corey is a multiple-time TEDx and sought-after Keynote Speaker. He has spoken on Monday’s and PMx stages, has shared the bill with everyone from John C. Maxwell to Deepak Chopra to Stephen MR Covey to General Hillier, and has presented to hundreds of thousands of attendees since he began his speaking journey.
He is also the host of the top-rated ‘Conversations with PASSION’ Radio Show, For The Love Of Speaking Show, and the founder of The Speaking Program. He has been featured in multiple television specials, and he has been featured in/on CBS, CTV, NBC, ABC, and is one of the few leaders featured twice on the popular Entrepreneur on Fire show.
Art Costello: Shower Epiphanies Podcast, today, Corey Poirier from Canada is with us. He is a TEDx speaker, a moment day speaker, a PMX speaker, also the host of the Top Rated Conversations with Passion Radio Show, founder of The Speaking Program, and has been featured in multiple television specials, a columnist with entrepreneur and Forbes Magazine. He has been featured on CBS, CTV, NBC, ABC, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, and as one of the few leaders featured twice on the popular entrepreneur on Fire Show. He has interviewed over 5,000 of the world’s top leaders. And I hope we can talk about that, Corey. Thank you for being on the show today. And can you introduce yourself and tell us your story?
Corey Poirier: Absolutely. Thanks so much art. It’s an absolute pleasure. And yeah, so I guess an introduction about myself and my story, well, I guess I was born and raised in a small town, and when I was growing up, and actually, I’ll even go further and say, when I was growing up and as I got older, I didn’t realize how significant that was. And I guess that’s a positive that I didn’t think when you’re born in a small town that it’s harder to make it elsewhere or make a name for yourself. But as I got older and actually even more, so in the last five years, people have said how significant that is. How much harder it is if you’re in a small town to spread your wings, if you will. But like I said, I never used to mention it because I didn’t think it was that big of a thing. But yeah, I was born in a small little town. And when I say small, I mean, it’s all relative, but it was a city, they call it a city, but I think we had less than 3000 people. So I don’t know how much that qualifies as a city. But having said that, where I actually was born was the outskirts of that place. And so the population would have been in the hundreds for instance. And there’s smaller obviously towns than that, I mean, I know of a town that has like 50 some people, but it’s still fairly small, and it’s actually a small part of Canada as well. So the smallest province in Canada.
So I grew up there and I was raised by a single mother and my grandfather, very active in my life became my surrogate father, if you will. I mean, help me get my license, helped me learn how to drive a standard car, and just really took on that role in my life as a father figure. And those two people really mold it most of my life. My mother, I watched her go through, when she was raising me financially, it wasn’t that easy. My father still lived near but wasn’t in my life really. So my mother paid all the bills. She had to work over time to buy me, I remember one time she had to work double the hours to buy me a winter jacket, it wasn’t poverty, but it certainly wasn’t many steps above I don’t think. And I remember one time she had to use collectible coins to buy supper, that type of thing. But why say and bring that up is because I saw the dignity she had still with that, and the compassion she had for others while she did that. In fact, some kid stole my jacket and replaced it with his, they were the same jacket except for his was older, and beat up, and torn up. Might even have my name inside, so it wasn’t like a mistake. And when I told my mother and said: “We need to go back and get it.” She said: “No, I know his family and his situation. He needs it more than us. I will find a way to get a new one.” My mother sorta set the tone that way.
And my grandfather was a carpenter with a Grade 3 education and ended up building a fiberglass space shuttle replica to scale. And when a lot of other people that were teaching carpentry courses turned it down. He also got offered a class to teach a carpentry course, even though we only had a grade three education because he was so well liked and he was so skilled. So I bring that up and go to that much detail because those two people, I can still see that this day they’re my really biggest influences that I witnessed growing up. And yeah, so I mean, you can ask any questions, we can dive in deeper to that. But that’s kind of the start of my life. Small town, meat and potatoes type town, everybody, most people, you know the word, your word is as strong as your — you left your doors unlocked. Some of them still do, so that type of situation
Art Costello: I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York. The difference and how you had an example, a great example of a mom who you knew loved you and cared about you, and was setting expectations for you, and not only doing it verbally, but she was also doing it in example. And for me it was the opposite. I had a mom that was there but was not there for me or my sister, so it’s very much different. And then having a grandfather around you, I had no male influence. My dad, my dad was around, he came home once a week because he worked away. So for me it was different, do you think that the expectations that you set as a child have, how much influence has that had on your life, and now what you’ve done, because you’ve done some incredible things with your speaking, not only teaching others to speak, but sharing your message with the world through your speaking engagements.
Corey Poirier: That’s an interesting question, because as a kid, I think more than anything, and it’s funny because sometimes we say that we’re dreamer and we think non doer, and there’s certainly people that dream big but never take action. And of course, as a kid I wasn’t necessarily taking action, but the one thing I had was, I was a dreamer. So I was creative and I was a dreamer. So I had big expectations for myself from as long as I can remember. I was that guy that always visualized what my life was going to look like. Now, I didn’t visualize I was going to be a speaker, I didn’t know that was an option. I didn’t visualize how it was gonna play out. In fact, if you were to ask me what I most visualize myself being, it would have been a rock star. And I know that most kids do that, but I was actually, so this is a great example, I visualize myself being a musician and a rock star. And that was before I played the guitar, and I picked up an instrument when I was younger, and the first guitar I got instead of this sexy electric flying V guitar or something, I got this old beat up acoustic guitar that was hand me down. And whenever I got that, I still visualized that I was going to be this rockstar. But the interesting part is I was this person that was, even though financially we didn’t have it well before that, like until I was nine, when my father’s in my life, I was kind of spoiled. I was an only child. My grandmother spoiled me, and my grandparents, really on both sides.
My father, I remember bringing home a motor go-kart for me to ride, which none of my friends had. So I was still kind of spoiled at that point in my life. So when I picked up the guitar, everybody’s like, there’s no way he’ll stick with this. He has to play guitar till your fingers bleed, there’s no way he’s going to keep playing. And I didn’t even know if I would, but that’s what everybody said. And I just kept, so here’s my point of this, I had this vision of me playing music for a living and I just wouldn’t give up on the idea that I could actually be a musician. So I jumped in, I had a cousin who was really good at guitar and he started teaching me stuff. My uncle taught me three chords, it’s like good luck, but I kept at it. And to make a long story super duper short is it went from me visualizing I want to be a rock star to even THOUGH I never pursued it in the end as much as I meant to or thought I would. Here’s the interesting part, I still pursued it more than most. I actually played guitar, and this is why I bring this up because I was writing music when I was 12. I wrote a song that ended up my first CD when I was 12, and so I kept writing and kept recording, and so ultimately today, and I haven’t done anything with music in a bit, but I have four CD’s. I have a music video, my album was nominated for rock recording of the year and I actually did Simer tours. So this is the whole thing with that Art that started this vision of I want to be a rock star, started when I was seven or eight, and I actually pursued it quite a bit considering it was a part time thing, and not many people do that. So having said all that, I think one thing I did have going for me as a kid, because you asked about expectations is I had this vision that I was going to do something at that point because it’s all I knew I was a huge music fan, I thought I was going to be with music, and really I stayed in the entertainment business for some reason. As they say, speakers are edutainers. I didn’t know speaking was an option, maybe I would have been visualizing that. But that was as far as I went with the expectations. But I didn’t kind of go, here’s what I’m going to do, here’s the map, or here’s the plan.
Art Costello: Yeah. I don’t think anyone ever does. I think that when we’re young and we have these dreams, and I knew from an early age that I was going to be something, even though people were telling me I wasn’t going to be anything, I knew in my heart and soul, that was my expectation, my core expectation. And once you start believing in your core expectations, it really sets the key to your life, how you move through life. And that’s just my idea on it. And I think that the KEY that you mentioned that is really important to me is you’re a doer. Because dreamers that dream are nothing more than a dreamer, but dreamers that take action become the doers of the deeds that change the world. And that is what makes the difference in each and every one of us, because there’s a million millions of people out there that have dreams every day, but they don’t take action on them. Can you identify what made you take action? There was usually something that triggers us to take action. It can be as significant as a major event in our lives. I know that you mentioned something that I had a similar thing that it actually triggered mine is when, I had a lot before I was nine years old, my parents lived in a very nice house and all that. And then at nine, they moved to a farm that I was totally isolated and I lost baseball in my life, and baseball was everything to me. And when I lost that, I became very depressed. But that depression led me to become introspective and examine myself. And I used to go to the top of this hill and have this conversation with God about what was going to become of me. And I heard this voice that just said: “you just got to do and do right.” And it became the mantra for my life. What was it for you?“Dreamers that dream are nothing more than a dreamer. But dreamers that take action, become the doers of the deeds that change the world.” - Art Costello Click To Tweet
Corey Poirier: So if I looked at maybe the two things that helped me, I think the fact that it was music help because it was, I’ll add the third actually, I was passionate about music, and I was passionate about different things, but that’s the strongest area in my life where I could see what passion really was, because there’s a lot of people go their whole life and never tastes a passion as well, music gave me that. So I think first of all, having a passion for it gave me the extra drive. Not, I don’t mean like life, or financially, or fame, or anything else that the rockstars had, but I want to have that feeling that they have been able to live their passion, if you will. So I think that was one thing. It was a desire to do was stronger than the fear of not doing it.“Being able to live their passion… is stronger than the fear of not doing it.” -Corey Poirier Click To Tweet
Art Costello: There you go. There you go. That’s a big one.
Corey Poirier: It’s a huge one. And I asked [inaudible] one time that was terrified of public speaking and now she speaks for a living, how did you do it? And she said, because the desire to share the message that I had was stronger than my fear of actually doing it. So she said it allowed me, it had not allowed her, she said she forced her basically to actually conquer it, so that’s one. But if I look at two others, my mother was a doer, and I was watching her despite all the things I just said she had going against her or they’re doing. And then the third one, I feel, which was a big part of it, was my friends, my network of friends who are also musicians, and one of them in particular, his name was Mike, Mike Dixon, and funny for a living, he’s a musician. And I think it was because all of our friends, we were all that passionate about music that we were even before we were playing instruments, we were doing lip-syncing in the variety shows. So I think having that group of friends that was just as passionate, and Mike and I both being people that were active with it, like writing music, and I think that stuff made me a doer because I saw I had an influencing group, almost like, I won’t say they are mentors, they were kind of like, we’re all equal, but we were mentoring each other. So that was a long tangent to say those are all three. I think the passion for music was the biggest one though.
Art Costello: Yeah. You don’t know this about me, but I was in the music business after I came back from Vietnam, I went to college, and then during college, my roommate was a musician, built harpsichords, keyboard, guitar. I mean, he built all his own instruments, actually whittled the ivory for the keys on his harpsichords and pianos that he built, and just a great guy. And he walked into the house one day, and said: “Hey, I can’t find any work, anything for our band.” And I just said to him: “I’ll find your work.” So I became their manager, and pretty soon they were working all the way from LA, Whisky a Go Go, the Troubadour, all the high end spots in LA, all the big clubs, all the way to San Diego where we live. And I ended up having like five or six bands that I manage during that time. And then I went to work for José Feliciano who wrote Feliz Navidad, and Light My Fireand, all those songs back in the late 60’s. I stayed with it, and that’s why when I was telling you about traveling, it gets living on the road, people don’t realize it. And we talked about that briefly before we started, but for me it’s always been, I’ve seen an opportunity, and when I see opportunities, I jump on them. Or if I see people in need, and I know that they need something, and that I have the capability to fulfill it, I jump on it. It’s just my nature. I don’t know what ever did it, why I’m that way. Other than that, I just know that I like to make things happen, it’s just part of me. I like to make things happen for people. When you were in the music business, and you were playing, you said it was your passion, how did you identify that that was your passion?
Corey Poirier: So, okay, here’s where it gets really tricky, and it’s not the common answer about this, I didn’t actually identify it was, and so I didn’t even know this idea, or concept of a passion, or what’s your purpose, or any of that stuff. And in fact, I can tell you when I finally was able to figure out what that looked like, and then reverse engineer, and see that music had been a passion all this time and maybe the one thing that fueled me and kept me positive in many ways, because I went through a bout of negativity to the point where I’d hypochondria for a few years and anxiety. So I hadn’t discovered my core passion yet, and that’s when it all changed. It literally likes almost overnight. It was like I took some powerful, I call it vitamin P, but some powerful vitamin, and it got rid of it like that. But the music was probably what helped me all those years without me realizing it. So I can’t honestly say I identified it, it has a passion, and in fact, I didn’t even till after I discovered what my true passion was. I didn’t realize music had been a passion all that time, which sounds naive, how could you not know? But I knew I was excited by music. I knew I was obsessed with music. I knew I loved it, but I didn’t know it was a passion.
Art Costello: Yeah. I think that that’s pretty common though, because we don’t recognize our passions at the time. It’s only when we reflect back, and we see, and think about it, and put some effort into really the identification process that we started identifying what our passions are in which leads me to the point of that, sometimes it takes maturity. We have to become mature in our, actually I’m gonna rephrase that. We have to become emotionally intelligent. We have to be able to identify our emotions and feelings and put them in context to our lives. And that comes with maturity.“We have to become emotionally intelligent. We have to be able to identify our emotions and feelings and put them in context to our lives. And that comes with maturity.” - Art Costello Click To Tweet
Corey Poirier: Yeah. Interestingly enough, I think the reason for me, so when I was able to identify all this that all came to life for me was when I was in my mid 20’s. So that was still relatively early, but I’ll tell you, there was a catalyst. There was a catalyst behind why identify, because I don’t even know if I would have identified it even then, but it was because I had this anxiety inside, I had this hypochondria and all this stuff, and it all disappeared within 24 hours, like it was like a miracle. Now I say that. I mean, I think probably that first part, it wasn’t that it had disappeared, it was just that I was over the moon. It’s almost like you’re in lust in a relationship early on, and like people that have anxieties and stuff and getting the first relationship when the first excitement’s happening, don’t they forget they have anxieties. So I think there was probably some of that at first, but then it was legit gone because it never came back. But to take you to that situation, essentially what happened was, basically it was in my mid 20’s as I mentioned, this was in 2002-ish, and I had put a stage play in a festival that I’d written, and I wouldn’t write myself apart because I was so terrified of speaking and being in front of an audience. And here I was a musician for those years, and by the way, I should add that as a musician, I had recorded music, I had been on stage a handful of times, but I still really hadn’t conquered that fear. But I was on stage, but I wouldn’t talk to the audience really. It was just like, here’s another song I wrote, that type of thing.
So I still hadn’t conquered any fear of the stage. In fact, it was only that I had a guitar in my hands that gave me the comfort, and I was terrified doing it. But what happened was, I was terrified of also being on a stage in this player role. And then one of the actors injured himself, he was the lead actor and we couldn’t replace him. But because he injured his, I think he sprained his ankles, and so we couldn’t get backstage quick enough to do all the costume changes so we had to buy him time. So we had to make the bit players have more time on stage and I needed an extra person. So I wrote a part but it was too late to find somebody that knew the lines and could work off the line, so I actually had to write myself apart. So I put on a wig and a Hulk Hogan t-shirt or triple H t-shirt, one of the wrestling t-shirts, and I walked out with my back to the audience, and I did the whole play with my back to the audience because that’s how terrified I was. And the actor that was speaking to me had to watch me covered in sweat because I was so terrified, but the audience didn’t see that. And then I would wobble back off just like these two little small bits. So what happened was at the end of the play I said to one of my actors: “How can I conquer this fear?” And he said: “Well, I don’t know if this is the answer, but I heard about this stand-up comedy workshop at the university. If you want to give it a go, I’m going to go take it.” So I said: “That sounds terrifying, I’m in.”
So I went and took this two week workshop where all we got taught was how to adjust the mic, stand basically, and the third week we were told we’re going to watch comics entertainers. So we went to a local comedy club, we did the marketing to fill the club, and then we found it about five minutes to show time that we were in fact the comics. So I basically had been to one Toastmasters meeting in my life and learned if you’re going to face the fear like this, go up first. So they were all debating who’s going to go up first. I went into the bathroom to try to re-compose myself, and I came back and the 15 that were there originally, eight were gone, walked through the front door, seven were left, I jumped up on stage, told my first joke and a dead silence, told the second joke and a dead silence. And for anybody wondering, I’ve said this many times, but 30 seconds of silence on a stand up stage is about 172 years in real time. And it’s worse than being heckled because at least with a heckler you can do something with that. So I got hit with that worst thing you could ever get hit with my first two jokes only to find out it was because I didn’t have the mic turned on. And then we got the mic turned on, I told the same two jokes and they bombed. So I’ve now said I’m probably one of the only comics who’s bombed with the same material twice and it’s within 10 minutes. But having said all that where I’m getting with this is after all of that, I got off that stage, the next day I realized I had survived, and I was at work and people were like: “Did you fall in love or something because you just have a jump in your step.” And that was the first indicator that, wait a minute, there’s something here. Five minutes of stage time and I was jumping around at work with a smile on my face. So then I needed to explore this. And then over a course of a short amount of time, the anxiety and hypochondria was 100% gone.
And what was interesting about this Art, I didn’t realize at that point, and not until probably close to a year, and maybe even not fully within a year, but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t my true passion. So my true passion, which is what I’ve done ever since, is speaking on stages. And I feel the music and the comedy were kind of priming me up to discover what the real one was. But what’s interesting is they all helped each other. So I mentioned earlier on the stage as a musician, I couldn’t talk to the audience, and I’m going to have to say it was overnight. But after a couple of years, I went from that guy that would say: “This is my song called Waiting, I hope you enjoy it.” So the guy that was going into the details of waiting and talking to the audience and saying: “How many people have heard the song?” And like actually interacting with the audience, and it changed everything. As a musician, I became probably stronger interacting with the audience than I was as a musician in the first place.
Art Costello: What you did is you learned. I mean, you went through a series of behavioral events that taught you to get over your fear and move through it, and the end results, the rewards are what keep you going. And I know that you’ve spoken to it. I mean, I wouldn’t even venture to guess how many speaking engagements you’ve done, but I know in our intro that you’ve worked with some of the top leaders in the world. How did your speaking progress out from the music into this dynamic life changing stuff that you do now? Speaking engagements that you do.
Corey Poirier: Okay, so interestingly enough, there’s two sides of it. So the interviews had actually started me doing interviews with business leaders and started way before any of this, which is kind of ironic, because you would actually think that the music and all that stuff would have triggered the rest, and the comedy would have triggered the rest. But the interview side of it that you mentioned about interviewing leaders and working with leaders, that actually started early on, it’s just I wasn’t interviewing, let’s say world known leaders, I was interviewing small business owners that started even before all of this stuff. I had started a little newspaper when I was really young like 19, so that was another example of the doing, if you will, because I willed my way through it. I mean, we thought we were going to sell this newspaper on the shelves, and then we found out people aren’t going to buy this on the shelves, so we had to sell advertising, which we never sold a thing in our life before. And I walked into doors covered in sweat, it was the hardest thing at the time I’d ever done but that was a little moment in the backstory and background that sort of helped fuel this as well, and that’s how the interview started. And then they disappeared for a while and then came back. But I did become obsessed with interviewing people, so that was one thing that happened. And still to this day, I mean, interviewing, I mean, it’s over 5,000 now, I’m obsessed with it, that’s one thing. But in terms of how the music evolved, and we talk about the comedy, and then I was doing both at the same time, and then what happened? How the comedy involved in the speaking was after about a year of this, I saw Tony Robbins live and something triggered in me, which I don’t know why I’d never asked this question before with Tony Robbins that I had heard. I went into sales for years and I discovered Zig Ziglar.
So I heard of some of these motivational speakers, but for whatever reason, especially with Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar, I thought that these guys did was they went on stages and spoke to sell their product, I never thought for a million years they were getting paid to speak, I didn’t think that was a thing. And then what happened was, somebody either said to me: “Imagine how much he’s getting paid for this?” Or I said: “Is this dude getting paid for this?” And then I Googled this and I’m like: “Whoa, wait a minute. You can get paid to do this?” You know what? I’m doing stand-up comedy paying like five bucks in gas to go to a club that sometimes they pay me five bucks from the door? So I was like, Whoa, this is new, this is different. And so I said: “I want to check this out more.” So what happened was, I spent almost a year, and I was in sales at this point. That was my actual career, trying to sell a local community college and why they should let me teach their first sales course as it was not kind of appropriate. I had to sell them on a sales course, but I ended up selling them on a sales course. And then what happened was I started teaching there as a business studies instructor, that was my first foray into any kind of speaking, training, anything. It was a good starting point because you’re only speaking to a group of 8, or 10, or 15 people in a classroom. But what happened is some of the people would call and say: “Look, we have 40 people we’d love to send, but we can’t shut down the whole company. Is there any way we can bring him in here?” And then the college would say: “Well, we don’t care. We’ll ask him.” And then the college would ask me and I’m like: “Okay, that sounds good.” And what was really good about that is that they want to send 40 or 50 people, and it was said $400 a person if they attended the course. So it made it that I could charge more than I should have ever been able to charge for my first talks because I could charge $1,000 and they were still saving tons of money.
Now those were the only talks I could do that I was still at the same time realizing that I had to do most of my talks for free, but the point of this, Art, is that’s how you asked how the transition happened. That’s how the transition started, I actually slowly eat my way in, but here’s the key thing why I said it was a slower process, I thought it was going to be a building and they will come. I thought, because I had been in sales for awhile, because I had all these clients in my sales career, I thought I was just going to announce I’m a speaker and people are going to show up at the door knock saying, how do we give you money? And I found out what was more true is something I heard on a CD one time early on when I was listening to, and I did, I dived into learning, I went to an association for professional speakers and got the CD, I listened to it. All my drives as a salesperson, I would listen to the CD about becoming a speaker. And I remembered hearing this person say it at once and thought he’s full of it. And then I came to find out he was right. He said: “When you first start, you’ll almost pay somebody 50 bucks, those new speakers on the corner of the road. And later, much later, people will be paying you to speak.” And I thought the much later would come earlier for me. I somehow thought I was special. The world of professional speaking lightened me and woke me up real quick.
Art Costello: Do you have any tips for the audience out there? Somebody that might want to become a speaker. Do you have any tips that you can give?
Corey Poirier: Yeah, so I think I’ll give you a tip that covers probably 25 tips. It was a game changer moment for me, there are certain areas I can see that were game changers. Maybe because, I mean, helping other speakers, I’ve reverse engineered this more than others. Other speakers might just, if your love is speaking and you don’t have a desire to teach other people speak, because that’s a whole other business all on its own, you may not have reverse engineered to this degree, but I have. Because when you start teaching others, you have to really look into, why did this work? Why didn’t this work? So one thing that was a game changer for me was this thing that we call an Evaluation Form. And I’ll tell you, a lot of people do this, a lot of times they let the meeting planner do it, or the company organizer do it. Like the organizer will say, well, we’re going to handle the evaluation forms or whatever and we’ll let you know what people thought of you, that type of thing. And to me, there’s the odd case where you can’t control this, but most cases you can. I think that is one of the biggest, let’s call it, this service that you can do to yourself is leave that in someone else’s hands. So the Evaluation Form changed everything for me and I’m going to explain how. But another thing I have to add is, today, there’s a tendency I want to say what the evaluation form, people say, can I just email it to you later? Or the CAB Organizational say, we’re just going to use an app. And my experiences in the organization, usually it’s their first time doing it and they discover quickly that you get 5% of the people that’ll actually fill it out later. If they say, can [inaudible] email to you, you’ll get less than 5%. Here’s the best way to do it, you have an evaluation form that is crafted to get certain answers out of the attendees and then you handed out. Usually I’ll hand it out if possible beforehand and say, I’ll explain the evaluation form later or whatever that looks like, and have it on the front desk, and they hand it out. Or you can have the app, you can go to the people in the room, and get them to hand it over for you. But the bottom line is you want them to have a pen or pencil and that evaluation form in front of them right after your talk stuff.“When you start teaching others, you have to really look into why…”-Corey Poirier Click To Tweet
So why this is significant, it’s what’s said on that evaluation form. So I’ve crafted mine over the years, but here’s the nuts and bolts of it. And the first question is, what did you hear today that you could use tomorrow? How will you use what you heard today that you start tomorrow? What do you wish Corey would’ve covered that he did? Now those questions are important because the person filling it out knows, okay, this is about me, it’s not just about the speaker. But at the same time, I always tell them: “Look, if I don’t know it, I don’t grow.” So your feedback will help the next group and help me get better for the next group, so that people feel good, they’re like, I’m helping somebody else too. So there’s a whole bunch of psychology I put into this one little evaluation form, but here’s where it gets really deep. The next question, I’m going by memory, but the next question is, do you know of others who could benefit from a similar talk to the one that presented today? And if so, can we contact you to follow up with them? That one question became responsible for about 30% of my early bookings. So I was having a tough time getting bookings and here’s the rub, I don’t believe you should speak for free, but there’s lots of good reasons to speak for no fee, which some people would say the same thing, but I think there’s a psychology behind this word free, so I’ll speak for no fee. I don’t anymore, but I spoke a lot for no fee early on for the purpose of getting my evaluation form out so that I could learn, I could grow because I wanted to learn and grow from their comments, but also that would get me those leads because they would fill out that form. So you’ve got to make sure you get in front of the right audiences. So I would go to a business group, like a chamber where they had multiple businesses in the room, get them to fill out my form, and let’s say out of a hundred people, five filled out at that part that said we could bring you in to speak at our event company, and then maybe three turn into actually paid bookings. So that’s how I started getting those bookings early on with that one question. And then I’ll finish this off and say: “Here’s why this evaluation form can be even more powerful is I also have a question, can we add you to our newsletter list?” So all of a sudden if a group of 100 people, usually 70 would say yes. So now all of a sudden I was adding 70 people to my newsletter I could mark in the future, every talk. Then a big one too is, can we use your comments in conjunction with our marketing? So all of a sudden now in a room of a 100 people, if 70 said, yeah, we loved your talk, I know I had 70 testimonials from separate business owners. So on my first talk, potentially I could have 70 testimonials versus a guy who has to go one at a time if he’s just trying to get them from the company owner or the CEO. So I, and in fact if I wanted, I could go into one company and their employees could all give testimonials and I don’t have to, if I don’t put the company name, I could just put testimonials for each individual person and still have multiple testimonials for my first talk. And then the additional comments, I would get a bunch of extra little insight there. So you said about tips that one evaluation form could be a game changer for somebody who’s brand new.
Art Costello: Corey, all I want to say about this is thank you for giving my audience one of the greatest tips that we’ve ever had on this show for actually applying it to your craft, to where it can. Because what you just did was very selfless and really a great giving gift to my audience. Because if you’re thinking about a speaker, I mean, I was sitting here thinking, Oh, my goodness, this is like gold nuggets. I mean, to build your business, to build your speaking business. I want to shift gears a little bit, but I wanted to get this question because I think it’s going to be interesting. What’s the difference between a speaker and a storyteller?
Corey Poirier: So, great question, but I also wanted to take a second and say thank you so much for that kind, humbling comment you just shared because that made my day, so thank you. I just wanted to add that in, I didn’t want to not acknowledge that. Storyteller/speaker, okay. So I’ll tell you what I feel the difference is, but I’ll start with a caveat that I don’t think there should be a difference. So in other words, I think a lot of people would learn from the power of being a storyteller/speaker. I think they should be both the same. So even people that will say they’re not speakers, but you go to storytelling festivals? I would argue that those people are some of the best speakers you’re ever going to see. In fact comics are great storytellers. And I would argue that comics are some of the best speakers you’ll ever see. In fact, I would argue the comics study speaking more than most professional speakers you’ll ever see. Because comics, and I think speakers could learn from this too. All of the early, in fact, some will record every performance they ever do, but they’ll record the performances in a 10 minute set and then go home and study that for 5, or 10, 15 hours. What went wrong here? What was wrong there? And a lot of times these guys aren’t getting paid a penny to do this, but they’re studying why did the story work? Why did the craft work? How I develop that story? How did I craft this setup and punchline? So my first answer is, I don’t think they should be separated. But your question is very telling because they are separate. Here’s the thing, here’s the rub, I would say, and this is a bold statement, and I don’t mean this disparagingly because I am a lover of speaking and lover of speakers, but I would say it’s a small number of speakers who can hold an audience in the palm of their hands, and I wish it were more. And I feel one of the gateways to be able to do that is storytelling.
So what I’m getting at here, it depends on what you categorize as a speaker, but if we look at every person that’s out presenting today somewhere in the world as a speaker, even if it’s the first talk ever, that’s what I’m getting at when I’m saying it’s a small percentage of the ones that are doing it in a world class level. So why I think that is or feel it is, is because they haven’t learned the craft of storytelling. They haven’t learned, and this is another big part of what we talked about earlier, how to make sure they’re passionate about what they’re speaking on. And if they’re not, they better find a different way to speak on it, or a different way to be passionate about it because otherwise it’s going to be one of those presentations we watched where we’re watching our watch, or worse than that, we’re asleep so we don’t get a chance to look at our watch. So my answer to this is that, I think that they’re separate in a lot of cases and shouldn’t be. So a storyteller is somebody who has an ability, a good storyteller, of course. That’s the important part there to hold us in the palm of their hands and take us where they want to take us within their story, and within the emotion of the story, and within the engagement within the story. Whereas a speaker who doesn’t do that and doesn’t have that trait or ability, there’s a lot of times they might have great content, but we’re sitting there going, when’s this over? And so again, I’m trying to stay away from knocking one or the other, but I think they should be linked together. So to me, I feel that a great speaker should be a masterful storyteller. And I feel that everything starts the story.
So the rub and challenge here is some people will say, well, I’m not a good storyteller, what I’m here to say is it’s a muscle. I wasn’t a good storyteller either, and I’m a type of a personality that could, I used to have the tendency where I would start one story, and I still fall back into this sometimes, and then I’ll jump onto another one before I finished the first one. But then I’ll catch myself usually now and say: “Okay, before I jump ahead there, let me go back a step.” And luckily I can still remember where I was going to go because it gets disjointed if you started a thing and not got back to that. So my point is you can learn to become a good storyteller. And I would say anybody who wants to get into speaking that isn’t in it yet, or even people that are in speaking now that don’t use story, I feel you need to work that muscle. I mentioned music early on, and I played till my fingers bled, and I was terrible at guitar, and I was a year before I could play one song. So it’s not like I was natural at playing guitar, playing music, and I was tone deaf. I couldn’t tune my guitar by ear, I couldn’t play a song by ear. So I believe you can learn any skill. So I think storytelling is another one of those. But I think you owe it to your audience to learn how to become a storyteller. So I know this is a long tangent, and isn’t that Art directly saying, here’s the Corey difference, because I don’t believe there should be a difference, but I believe right now we have a difference. So that difference to me is a speaker that isn’t telling a story is maybe somebody who’s delivering a lecture. And to me, a speaker who’s telling a story is somebody who is actually sharing a moving message, so that would be my difference. And I mean, I can dive in for a second if you want in terms of some of the ways you can engage an audience, but to me, the separation is, I would say it’s the difference between the lecture, which was nothing wrong with it. More educational, maybe not a whole lot of stories that might be just, here’s the message and lessons I want to share with you versus somebody who takes you along for the ride emotionally.
Art Costello: Yeah. I always thought when having done some limited speaking, and I’d noticed that sometimes I see speakers talking numbers, and facts, and it almost becomes like a college lecture where they’re teaching you something, where storytellers just have this story that just unfolds in the messages buried in it and you have to dig sometimes to find it. But I was going to tell you about, when I do speak, one of the biggest reactions I have after I speak are people crying.
Corey Poirier: Well, that’s a good sign.
Art Costello: Well, I know it’s a good sign, but for awhile, it really scared me because I thought, Oh, my God, people would come up and say things to me how they were going to change their life, and it wasn’t always in the best of ways. And I’ll give you an example, I would have women come up, and men come up and say: “I’m going home and leaving my spouse tonight because of your story.” And I go: “Oh, my God, what did I just do? I didn’t mean to break up a marriage. I wanted to show you that there is always something better out there in life.” But then my wife said to me: “Maybe that’s exactly what they needed to do. Maybe they were in a destructive relationship. Maybe they were being held back. And maybe you just release them to become who they’re meant to be.” And that started to make sense to me, those tears were tears of not only, maybe joy and happiness, but I’ve also just identifying with what I’ve been through in my life and how I’ve overcome it. But storytelling touches the heart I think.
Corey Poirier: Yeah, 100%, and I will say I’d love to, it’d be easy. I’ve been doing this long enough Art, there’s never an absolute I’ve discovered that’s why I shy away. Maybe years ago I would’ve said, here’s the absolute difference. But now I’ve learned since then. And I’ll give you an example, if you go by the definition that I sort of implied, then I’ll give you an example of two people. Lisa Nichols, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Nichols.
Art Costello: I’m familiar.
Corey Poirier: Okay. So Lisa Nichols for those watching, listening that maybe don’t know Lisa, she was a speaker, she’s a Mindvalley teacher, she wrote Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, both volumes I believe. And Lisa is a very dynamic speaker and she’s a storyteller too. So she shares stories about how her and her son were struggling financially to the point where she couldn’t afford diapers. And then she tells you this story in that case about how she put money away every week once she was finally working little bits of money, and how she didn’t check the account balance and then she found out how much it actually was, and it blew her mind. It was 67,000 she had put away over a certain amount of time. And she tells this amazing story built around that. And I love the end of her story where she said, when she walked through the door and her son said, actually, she said to her son: “Giovanni, I think our life’s about to change.” And he said: “Does this mean I can finally try McDonald’s?”
Art Costello: Oh, wow.
Corey Poirier: But it tells you how much of a struggle they had financially. But I mean, she tells this whole story and authority that people in the audience are crying because they can relate. And maybe people, a single mother changes the way they do things because of it. But that’s an example to me of a storytelling speaker, let’s put it that way. But now here’s an example of somebody who’s not necessarily a storytelling speaker who still moves people to action. So this is why I stayed away from saying storytelling moves you to action. A speaker does maybe get you to teach you something, but a speaker that’s not a storyteller can still move you to action. I’ll give you a classic example of somebody who I think was constantly voted one of the best speakers of all time, who wasn’t necessarily a storyteller, and it’s Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs didn’t lay a whole lot of story into his talks. His talks are very, I mean, they definitely were planned and prepared, but he had obviously a very natural way of doing it, and he made you feel like this is what his passion is. He believed what he was saying so much so it didn’t even feel like you prepared it, but he didn’t lay her stories in. So he would say, we got this new, he did all the fundamental things though that great speakers do. He would work in threes, which is a thing that speakers learn. There’s more power in working with threes, and people learn in threes. He would engage the audience, how many of you have ever had this experience? He did all those things, but he wasn’t necessarily a storyteller. And yet he still was one of the best presenters/speakers of all time. So that’s why I stayed away from just saying, because I do believe a storyteller more often and moving into action, but I don’t believe in X absolute. And that’s good news for somebody who doesn’t want to become a storyteller or doesn’t feel they’re a good storyteller. But I will say a storyteller, a good one is always going to have an easier time of it when it comes to impacting an audience and working a stage.“A storyteller- a good one is always going to have an easier time of it when it comes to impacting an audience and working on stage.” -Corey Poirier Click To Tweet
Art Costello: Yeah. I don’t believe in absolutes anyway. I mean, I think when you believe in absolutes, you limit yourself. You put a bind on your thinking. My mantra is, I believe in the possibility of everything, everything is possible.
Corey Poirier: 100%. I love that.
Art Costello: Yeah. I mean, if you don’t, you start limiting how you think. And my mind is so open to everything unlike, when it comes to learning, I’m like a vacuum. I mean, I just want to take it in. And that’s just how I’ve lived my life. And I think that that’s why I’ve been able to do some of the things I have because I don’t put any limits on myself. And I think that that’s important. We’re hitting almost an hour and it’s gone so darn fast, and I wanted to give you time to tell us about any, I don’t even want to say this word, I was going to ask you to give us some golden nuggets, but you’ve given us so many, why don’t you tell us about what you’ve got coming up where people can get ahold of you, and we’ll leave that with the audience so they can reach out to you.
Corey Poirier: Yeah. So, well, thank you so much for that Art. And basically, I mean, I’ll say the most present thing because the truth is I’m a multi-passionate so I always have a few things on the go, and I can see all their linked, but sometimes the other people are like, well, how does that relate to this? So I try to stay away from giving people too much, because I think in the world we’re in today, we’re all overwhelmed, I’ll keep it pretty congruent to one specific thing. So how I work with most people, how I ultimately end up working with people is through my speaking program. So I have a speaking program where I help people basically navigate the waters, and even in some cases find that they want to become a speaker. But navigate the waters and essentially teach them what it took me almost 20 years now in the speaking trenches, getting paid to do this weekly almost 20 years to learn. I tried to teach them my 20 years in a short amount of time, or at least the high level stuff. So within that speaking program, that’s where I end up working a lot of people. So at least I tell people, I guess how you can connect me further if you want to learn more about that, but I’ll add in a value to this as well.
So you said about value bombs, or a knowledge nugget, or bring in some extra value is that, I’ll give some gifts away actually. And it’s also a way to learn from me but also learn more about me and connect with me. A, we have a book called The Book of Public Speaking. So for your listeners, if they want to go to thebookofpublicspeaking.com, a pretty easy website to remember, thebookofpublicspeaking.com, they can grab a free copy there. And then the second thing I’ve started to do recently, which is a really big move for me because I’m one of those people that I don’t do much one-on-one coaching. So it’s rare for me to do this, but I’m actually starting now to do 15 minute strategy calls with people where I can help them decide if I’m a fit for them, if they’re a fit for me, and/or if this is something that’s of interest to them. But if somebody wants to schedule that, we do it on specific days, so they can reach out to me. The easiest shortest path is email, so email@example.com, again, that firstname.lastname@example.org, and once you send that email, once I reply to you, all my contact stuff is there as well. The one last thing and I don’t want to give people too many different directions, but my main website is email@example.com. And on there, it has my TEDx talks, it has the social media links. Basically, any way you want to connect with me that’s the channel, but those other two ways are more free gifts. Because the 15 minute strategy session, you can probably tell by my personality, I’ll make sure people leave with some extra value even if they decide that it’s not a fit to do anything in the speaking round with this point. But like I said, I think that’s the best way to do it even though I have a lot of other things on the go, and if they get into my network they’ll see those things. But I don’t want to bring people in in a multiple different directions. So since we talked about speaking, that’s the core one, and I will add, we launched recently I think called bLU Talks, which is a branded series similar to, let’s say Goalcast, or TEDx, or Ted. So we launched bLU Talks, which stands for Business, Life, Universe. And we’re finally, actually, basically offering our own platform for speakers to take stages as well. And we’ve already done three of them even though we just launched less than a month ago, and the next one is going to take place at Harvard. So lots of big things are coming up.
Art Costello: Wow, that’s amazing. Corey, I can’t thank you enough for being on the show, and just your finishing out I thought of three other things that I wanted to ask that we didn’t get to so we’re going to have to do this again sometime. But everybody out there in the audience, as usual, everything Corey has mentioned in the show will be in the show notes for you to locate. And I’m going to encourage you to reach out, if you’re even thinking about speaking or just want to connect with him to learn about how becoming a better communicator, reach out to Corey because he’s a great guy, and he is full of these nuggets, and he’s got a big heart. So that’s really, really great. And I appreciate you being on the show, Corey.
Corey Poirier: Oh, my God, thank you so much, Art, it’s been an absolute pleasure. And I won’t say the pleasure’s all mine, I think it’s mutual pleasure. I think we both enjoyed this. And you know what? Lisa Nichols said to me in my recent interview with her, she said: “This is a dance that we do together. It’s always important that you have the right person on the other side.” So this is my way of saying to you that none of this would happen if you weren’t asking brilliant questions. And I will add as well, you asked me some questions today I’d never been asked before and never asked myself. And I’ve done 5,000 interviews plus, and I’ve been interviewed thousands of times. So you ask questions I’ve never been asked or asked anybody else, and got things out of me I’ve never shared ever in a public, so thank you for being you.
Art Costello: Well, thank you so much for that. And with that being said, ladies and gentlemen, it’s been another great show, and Corey and I are going to do this again as he said: “once you make the connection and we learn from each other, it kind of grows on you.” And Corey and I are growing on each other, and I hope he grows on you guys. You know where you can get ahold of me, expectationtherapy.com, Heather White, can you take us out of here?“Once you make the connection and we learn from each other, it grows on you.” - Art Costello Click To Tweet
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