Dave Bricker (00:06)
Want to expand your speaking and storytelling skills and grow your influence business? This is Speakipedia Media brought to you by speakipedia .com. I'm your MC Dave Bricker bringing you straight talk and smart strategies from visionary speakers and thought leaders. My guest is a brand guru who will help you make your brand more valuable.

He's helped build great brands for great companies, including Nike, Discovery Channel, HBO, Hasbro, Bacardi, and the City of Miami. His financial services client list is vast, including American Express, Citicorp, Dimensional, and Schwab. My guest has been on NPR, Fox, MSNBC, and CNN over 400 times, and he's been featured in the New York Times Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal.

He's published four books on branding and customer service, and his fifth book, Is That All There Is, offers a roadmap for people who want to change their lives and prosper. Oh, and he's also a member of the 's Speaker Hall of Fame. Please welcome Bruce Turkel.

Bruce Turkel (01:14)
Thank you, Dave.

Dave Bricker (01:15)
So Bruce, what motivated you to do all that work?

Bruce Turkel (01:22)
You know, I'm one of those people who loves to produce content. I have lots of ideas. I like to write them down. I like to draw them out. I like to play them as, you know, musical ideas. It's just, it's just what I do. It's just who I am.

Dave Bricker (01:38)
Alright, so what led you into this world of speaking?

Bruce Turkel (01:42)
Well, it's a long , which I will spare you and I'll spare your listeners. But most importantly, when I ran our branding firm, brand management company, I needed to figure out a way to win business where we weren't constantly competing with bigger companies because we'd get into a lot of pitches.

We would do really good work for the pitches, but we would usually lose because we didn't have the network, we didn't have some of the assets that these national or multinational companies could bring to the table. So I figured out at some point that when I spoke at conferences…

People came up to me afterwards and said, our company needs what you do. And they would hire us. And there was no shootout. There was no competitive event. They saw me speak. They liked what I had to say. And they hired us. So that's how it started. It grew from there.

Dave Bricker (02:38)
Fascinating. So as professional speakers, our goal is to turn ideas into income. And look, some people retire from an industry and then they get asked to speak by that industry. That's easy, right? But most of us have to figure out how to turn a big fat into value for our audiences. So what approaches have you taken to turning your personal and professional experiences into ?

And how does that translate into a speaking business model, keynoting, training, consulting, etc.?

Bruce Turkel (03:11)
There's, I think there's two answers to your question. The first is that when I started speaking, as I told you, I was speaking specifically to bring clients to the agency. So I was monetizing the speaking. However, it was a step away. I would generally speak for free or I would speak for an honorarium. And then the result would be occasionally, often we would get hired and we would make money.

But I was speaking at a conference once. I had spoken for this company for years and years, rather conference for years and years. And the key noter.

of this conference, the fifth year that I was there, was someone I was really, really impressed with, a design idol of mine. So I asked the meeting planner, who I knew really well at this point, if I could have dinner with him and sit at the big gala. And I did, and I was chatting with him. And so I asked him how much they were paying him to do this gig, because I was getting a $500 honorarium. So I figured he was getting like $1 ,000. And he turned to me, and without even batting an eye, he said $20 ,000.

And all of a sudden, I had that giant loser sign on my forehead, you know, the neon L. Because I realized…

I had been doing this for free when he was getting this kind of money. Well, the next day I saw a woman who was also doing breakout sessions as I was, and I said to her, oh my goodness, can you believe they're paying him $20 ,000? And she said, yeah, well, they're paying me $12 ,000. What are they paying you? At that point, I had two loser signs on my forehead. So that's when I realized that it wasn't simply about generating the potential of future business.

but there were actually fees to be paid. I didn't know that. She recommended I join the . I did that and that's where I started to learn. So that's answer number one. Realizing that this is actually a business. It's not simply, oh, look at me, I get to be up on stage. Or it's not simply an opportunity to open a door to something else. The actual speaking.

becomes the business. The second part you asked is a much deeper question, which is how to figure out how my personal stories, how my personal experiences, or for your viewers, their personal stories and their personal experiences become monetizable.

And that takes time. That takes the ability to be up on stages telling your stories and finding out where they resonate. Finding out where people come up to you afterwards and say, oh my goodness, I had almost exactly the same thing happen to me. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. What I learned over time is that the facts of each of our lives are different, but the truths are universal.

So I might tell a of running a brand management firm. I might tell a story of running a marathon. I might tell a story of growing up in Miami. You might tell a story of running a publishing company. You might tell a story of sailing across around the country. Our stories, our facts of the stories, the details are different. But the truths that come out of them are universal. And so if you can work backwards,

If you can look at what are the lessons, what are the truths, where will they touch a lot of hearts? And if you can make that the key of your story, then the actual facts you use, that it was vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream, or that you climbed Mount Everest or you climbed Denali, it doesn't really matter. People are going to relate to the truths.

Dave Bricker (06:47)
Yeah, I love that, Bruce. I always say, tell your story about the audience, which sounds… Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and that's one of those kind of cryptic lessons some teacher you and you go, oh, but the teacher gives you like, oh, thanks, I got that one down now, I'm ready to move on. It's this little… All right. Right, because then you forget where you got it anyway. That's how this stuff works.

Bruce Turkel (06:51)
Oh, that's a great way to put it, right. Tell your story about their life.

I'm stealing that one, Dave.

I'm stealing it. I'll give you credit three times and then it's mine.

I won't forget, but…

Dave Bricker (07:17)
All right, and then the last part of that question was, I know you do a lot of keynoting. Are there other that come out of those experiences, consulting, training? What's the big picture of the Bruce Turkel business model as it relates to that?

Bruce Turkel (07:34)
So again, it has to be what works for you and what.

fits the things you're trying to accomplish. Originally, it was to get business for the agency. Then it was to earn fees from speaking. But the other part of that equation is it has to be things that you want to do that you're good at doing and that you enjoy. It's not simply because you can earn a fee. So for me, keynoting is the best. I love keynoting. I love being up on stage. I love controlling the situation. When I ran the business, I had a lot of employees, a lot of clients, multiple offices, and it was a lot of busy work.

to keep all lids on all those pots, to keep all those plates spinning. I can completely continue to mix my metaphors, but you get the point. There was a lot of mouths to feed. There's another metaphor. When you're up on stage, it's just you.

Stuff can go wrong that you have nothing to do with. Something happens in the audience, the alarm system, the equipment, but it doesn't matter. It's just you. I like that. I enjoy that very much because I'm a problem solver at heart. And so it's all about how do you solve problems? When I wrote one of my books, I interviewed a guy who was a pro tennis player and he explained that the key to playing tennis, obviously you have to be good at tennis. You have to be in good shape, all of that. But he said, you have to be a problem solver. He said, because the game.

of tennis is who can create more problems for their opponent while they solve the problems their opponent is giving them. It took me a while to think about that and understand it but it makes perfect sense to me and speaking is the same way not the competitive nature of it but the idea of being on stage and doing a good job is solving problems. Oh she's not paying attention how am I gonna make that happen? Oh that story is not breaking through. Oh the lighting isn't good on this side of the stage.

Whatever. So I love keynoting. However, keynoting leads to lots of other things, as you said. So doing workshops at the same event for me is wonderful because a becomes a 50 ,000 foot conceptual view of what we're talking about. And then the workshop is the feet on the ground. Here's what you do. Keynotes here's why you do it.

The workshop is here's what you do and how you do it. So I love that. And you can obviously earn extra income because you're filling more slots in your client's agenda. From the keynoting, from the workshops, you can generate consulting. I love doing consulting. You can generate training. As you said, I don't like doing training. I don't really have the temperament for training. I know that. There's a big difference between a consultant and a coach. I am definitely one and not the other, but I get it. And I think.

out what's good for me, what I'm good at, and what I enjoy doing. And there's other things as well. You can sell books, you can sell merchandise, you can have subscription programs. I've tried all these things. Some work, some don't. Some work a little, some work a lot. It's really trial and error of figuring out two things. Who you are and what you want to sell, what your customers want to buy, and where the intersection is.

Dave Bricker (10:41)
Great, love that, and how you connected all of those different elements. So something I think we've both experienced is you meet somebody and say, oh, you're a speaker? What do you speak about? As if it's all about your topic. And I think we can approach this in a much better way. What transformation do you deliver? What problems do you solve and for whom? How do your audiences realize value from your programs? Because…

Anybody can lecture about subject matter, but a speaker is somebody who motivates people to act.

Bruce Turkel (11:20)
Okay, am I waiting for a question or should I just comment?

Dave Bricker (11:22)
Well, what, you know, as opposed to, yeah, I guess so. What problems do you solve and for whom, rather than, we know you're a branding speaker.

Bruce Turkel (11:32)
Well, I agree with what you said. Remember, if you're a speaker, functionally, you fill 55 minutes on an agenda. How well you do it, how interesting, blah, blah, blah, that's all great. But the function of what you do is to fill 55 minutes mostly. No different than the function of a flat screwdriver is to turn a flathead screw, either tighten or loosen. That's it. So if you on what you do,

You really don't add any competitive benefit to your own marketing, to your own outreach, nor are you adding any particular value to your client's event. Because let's be fair, I can speak for 55 minutes, Dave, or you can speak for 55 minutes. They get a different message, different personalities, different styles, different information.

But both of us would do a good job. Are you better than me? Probably. Does anybody know? No, because we don't do back to back. It doesn't matter. So I think it's critical that speakers stop thinking of themselves based on the amount of information they provide from the stage. That's like buying a car because it gets you from point A to point B.

Here's a news flash. All cars get you from point A to point B. Doesn't matter if you're in a Jeep, a Volvo, a Mercedes, a GMC, or a Subaru. It makes no difference. They'll all get you from point A to point B. The car companies have to differentiate based on other things. And we as speakers have to do the same thing. So if someone says to me, what do you speak on? I always say, what would you like me to speak on? And first you get the Scooby Doo head, right? They go, erp, like, huh?

Dave Bricker (13:11)

Bruce Turkel (13:12)
But then they say, oh, you know, I'd really like to know about blah, blah, blah. I'm really interested in this problem. I really need to solve that problem. And often,

can take what they said and said, well, let me explain to you how messaging strategy can change that. And then I'm talking about that. I tell people when I do presentations, I did one yesterday to a group of nonprofits. And the first thing I said was, listen, my job is to help you make your business and your lives better. But I'm not presumptuous enough to believe that I can help you do your job any better. You guys are the best of the best. I'm not in the nonprofit industry. I don't know how to do what you do.

It'd be silly of me to get up here and talk to you about how to make your business better. But I do know how to change your audience's perception of what you do. So let's talk about that. At which point I get the Scooby Doo head. They all go, huh?

But then they listen. So before the event, if someone said, what do you speak on? And I'd say, well, what do you want me to speak on? Oh, we need to raise more money. Or, oh, we need to get better articles written in the newspaper. Oh, I need my employees to stay for longer periods of time. Fundraising, PR, HR, three very different things, right? But for all of those, I could have said, well, let me explain to you about how changing your audience's perception, audiences are your recipients, your donors, journalists, politicians.

your employees, changing their perception can make your business better. At which point they go, oh yeah, I'd like to hear that. And I think by changing the way you talk about what you do from here's what I do to here's what I do for you, everything changes.

Dave Bricker (14:55)
Love that FR, PR and HR I think is a great trio and also it comes back to that theme about telling your story about the audience instead of just telling your story at the audience.

Bruce Turkel (15:10)
Well, Dave, as you know, I did write a book titled All About Them. So if we are, in fact, one trick ponies it's no surprise that that's what I do, right?

Dave Bricker (15:17)

Yeah, it's a good book too. I enjoyed your book. So let's address some of our viewers and listeners who are new to the speaking game. And a big topic of course is nerves. Can you talk about being nervous when speaking in front of an audience? How you've dealt with that? Imposter syndrome? All of that stuff that speakers pretend that they can't admit.

Bruce Turkel (15:25)
Thank you.

Sure, let's start with nerves. You're not gonna like my answer. You get nervous when you get up on stage? Who cares? So what? You're nervous. What's the worst thing that's gonna happen? I mean, I ask people this all the time when they say, I could never do it, I'm too nervous. What's the worst thing that could happen? They go, what do you mean? What's the worst thing that could happen? You're nervous. What's the worst thing? Are you gonna die? Like, are you gonna die from fright? They go, well, no. Okay.

Are you going to pass out and crumple to the stage? No. So what's going to happen? Well, I'm going to be really uncomfortable and I might be a little sweaty and I might even repeat my words or use “uh” or “go” or “like” and I said, mm hmm. Is that like getting hit by a truck? Is that like being diagnosed with tuberculosis? That's the worst that can happen. Let it happen. Don't worry about it.

Don't get up and tell people in the audience, by the way, oh my goodness, I'm so nervous, because then they just worry about you. They feel bad for you. Just get up and do your job. Remember that old deodorant commercial, never let them see you sweat? It didn't say never sweat. It said never let them see you sweat. You're nervous. OK. You're always nervous before you get an injection. Right? And then they do it. And it hurts. And then it's over. So I don't think I…

All of the breathing techniques, all those things, do whatever you want. But at the end of the day, just understand that being nervous keeps you on your toes. It makes sure that you prepare because if you prepare, you're less nervous. It does the sorts of things you need to do to do a good job. Being nervous is an asset, not a liability. As far as imposter syndrome, I spoke to my dad.

Dave Bricker (17:29)
Absolutely, love that.

Bruce Turkel (17:38)
I guess I had been in business at this point three, four, five years, not very long. And I was talking to him about imposter syndrome and how do I get rid of imposter syndrome? I'm sitting with clients, I'm talking about things that I don't really believe that I have, right? All the things that imposter syndrome does. And my father said, you know the only people who don't have imposter syndrome?

I said, and people who've learned to deal with it, people who have been really successful, people who know what they're talking about, he said, no. The only people who don't have imposter syndrome are imposters. He said, because they don't know what they don't know, so they have no reason to feel bad about it. He said, the reason you feel like you're an imposter is you know what needs to be done, and therefore you don't necessarily think you measure up. So again, imposter syndrome is not a liability. It's an asset.

Because it means that you know so much that you know what you don't know. That means you're a professional.

Dave Bricker (18:38)
Yep, and imperfection is okay. In fact, imperfection is much more interesting than perfection. I think people try too hard and put too much pressure on themselves, and that's where a lot of the nervousness comes from. So if you are joining us late, you're tuned into Speakipedia Media for aspiring and professional speakers and thought leaders who want to make more money by changing hearts, minds, and fortunes. My guest today is Hall of Fame speaker, Bruce Turkel.

So Bruce, a little side note here. I know that you are a pretty good harmonica player, even though you tend to disclaim that. And I've heard you play, and I know that you integrate that into your speaking some of the time. And I'm wondering what was that transition from being a musician who goes and plays music with friends and really loves your music, but you've got your…

Harmonica playing over here and you're speaking over here. How did those two things come together and how can our listeners if they happen to play music or throw knives or juggle babies or whatever it is that they do, how can they start bringing their outside interests into their speaking?

Bruce Turkel (19:54)
I was so concerned you were going from juggle and throw knives and then babies to throwing knives and juggling babies. I'm so glad it didn't go there. I think actually the answer to your question…

Dave Bricker (19:57)

Bruce Turkel (20:07)
It's a very complicated answer, which I'm gonna reduce, but I think it answers every single issue we've been talking about on this entire interview. I had this passion, this talent for music, and I play harmonica with bands and on street corners and wherever. I then speak for a living, and I'm busy doing that, and never the twain shall meet, as the old saying used to go. And people would say to me all the time,

Do you ever play harmonica when you speak? And I would say, no, no, no, no, it's silly, no. When I'm speaking, I'm giving real hard business information.

And people kept asking me, oh yeah, but it's so much fun, oh, but it's so good, it's this and that. And I would always disclaim it and poo poo it. But one day I tried it. I was talking about, actually what we talked about earlier, as I said, about how all speakers do the same thing, all cars do the same thing. Truth is, in any industry, all things do the same thing. All businesses do the same thing as their competitors. And so I needed an example, I needed a metaphor. And so it dawned on me that all music is played with the same notes, same seven notes. Do re mi fa sol.

everything else is either an octave, a sharp, a flat, a variation on a theme. And so…

I also realized that people who are not musicians don't really get that. I say that to you, you nod your head, of course, you have a degree in music, but most people don't actually understand that and there's no reason why they should. However, I could demonstrate it. So I played a piece by Bach, Minuet and G, da da da da da da da da, and then I played a piece by Sonny Boy Williamson, a very, very influential blues artist of the 40s. Music sounds completely different, but they both use the same notes. Guess what?

Because that's all there is. And it's just how these guys took these notes and put them in different order and different sequence and different tempo and all of that. And it made my point. And afterwards, after I did that speech, people came up to me and all they wanted to talk about was the harmonica. That was it. The rest of the stuff, the stuff that I had worked on, that I'd written books on, that I'd studied, they didn't really care. But the harmonica part…

Dave Bricker (22:17)

Bruce Turkel (22:18)
Right, but the harmonica part, oh my God, how did you do that? I didn't know you could play classical music on a harmonica. Anyways, that's how it started. I then read a study that was done with Fortune 500 executives. These are people who have private air travel at their disposal. And they don't even ask for it. They tell their assistant to arrange it. And the question was, if you were not a CEO or COO of a Fortune 500 company,

What would you do? And the number one response, you want to take a guess?

Dave Bricker (22:52)
I'm… I got nothing.

Bruce Turkel (22:54)
The number one response was rock star. They all said, I want to be a rock star. By the way, I spoke yesterday, as I told you, with this nonprofit thing, there were about 45 people in the room. When I said that, about 40 people nodded their head yes. Three or four didn't respond. And one woman says, I don't want to be a rock star. It's like, OK. I didn't say they all said it. I said a majority said it. There's always that person in the room talking about fixing problems. However.

Dave Bricker (23:17)
Yeah, I didn't say you had to be one!

Bruce Turkel (23:24)
want to be a rock star. So then I started to think, if I'm doing all about them, how do I make them rock stars? And it dawned on me, I can teach them to play the harmonica. I can't teach them to play Bach or even Sonny Boy Williamson, but I can teach them to play a dumb little ditty that we all know. And so I went out and I bought a lot of harmonicas at some hobbyist gift shop and I gave them out. Well, over time,

that has developed to where now I order 10 ,000 at a time from China. They live in my garage. They fit in these little groovy cool boxes with my logo on my website and they get taped under the chairs. And then I talk about how things are hidden in plain sight. You have these talents you don't even know you have that you've never bothered to try like getting up on stage and speaking. In fact, reach under your chair and tell me what you've been sitting on for the last hour. And we've taped these and they pull them out and I teach them to play the little ditty.

And then I hit the music, either we have a band behind the screen or we do it on the sound system. And they can play along with the Beatles. And they leave three feet off the ground. And I have been told that when they get home and their spouses, their partners, whomever they live with, say to them, what'd you learn at the conference, honey? They don't say, oh, I went to a seminar on tax strategies and I learned how to multiply my…

my variance of tax strategies against a multinational. They go, look what I can do. And then they play the harmonica. And people tell me when I see them, oh, I saw you speak three years ago. Your harmonica's still on my desk. So that's how it all happened. I've even been hired for gigs where I don't speak, per se. I just do the harmonica thing, which is fine with me. So we both know Keith Harmeyer. Keith Harmeyer is a very good speaker. He had on.

Dave Bricker (24:52)

Mm -hmm.

Bruce Turkel (25:15)
ran an ad agency as I did, but he was trained in musical theater. He has an incredible voice. And so I would say to him, why don't you sing when you're on stage? And he said exactly what I said. Oh, I don't want to. It's not that good. It's not serious. Remember, the facts are different, but the truths are the same. Tell your story about their lives. So I told him my story, and he started doing it. And it got to the point where now,

He takes Broadway hits from Cats, from The Wiz, from whatever movie, Hamilton, and he rewrites the lyrics for his clients. And that has become his thing. The reason is we each have something. You don't play the harmonica, someone else doesn't sing Broadway musicals, but we each have something. And the key to a successful talk is if you can tell your story about their life. So if I can give them what I do,

which is playing harmonica, and I can give them a little bit of that so they can experience it, then it says to them, what can they do with their talents? How can they be more of themselves? How can they live their lives? And by doing that, I'm really able to do the things you said earlier, which is not just give them information, but motivate them in a sincere way, not in the way like, hey, you can do it, no pain, no gain, you know.

Dave Bricker (26:43)

Bruce Turkel (26:44)
Failure is temporary, but success lasts forever. You know, none of that nonsense. I can actually show them. Find who you are, what you do, what matters to you, and figure out how to share it.

Dave Bricker (26:58)
Wonderful. And so we're talking about musical performance. I think that's a great segue into presentation skills. And I know that you are a real student of that because so many speakers, again, they're subject matter experts, and then they use their FM radio DJ voice, and they get up and they're bold, and they never change pitch, and they never change tempo, and they never change volume. And after a while, the audience is hearing, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. But we are…

Bruce Turkel (27:23)
Right, picture.

Dave Bricker (27:26)
Right, right, the old Charlie Brown thing. But presentation skills, I think there's this whole theatrical performance side to speaking. I wonder what are some of your tips and some advice that you can drop on our audience?

Bruce Turkel (27:44)
Well, here's the number one bit of advice. Everyone can talk. That doesn't mean you can speak. They are not the same things. They use the same muscles. They probably use a lot of the same neuro pathways in the brain, but they're very different speaking and talking. So just because you can talk and just because you know about something doesn't mean you can hop up on a stage and present it. Hey, why don't you just send me the white paper? If you're just going to give me information, I'd rather read the white paper.

If you're just going to entertain me, I can watch the video or I could listen to the MP3 file or whatever. There needs to be more than that. And speaking skills, the craft of speaking, not the material of speaking, not the intelligence of speaking per se, but the craft is something you have to learn. It means it's like people go to school, people go to music school, people learn to sing.

Anybody can sing Happy Birthday, it's a rather hard song to sing by the way, but most people can sing it. But that doesn't mean you're a singer, because there's all kinds of tools, tips and techniques you need to learn. And it's the same with speaking. So some of the things to do, there are not a lot of places out there teaching speaking skills, but there are some very, very good classes. I have a friend who teaches one, I've gone to all his classes. I never wanted to be an actor, I just wanted better stage skills. And so,

I learned that from watching how he interacts with actors. Also practice. There is nothing like doing it. My number one piece of advice when people say to me, I want to be a speaker, is if you want to speak more, speak more. Get up on stages. As I told you, I did a talk to nonprofits yesterday. That was pro bono. I didn't charge. I either get a fee or it's free. I'm speaking this afternoon at Florida International University to the executives.

of different nonprofits. Another thing, I'm not being paid for that. Obviously I'm doing good, but more importantly, I'm getting stage time. It's, I think you call Toastmasters your speaker gym. That's how I feel about this. On Friday, I'm speaking in another, in someone's class after a meeting because doing it, learning about , learning about where you position your body, where your go, what to do, how to segue, all those things.

need to become second nature. They say that if you study dance, ballet specifically, classic dance, there are rules you have to learn. I know nothing about dance, by the way, so I'm not gonna use the right terms. But you have to learn them, you have to memorize them, you have to practice them so many times that muscle memory means you will always do them a certain way. And people think, well, that makes you less creative. But it's not true. Tools and techniques set you free.

Because if you're a dancer and you know in your body that your hand always goes in this direction, you can then on other things. It's the same with speaking. If you have spoken enough times that you know how much time you need after a joke for the audience to laugh, you know how to get people to move from one emotion to another. If you can do that without thinking about it, you can on doing a really good job.

Dave Bricker (31:10)
That's excellent. And I wasn't going to go here, but you talked about speaking for free. And I hear so many speakers like, oh, you can't speak for free. What about fee integrity? What are you doing to the industry? And look, you don't want to speak at a conference for free when they're charging people $1 ,500 a ticket to get in, at least most of the time. But also, what's in it for you? Are there decision makers in the audience? Or are you just helping out a small group of people who…

You get in some practice time, engagement time, there's a lot of reasons. So I like this idea that you can speak for free or you can speak for your fee, but there are reasons to do both. I think people get stuck in that fee integrity.

Bruce Turkel (31:56)
I can give you a lot of examples. I mean, very, very successful. Probably the most successful speaker I know, my speaking guru, Ross Bernstein says, fee integrity, if you have a fee, I have integrity. You've never walked into a Target store and saw something on sale and said, where's your pricing integrity? You bought it. They might have had too much of it. They might not be selling it. You might have a Tuesday in February that you're not doing anything and you're offered a discount gig.

Why wouldn't you do it? That makes no sense. As far as fee or free, there's lots of ways to be compensated besides money. As you said, influential people in the audience, letters of referral, working for a nonprofit instead of giving them a cash donation, helping them be better at what they do. Practice time, especially if you're a beginner. You need to be up on stages in front of people you don't know. You need for stuff to go wrong so you learn how to do it. I have…

People say to me, hey, I'm a really good speaker. Could you help me with my speaking business? And I say, of course. I say, my first question, tell me the last time you bombed. And they say, what? And I say, tell me the last time you were on stage and you bombed. And they say, no, no, no, you don't understand. I'm a really good speaker. I've never bombed. Well, you know what? That means you haven't spoken enough because we've all bombed. We've forgotten our lines. The fire alarm went off. I got up on stage once.

where the CEO got up before me and said, listen, I understand that because of our new merger, there's a rumor going around that we're going to be cutting personnel. I don't want you guys to worry. We're not going to do massive layoffs. Yeah, to be honest, probably 10 % of people will lose their jobs, but that's all. Ladies and gentlemen, Bruce Turkel. All right, I don't care how good you are. I don't care if you come out.

on handstand on a unicycle naked juggling goldfish balls with your feet. Nobody is going to be. Just now, just boom, nobody is going to be.

Dave Bricker (33:54)
Did you just come up with that?

Good for you for not riffing on babies, but yeah.

Bruce Turkel (34:05)
Thank you. Nobody is going to be paying attention. So, this idea of fear free, if you're gonna get experience, that's worth it. If you're speaking in a school, in a church, in a temple, in a mosque – wherever. Listen, I have lots of friends who are professional musicians. One in particular. He plays out three or four nights a week for money. And on Thursday nights, he goes to an open mic and plays for free with a bunch of amateurs. Some of whom are very good, some of whom are terrible.

Doesn't matter, it's a democratic exercise. He's not worried about fee or free, right? He plays at bars for a few hundred bucks on tips, and then he'll do a private party for thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars. Because what he does is play music. What I do is speak, and so I look for opportunities. I charge a big fee, I deliver a lot of value, but there's always another reason to be up on stage.

Dave Bricker (35:02)
Wonderful. I've got to go back, Bruce, to that whole idea of bombing, because years ago you told me that story, and eventually I went to this, it was a small group I presented to, it was 40 miles away at 8 o ‘clock in the morning or whatever, and for whatever reason, it just, yeah, it just didn't go over very well, and I could tell, and then it's like, hey!

Bruce Turkel (35:22)
I've done that gig!

Dave Bricker (35:31)
I bombed! It's a rite of passage! Thank you, Bruce! I'm a professional now !” And so, I mean, I wasn't happy. I bombed and I did a lot of thinking about why and I learned some lessons. I had to guess at it, but that's okay. That's the process, right? Fall down and pick yourself up. But yeah, I think bombing is that rite of passage. And thanks to that advice that you gave me many years ago, I was actually able to process that in a different way. So…

Bruce Turkel (35:34)
That's right!

I, and that's after that, I was willing to help you before that. I wasn't cause you hadn't, you hadn't yet. Listen, when you do something enough, when you become a professional to use a baseball metaphor, you'll always hit a double or a triple. Sometimes you'll hit a home run. Sometimes you'll hit a base is loaded grand slam home run a triple. Your client and your audience thinks it's as good as it can be, but you know better. So at this point, even hitting a double or a triple.

Dave Bricker (36:01)

Bruce Turkel (36:27)
where it was fine. Everyone enjoyed it. They learned a lot. But you know you didn't deliver. In my mind, that's bombing. Maybe it's not bombing where you crash and burn and you're a little greasy spot on the stage when it's over. But you can always get better. You can always increase the likelihood that not only is everyone going to leave feeling energized and enlightened, but a couple of people are going to come up to you after the gig and say, hey, we have an association. I'd love to get you up in front of them.

And that's really the reason for doing it, is I see it.

Dave Bricker (36:59)
Yeah, that's the home run. Love that. So Bruce, you and I are both members of the . That's the NSA that talks, not the NSA that listens. And one of the principal values in NSAs is this idea that instead of competing for a slice of the business pie, that we work together to make the pie bigger. So you speak on branding and I speak on storytelling, plenty of overlap there. I've never thought of you as my competitor. And…

I know that both of us have been big adherents of that bigger pie ideal. So share your thoughts on that and what that business mindset has to offer our audience.

Bruce Turkel (37:40)
Well, the idea is that again, because everyone can talk, people think they can speak and most people are not aware of what it takes to have a speaking business where you both run the business and deliver the product. And there's a third component of course, which is sell, which is do the marketing and the selling. Those are three very different legs on a stool. And so being in this association, you get to learn about all of those things.

It's one thing to be a great speaker, but if you have no gigs to speak at, what's the point? It's another thing. If you can do the cold calls and you can make the phone ring and make the gigs appear, but if you can't get up on stage and do the job, and then if you can't bill for it, you lose there too. So there's a lot of knowledge. There's a lot of experience and there's really nowhere to learn it. There's no, you can learn speaking skills. You could take a presentation course, but the National Speakers Association, as I see it, is the one place that focuses on people who…

sell information, sell experience to audiences. Whether they do it in speaking, keynoting, or workshops, or coaching, or all the things you mentioned earlier, but it's a place where they can do it. And what I've also found is it is a group of the most generous people in the world. Because you can walk up to almost anybody in that organization and say, hey, I hear you do blah, blah, blah. I'd like to do more of that. Can you show me what you do?

They will pretty much open the kimono and show you exactly what they do and how they do it. We also exchange leads and referrals and testimonials. New pieces of software comes out. We exchange that. I have friends of mine who figure out how to do the coding and the software and things I want to do because that's not my strong suit. And then I help them with recommendations and sales or business tips because that's not their strong suit. You probably know some of those people, Dave. And…

That sort of, not quid pro quo, but paying it forward, being helpful, sharing three things really, skill sets, experiences, and contact lists. That means that you're not in this business alone. I hear a lot of speakers talking about what a lonely business it is. You're traveling by yourself, you're up on stage by yourself, and so they like to go to a place where they see their people. I don't feel that way. I love doing this. I love the travel, I love the speaking.

Dave Bricker (40:00)
Mm -mm.

Bruce Turkel (40:02)
I don't feel like it's a lonely existence at all. I think it's really very gregarious and wonderful. But I understand that a lot of people get that sense of community from the organization as well. I'm not shilling here for the NSA, but I do think it's a great investment if you want to be a professional speaker.

Dave Bricker (40:23)
Absolutely, and I know Bruce, you and I over quite a long time have had, there's no score keeping, there's no quid pro quo, but it's that whole idea of what can we do to make the pie bigger? And what can we do for one another? The referrals, let me introduce you to somebody. Oh, I can do that for you. It's gonna take you hours. I can do it in 20 minutes. Let me help you.

Let me turn you around and face you in the right direction, Dave. It's all of this.

Bruce Turkel (40:54)
Let me make the phone call and tell the person they should hire you and what they should pay you. Let me get into that piece of software and reconfigure it for you, because not only can I do it faster than you can do it, but I can do it faster than it would take me to show you how to do it and then watch you screw it up. Exactly.

Dave Bricker (41:11)
Yeah, so that's just, that's been marvelous and I encourage anyone in the speaking and influence business, don't do this alone. I don't even know if you can do it alone unless you're really extraordinary. Find those people, even people in the same lane as you and work together and cooperate and collaborate and make that pie bigger. It's really fantastic. So Bruce, this has really been.

a great deal of fun. Let's sum up and wind this up. Are there any final tips, takeaways, number one lessons? What comes to you that's top of mind after our discussion that we can leave with our listeners?

Bruce Turkel (41:55)
Yeah, the number one lesson is you should watch, listen to as many good speakers as you can, but you shouldn't copy any of them. Oscar Wilde said 120 years ago, be yourself, everyone else is already taken. You don't want to be known as, well, he's kind of like David Bricker, or yeah, he's almost as good as David Bricker, or he does what David Bricker does, because as soon as I hear that, guess what? I'm hiring David Bricker.

So learn as much as you can and then figure out how you can use what you learned to share who you are. If you do that, people will respond.

Dave Bricker (42:38)
Bruce, thank you so much for being my guest today.

Bruce Turkel (42:41)
My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me, Dave.

Dave Bricker (42:44)
I'm Dave Bricker, inviting you to explore the world's most comprehensive resource for speakers and storytellers at www .speakipedia .com. If you're watching this program on social media video, please love, subscribe, and share your comments. And if you're listening to the , keep your on the wheel and stay safe. I'll see you on the next episode of Speakipedia Media.