Dave (00:06)

This is Speakipedia Media brought to you by Speakipedia .com. Want to expand your speaking and storytelling skills and grow your influence business? I'm your host, Dave , bringing you straight talk and smart strategies from visionary speakers, thought leaders, and storytellers. In 1991, when I was 25 years old, I was tied up in a marina in the Azores, my first stop on a transatlantic sail.

This little red sailboat came into the harbor from South Africa with today's guest aboard, and we became friends. He went on to become the first black sailor to race alone around the world. He's been an inspirational business speaker for many years, and he continues to share his no -barriers, only -solutions perspectives with audiences around the world. Please welcome sailor, environmentalist, and international investor Neal Petersen.

Neal Petersen(01:04)

Hey Dave, it's so good to be catching up. Little did we know back in those days how our world would change.

Dave (01:12)

and keeps on changing. I'm with you. So, Neal, what led you from sailing to speaking? We'll touch on your big journey as we talk, but for now, start at that midpoint. Because when you're a kid staring at endless blue horizon, you don't usually picture yourself on a stage.

Neal Petersen(01:32)

No, I did not picture myself a picture that I'd be on a stage. I'm a dreamer. And as a kid who couldn't walk and run and kick a ball because of physical disability, I ended up finding my freedom in the water. And a doctor between, at the end of my last surgery, when I wasn't eating and I was depressed, a doctor asked me, what am I interested in? And because my dad had been a sailor, had been at sea as a commercial diver, I said, boats.

And he showed up, this doctor showed up with a few sailing magazines. And that sparked this imagination, this dream that maybe I can get under the water. And then one thing leads to another and life is an amazing meander. And I've just followed that path of life and it brought me to so many amazing places from being a sailor to being eventually an inventor, to being a speaker, to being involved in so many different things.

Dave Bricker(02:31)

What was that crossroad where you were either invited to speak or decided to speak? Because look, we were sailors. We were out away from conference halls and city streets and the world of commerce. We were as far away from that as we could get when we met. And somehow both of us ended up in this unexpected place. What was it that brought you to the stage?

Neal Petersen(03:01)

So I think I have to give that credit to my mother. My mother was a political activist and she spent a lot of time fighting against the injustice in South Africa. And she was a school teacher and she pushed her students to dream big. She pushed her students not to accept the status quo. And so part of that exposure to my mother's political views and beliefs, she also said that

You've got to be very good at debating. If you're going to fight injustice, you've got to be able to frame an argument. And so she encouraged me to read. She encouraged me to engage with people. She encouraged me to join the debating society at school and hone those skills. But then when I was nine years of age, we had to flee the country and we ended up going to Great Britain and mom was speaking at political rallies. So I got dragged to various meetings

with different leaders that she was trying to engage with to try and help in the fight against the South African apartheid, the oppression. And I was this kid just sitting off to the side, observing, listening, learning through osmosis. And then I saw my mom on these big stages, talking about the things that were near and dear to her heart, the things that she was passionate about, about the need for equality, the need to lift people up, the need to include all people.

to stand up against injustice. And so that osmosis of a mother setting an example showed me what was possible. And I didn't really realize how this would eventually come into really having such a huge impact in my life. But another major moment was my dream was to race solo around the world. And that required money. That required sponsorship. I was going into boardrooms trying to convince companies to sponsor me. And…

in South Africa, the color of my skin was against me. And people says, no, we won't sponsor you, we won't support you. When I arrived in Ireland, after I saw you in the Azores, and again, I was asking for financial help to prepare for a transatlantic race and then around the world race. So again, I was presenting in a boardroom to executives who I thought could sponsor me. And they said, well, you're not Irish. We can't do this. But hey, we love your . We love what you trying to do; we love your tenacity.

Why don't you come and speak to our employees? We can pay you to come and speak to our employees. And that's how it all started.

Dave Bricker(05:37)

Let's talk about those BIG stories because so many of us have stories and you and I have both gone out into the world to create those big stories. And yet I meet so many people who think their isn't big enough. The problem is we risk wiping away all our accomplishments with that dirty rag of self -doubt. If I say to myself, why would anyone hire me to speak? I only sailed across the Atlantic. I had my friend with me.

My buddy Neal went around the world by himself!” Talk about being paralyzed by envy.

Neal Petersen(06:11)

Well, it's very easy to have self -doubt. And it's also very easy to be around people who are dream killers, who are going to tell you why you can't do something or why you're going to fail. If I got a dollar for every person who told me I couldn't do that, I'd probably be a billionaire today. There were so many critics. But you've got to listen to yourself and say, what is my passion? Why am I doing something? Am I doing to feed my ego?

Am I doing it because this is something that I absolutely love and my life will be incomplete if I don't do this. And so we've got to get up and go and do our living. And so many people miss that opportunity. They are not living and they think, well, if only my world could be different, then I can make a difference. If only something else can be happening, then I can be happy. But we take the cards that we are dealt and how we play those cards. And so you as an important

I started speaking to young people. I spent a lot of my time with school children and sharing the story of a dream, sharing the story of how my experiences as a diver, my former life as a diver, how does that apply to the things that they were learning in the classroom? And why is it important to dream? And so I spent my time with eight, nine, 10 year olds and they are the harshest and the most fierce

critics, if you don't have an engaging story, they're going to zone out. They're going to start talking to each other. They're going to ignore you. And that becomes tough. They are a tough audience. And that's where I honed a lot of my skills was speaking to children because they were important because once I was a kid too, and somebody came to my high school and spoke about their experience in Antarctica as a meteorologist and scientist, and I was

So in awe of that experience of somebody doing something so different to what I had read about or had seen or heard that I was hungry. I just wanted to know more. And that becomes that power of when you have something to offer, something to share with somebody and it comes from your heart. That's the game changer.

Dave Bricker(08:36)

Yeah, I love that. That's fascinating. It's interesting when somebody comes into your life and hits you with this idea that you can have adventures without going to a movie theater or reading a book. And if you're paying attention and that appeals to you, you don't have an excuse anymore. And there are plenty of naysayers.

those people, some of them mean well, you can't do that, you're gonna die if you try to do that. But what they miss out on is you're not gonna really live if you don't do it. And it's fascinating, but for those people, it's interesting the, what they're really afraid of is fear. And they ask, “Gee, weren't you afraid to make that journey?”

Neal Petersen(09:11)


Well, my argument has been, I'm going to be more afraid not knowing if I could. And that wanting to not prove a critic wrong, but to prove that you and I, we are right to dream. And we are not defeated by the battles we lose. We are defeated when we give up. When we basically say, oh, it's impossible, it's hopeless. I'm not going to be able to do that.

And we then start to accept somebody else's narrative versus trying to figure out what is it that our life will be incomplete if we don't keep trying, if we don't keep striving, if we don't keep taking the necessary steps. And I remember after I met you and I had all kinds of challenges with the boat and I had no money and I had no real major support structures. And there were so many times that I was so close to giving up.

But somehow you always just find that something in you that says, let's just go one more, or just one more step. And then something magical happens. For example, sort of, I was in Ireland, my boat ended up getting way more seriously damaged. I had lost my rottor in the North Atlantic and I was planning to go to Plymouth, England and I couldn't get there. And I ended up off the Irish

I basically had asked a fishing boat to give me some food and some water because I was running out because I had suffered damage. I was delayed from making landfall. And also I could use the long range radio to make a phone call. And that phone call was overheard by this by this naval ship who then offered me a tow into Ireland. I didn't plan to stop in Ireland I didn't plan to go to Ireland. I didn't plan to stay in Ireland. But that situation, that incident put me in a place.

And then there were people who had seen this boat being towed in and they were curious and they engaged with me. And one gentleman showed up at the dock and said, what do you need? And I said, I needed to go to a grocery store, a food store, a food stand where I could get some fresh produce because I was craving something fresh to eat having been at sea. And when he dropped me back at my boat, he said, Hey, I've got a journalist friend. Do you mind if I call him? And so that phone call had made a story got told.

national television opened up a few more doors that resulted in another situation, another situation. And so these small little things, these pebbles we cast into a pond creates ripples. And somewhere along the way, one of those ripples actually float the boat. And that is how my first breaks came into sort of the, to gaining support, to be able to take this boat.

on a transatlantic race and meet a woman who became instrumental in my life. Find some support where people didn't see what I lacked, but saw how far I'd come with what I had lacked and said, hey, we will help you. And so you build this community. And when you're part of this community, it's amazing how you can move mountains and one thing will lead to another.

Dave Bricker(12:51)

And coming back to that earlier question, it's fascinating because what we're talking about here is the power of story. And you had this story that was not nearly as big as you thought it was going to be, but people liked that story. People liked the spirit with which you were pursuing your story. They wanted to become a part of your story and the whole thing snowballed. It wasn't that you set out to

Like, I'm gonna go build a gigantic story. It's like, I just want to get into port and get some vegetables. Small story. And the next thing you know, here we are. And yeah, storytelling is…

Neal Petersen(13:31)

And you also in that course of that story, there are sometimes other stories that we could very easily ignore and not pay attention to. I made it to my first round of world race and I had a major disaster. I was capsized in the Indian Ocean and just mastered and forced out of the race. And so that in itself is its own story. But the story I want to come to is.

I ended up back in the United States, having sort of not completed the around the world race. And that goal was, I still have to do this. I still want to do this. I'm going to find a way how to do this. So I assembled a brain team. And one of the persons on the brain team was an accountant. And this accountant said to me at one of our meetings, I want you to put together all your expenses and

your income. And I want you to categorize it in a certain way in a computer program and spend a couple of months doing this. And then we can analyze it. And I love that. But I said, what do I need a computer and accounting program for? I know exactly what I've got in the bank account. And between what I owe and the bills that I've paid and what I have, the difference is I've got $5, just $5 left. I don't need a computer to tell me that. I mean, it's just humor me…

just do this. And so I followed his request and I humored him and about four months later, we ran an analysis of my financial situation. We knew exactly what all the expenses were. But then we looked at the income and there was so many dollars that came in from sponsorship, minuscule. There's so many dollars that came in from donations, a little bit more.

Then there was so many dollars that came in from product . I was selling a book, I was selling t -shirts, various things. We had that category. And then there was another area that we categorized the money that was coming in from paid speaking engagements. And that was up here. And all of a sudden, we looked at the numbers, we looked at that and we found, and we said, you're not in the business of sailing. You're not in the business of seeking sponsorship.

You are in the business of speaking. Look at your revenues. And that's how it went from just something I did, something that I served others. I served schools. I served boardrooms because I was looking at it as part of how do I get out there to sell? And that one accounting component actually showed where I needed to be putting my energy and my efforts. So instead of going to seek sponsorship,

I started seeking speaking engagements because I could bring a return immediately to an audience, not some promise of return to a company should I finish. And that became a slingshot of where suddenly I had these two parallel roles, the importance of sharing as a speaker and the continuation of living my life, living my passion, living my dream as a sailor.

Dave Bricker(16:52)

Love it. So Neal, so many people ask, oh, what is your speaking topic? And this question has always bothered me because…

Lecturers deliver information, speakers deliver transformation. And if somebody's going to pay a keynote fee, which is no small fee, then you have to deliver transformation. You have to deliver value in excess of your fee, just as the grocery store or the plumber or the electrician does, right? If you deliver value in excess of your fee, it doesn't matter what you charge. So what transformation do you deliver to your office?

audiences, what problems do you solve and for whom and how do audiences get value from your programs?

Neal Petersen(17:40)

For me, the most important thing that I'm delivering is a feeling. How do you help somebody feel something? That person sitting in that audience is giving you their time, their precious time that they could spend doing something else. They don't have to be there, but they choose to be there because of how you make them feel when you're standing on that stage.

So there is a strong responsibility. It is not about what you are earning. It is about how you make an impact. What is the difference that somebody is going to walk away with because of the message of your experience? Now there are people who basically deliver academics. They will give you theory of how to do something because they read it in a book and they crafted a story around what they read in a book.

There are other people who will sort of say, well, do it this way because here is what we learned from the marketplace. But then there are people who will say, I cannot tell you how something is done. I cannot tell you how it's going to change your life. What I can tell you is I took certain steps and here were the lessons that I learned. And these lessons propelled me forward to be where I am today. What magic could you possibly find?

[garble] story that you can apply to the filters of your life. And it is not, I'm not asking someone to be a sailor. I'm not asking somebody to be up there on a stage and emulate who I am and what I'm doing. I'm asking this person to be their best self, to look internally at themselves and say, this is who I am. These are my values. This is where I stand right now, but here's where I want to go.

and how do I get there? And this is one example that somebody can share of how they got there. And then when I look at that stage, that stage is just a calling card. It's a card that basically says, here's my experience, here's my knowledge. I'm not sure how it's going to apply to you, but I'm going to give you the nuggets that have worked for me. But come up to me afterwards and let's engage.

And now that is when some tremendous value comes because now they tell you their story, their challenge, their issues and how it relates to how you made them feel.

Dave Bricker(20:18)

Yes, and they don't have to aspire to sail across an ocean or around the world or run a marathon or climb Mount Everest. All they have to do is dream of something. It could be anything.

Neal Petersen(20:34)

So here was an experience that I had that was very transformational. I spoke in San Diego to IBM and there were ten thousand people in the audience. At that point, it was my biggest audience and all the whistles and bells. And I came off the stage and I was taken to a location to sign copies of my autobiography. And people stood in line for 90 minutes.

to get a signed copy and we sold over a thousand copies that day. And at one point, the meeting planner was talking to Darlene, to my wife and manager and saying, hey, we have a situation. People aren't going to the next session because they're standing in line to get a signed copy. And we basically said, well, do what you have to do. If we have to shut down, it's your meeting, it's your call. And she did not shut us down. And she said, oh, and by the way,

We have another meeting coming up in six days time for the sister conference in Europe. Can you be in Europe and do the sister conference? And of course, Darlene said, yes, we can. We'll figure out how to do this. So a few days later, I speak in Europe, another 5 ,000 people, and I continue on my journey, going about my life, doing my engagements. About a year and a bit later, Darlene gets a phone call.

from the personal assistant of this gentleman called Vikram Mehta, who was the CEO of a company called Blade Network . And the personal assistant was asking Darlene to set up a call between Vikram and myself. And this is not a very common where a CEO will be speaking to me before we get to a stage of a contract or a scope of work. But the call was set up.

And when Vikram got on the telephone with me, he said, you're the birthing father of my company. And I want you to come and speak to my employees because I had certain goals that I needed to achieve. And I've achieved them and I need your help. And I was like, what do you mean birthing father? I've never heard of you. I've never heard of your company. How can I be the birthing father? And then he explained that he was in my audience in San Diego with 10 ,000 people and he heard my keynote. And at the back of his mind,

He was thinking if this kid could race a boat solo around the world against those odds, these were the thoughts were I have a dream of how to do business in a certain way and I don't have quite the support. I've got all these challenges, but that kid can do that. Then I have no excuse. I can't quite build this particular company this particular way. So he took eight of his key employees to Barcelona.

because he happened to be standing at the table at the time the meeting planner asked if I could go to Barcelona that weekend. He happened to be getting his book signed when that conversation took place. He took eight key people to Barcelona to hear me speak. And then he said to them, I'm resigning from the company we're working for, which was a supplier to IBM, and I'm going to go and build this company because you've just heard this kid, you just heard this man talk about.

racing a boat around the world when he didn't have all the things. But he had an idea, he had a dream, he had drive, he had passion. That's what I've got. I really don't figure how to build this company and I'm coming back for you guys. And when we build this company, we're then gonna bring him in to help us go to the next level. And here we were, a long period, some years after that IBM event, and he was asking me to come and help him take his team.

to another level. And so that was.

Dave Bricker(24:27)

Yeah, here you've got somebody writing a story with you in it. If in the background, you didn't even know that you get to be a character in that story.

Neal Petersen(24:33)

And what is even more interesting was he offered me a seat on the advisory board because he liked what I had to share, what I had done and how I was inspiring his people. So right after the keynote and my work with his team, he offered me this position to come and join his company. And I was so busy with so many other things and also life. And I didn't feel I was.

I was suitable to do them. I had a self doubt and I declined the offer. Well, about seven years later, he sold that company for over $400 million back to IBM.

Dave Bricker(25:16)

And that segs right into my next question, Neal, because many of our viewers and listeners are new to the speaking game. And even if they're not, well, talk about being nervous when speaking in front of an audience. How have you dealt with , imposter syndrome, and all that?

Neal Petersen(25:36)

So when you speak to school kids, when you speak to children, as I said earlier, they are brutally honest. They're going to tell you if you're good or bad as a speaker. They're going to really force you to hone your skills. So that was one area that I built confidence. Another area, and you and I have spoken about this quite a bit, I spent maybe three years at . And that period of learning to do

, learning to speak for a very specific time, being critiqued by my peers in the room. That also gave me confidence and also helped me really hone my skills as a speaker. But there was something that also touched me. I was doing a live television show in Europe that was about to be broadcast to 25 million people. And I was extremely nervous and I was in the green room.

Dave Bricker(26:17)


Neal Petersen(26:36)

getting prepped, getting mic'd up to go in when the host walked in. And this guy was a giant in Irish television. And he came and sat in front of me. And he could tell I was nervous. Pat Kenny was his name. And the show was called Kenny Live. And he said, when you walk onto that set, ignore the set. Ignore the cameras. Ignore the audience.

and only focus on me. You are having a conversation with me. It's one person to one person. You may be talking to 25 million people, but you're talking to one person. And that became maybe one of the most powerful nuggets, because every time I walk onto a stage, I don't see the size of the audience. I see individuals. I am talking to one person at a time.

I look at somebody in the audience and I make my point. I look at somebody else and I bring them along in the journey of the story. I look at another person as I talk about a challenge and I'm thinking, what are they facing? And I try to be empathetic to that person. I'm talking to one person at a time multiplied by however number of seats. And that is how you make people feel something, feel a part of the journey. You read your room because you're engaging.

One on one.

Dave Bricker(28:04)

Yeah, it's all about personal connection. You're tuned in to 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 speaker and solo round -the -world sailor Neal Peterson.

So Neal, what advice can you offer to aspiring speakers? How can a boat bum or a mountain climber or a totally not corporate oddball become a speaker?

Neal Petersen(28:35)

Go and speak to children is a good starting point. Join a organization because they will help you craft your story. And then ask the question, why should somebody listen to me? And so again, think about what is the value that you're going to bring to that person's time to make sure that what you do, you do it because you can look people up. You do it because…

You are a teacher. You are someone who has something to share, something to create an impact. Do it from your heart. And then just little by little, get out there, go and find a Rotary Club, go and find a business organization and just start doing it. And as you do this, people are going to hear your story. People are going to resonate with what you are sharing. People are going to invite you.

coming to their world and that is how it's going to grow and then somewhere along the line somebody's going to say hey this is so fantastic will you come do it for my business I can pay you X

And it's an incredible way of life, but you cannot let your ego, you have to remember you are there to serve. They're not there to serve your ego. You are there to serve. What is their challenge? What is their issue? What is their pain point that you are helping to alleviate? You are part of their journey.

Dave Bricker(30:10)

And they're gonna smell that on you because if you're thinking about your paycheck and yourself and how great you are in front of a room full of people, they're gonna disengage. And if you are there for them and you are looking them in the eye and you are speaking their language, they're gonna pick up on it and pay attention. It's amazing how audiences can tell.

Neal Petersen(30:35)

Yes. And when you build that connection, you have to know who your audience is. You've got to understand the demographics. You've got to understand where they're trying to go. Why are they there? And so before the meeting, that pre -conference call, that , that homework is just as important as what you're going to say on that stage. And then when you walk off that stage,

how you engage with people is also incredibly important because of the continuation of this process, the process of impacting lives.

Dave Bricker(31:16)

Yeah, and thank you for bringing that up because that's so important because this idea that you're just gonna show up and speak and leave is, I mean, everybody dreams about getting that 45 minutes under the bright lights, but getting there, the pre -conference call or calls several many times, and then the way you…

comport yourself afterward with the people at the event, how long you stay, when you show up, how you communicate with the meeting planner. Talk about some of those aspects of pulling off a successful presentation.

Neal Petersen(31:56)

Well, again, the moment we have a contract, I know that I've got a starting line that I have to cross. And so again, that , when I'm racing a boat, I'm preparing my boat, I'm preparing myself to get to that start line. And so I am serving a meeting planner. And what is their agenda? She has to answer to her committee, her boss.

and her constituents. I'm a part of that journey. And so she's hiring me because of a trust. She trusts that I can deliver on that stage. So it's not about all your fancy and all the glitz and the glamour. It's about that value and the trust that you're going to bring that value. And so when I arrive on site, the first phone call I make or the first text I send is to a meeting planner to say,

I'm in the house. They have so many things that they have to worry about. The last thing I want the meeting planner to be worrying about is where's my keynote? And then there's rehearsal. My keynotes are technical. I've got videos, I've got imagery that's happening. I go in and out of the audience. Some of the big shows, I've got a fog machine. So rehearsal is really critical. And so I shop for rehearsal early.

I want people to see my room, I want to see my stage before anybody else is really there to, so that I have a sense of what is my audience going to look at? And then rehearsal takes place. Now I'm on the stage side. I'm not in the house, but I know what this looks like from the house side, because I was there a little bit early to feel the house, to emulate what is that audience going to feel when they look at that house?

at that stage. Now I'm up on that stage and now we tweak how the lighting has to be. Is the sound appropriate? Are all the things that I need on that stage to do my job? And so now I'm bringing aboard my team. That team are the production company, my sound engineer, my lighting person, my extra producer.

The folks who are running the computers for the graphics in graphics world, or if we're splitting out the video because we're doing iMag video world, our camera folks who are bringing the event onto the big screens for the audience, my job is to get them all up to speed. Darlene, yes, and Darlene is in the control booth with them because she's not just my wife and my manager and a

Dave Bricker(34:41)

and make them feel loved.

Neal Petersen(34:50)

and a part of the story. She's there to support the technical team so that they can have one more piece of know what to expect. Meeting planners and production companies want no surprises. My job is to eliminate all those surprises for them in rehearsal. And so now everybody knows what's going to happen. They know when I'm going to be coming into the audience.

They know when I'm going to stand on a chair to make a certain point on the chair. They know when I'm going to be moving from one part of the stage to another part of the stage to make a key point. Or when I'm going to come into the audience to engage somebody directly. And now it's showtime. But when we finish rehearsal,

I may not have the time after the event to go and say thank you to these folks. So I like to thank them at the end of rehearsal because I'm only going to be as good as they're going to be. They can make or break me on that stage. And so therefore, as a speaker, I've got to appreciate my team. And yes, things are going to go wrong. We were speaking at a big event and rehearsal went smoothly. Everything was going.

along beautifully and then suddenly I started hearing the air conditioner shutting down and I knew something was not right. And then the house lights all started dimming and the computer monitors all started coming up sort of going to blank. But somehow my mic stayed open. So I kept speaking because I knew people working on solving whatever the problems were going to were happening around me.

I focused on my job to give them the chance for them to do their job. And then within a few moments, I started hearing everything coming back up and just happened to be at a time in the story where something big was happening in my world and I was able to turn humorous and oh, and that was a dark moment. And the audience thought we engineered all of these things to happen. And so when you hire a professional, you're getting folks who will not be fazed by what can go wrong, but are pre

pared to cope with what can go wrong without missing a beat and making that meeting planner look a million dollars because that meeting planner is sweating at that moment. He's running around trying to solve that problem. That production team are doing everything in their power to solve that problem. So I've got to keep that audience focused on what the solution is, not what the challenge that's happening around them is.

Dave Bricker(37:44)

Love it. So much of this behind the scenes stuff that people don't hear about, but this is really what goes into that production. You see somebody get up on stage, walk around with a microphone and show their slides and you think, okay, what's the big deal? It's like watching a movie versus making a movie. It really, it takes a village and a lot of dedication. So let's talk about present…

Neal Petersen(38:08)

Just hang on, on that particular point, I want to come back to something. I was asked by a company called InfoTech a few years ago to come and do three keynotes for their three major meetings. And in the process of us, the meeting planner, the director owned the meetings. In the conversations that he and I were having about that, he came up with another idea. And I got this phone call a few days after our initial…

call about what I could do on that stage is, hey, I want to run something past you. Would you be interested? Would you come in and spend two weeks a month for a year and train my internal speakers to be on that stage and speak on that stage? And so suddenly I went from just three keynotes in one deal to a one -year contract in addition to the keynote to help get

their people up to speed. And it was death by PowerPoint. It was death by frozen on stage. And my job was to help them reduce that PowerPoint dependency and to connect with the audience and to be able to deal with when things go wrong. And we actually had the opening keynote speaker. He was in the beginning of his delivery of his technical entity when his entire PowerPoint went down.

and he froze. And there was maybe 60 seconds of dead space because he had not thought about how does it keep the audience engaged. And so immediately after that, we resume of how do you deal for that situation? How do you deal with that situation? So there are so many things that when you are an experienced speaker, you learn, but just standing up there and trying to speak and not being prepared for these surprises.

can be very tough. And so learn from someone who's been there and done that before. And that will help you be really good at what you do on that stage.

Dave Bricker(40:17)

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's so important because everybody who has stage fright are so worried about, oh, something's gonna go wrong. It is eventually going to go wrong. The stuff.

that has happened. I can tell you stories all day. I'm sure you've got disaster stories. Maybe you want to share one just to let people know that it happens to everybody or not. But yeah, it's not are you going to face conflict on the stage. It's how do you handle it in front of a group of people? Because if the power goes out, if somebody has a heart attack, if there's a fire drill, whatever it is,

any number of things can happen, but if you can handle that with grace and dignity in front of the audience, that's just as important or more important than whatever you happen to be talking about that that situation interrupts.

Neal Petersen(41:19)

or even having a situation of a hostile audience member. I had the opportunity to speak at the Billion aire summit and I was addressing the aspect of poverty and the impact of climate change as major threats and why we have to have policy change. And there were certain people in the room who did not like that. And started I becoming very, very vocal at that very moment in the presentation. And I had my briefings of

what the meeting planner and what that management team wanted. And I could not allow myself to be derailed because there was a billionaire criticizing me and was sort of a, everybody used to, everybody barbing to what they wanted. I had multiple billionaires in that room at that moment. And I had to maintain my composure and be able to say,

We'll take that conversation up one on one, but here is my job on this stage right now, and you are not letting me do my job. So it's how you manage your audience without being rude, without being disrespectful to the other members, but retaining control of the subject matter and knowing what your mission is.

Dave Bricker(42:43)

Yep, and by the way, just pointing out, you looked that person in the eye and you said, I care, I will listen, I will engage, this is just not the time and place. And it puts them in a position where they can't argue in front of the rest of the people in the room that no, this is my show. You gave them that attention and you did it courteously and that's a great…

bit of narrative strategy that more people could master. So…

Neal Petersen(43:12)

And also, you have to learn to read your audience.

and different cultures have different ways of how they respond to you. The American audience, if you say something that is really resonating, they're going to applaud, they're going to stand on their feet. And you can read an audience one way. But when you speak to other nationalities, they respond differently. And you also have to know your industry. If you've got a bunch of

of techie engineers at eight o ‘clock in the morning after a party, they are going to respond very differently to a bunch of salespeople who've been out partying all night and are coming in at eight o ‘clock in the morning. And I remember I was speaking in Europe and I had an Austrian German audience and the speaker before me,

was going on about whatever. And I noticed all these people on their smartphones texting. And you start seeing people leave and heading off. And by the time I got to the stage, about 30 % of the room had left. And I had to come in there and pick that room back up. I had to bring that everything back into the room. And I noticed my audience was on their smartphone.

who were texting. But I also knew that this particular audience, they communicate with each other by text. And when this speaker was not a really good speaker, they were texting their friends, to say meet me in the bar. And they were leaving because they didn't want to listen to the speaker.

When I got onto that stage and they were back texting, they were saying, hey, this guy is great, come on back in, don't miss this. How you read your audience is to know those nuances.

Dave Bricker(45:25)

Amazing. So Neal, if one of our readers or viewers wants to discover more about you and your big story, where can they find you?

Neal Petersen(45:34)

Well, there's a lot of things on social media. I've got a YouTube channel. We have a Facebook page, but we also have our website, the nealpetersen .com, which has a lot of my subject matter of who I am as a keynote speaker, but it has my contact details. Reach out. But one of the things that I would suggest to a new speaker, before you engage with Dave and I, there's a book.

And this is a guest that David's going to be having on a show here hopefully quite soon. And it's a book written by Andrea Gold. And she is a speaker bureau who wrote this book called The Business of Speaking. Go and read that book. It's going to answer so many questions. Do the heavy lifting and then come and engage with us because we'll fill in the gaps and help you.

who understand and listen to Andrea when they've had Andrea on this going to be a huge amount of nuggets that Andrea is going to be bringing to the show. And they also they've had some amazing tools on Speakipedia. Don't figure out what those tools are because those tools have been developed by experience. Dave has engaged with some people like myself. He helped me build my websites and help me craft some of my stories and help bring some of my team together. And so we are a community.

So as a new speaker, plug into the community by really getting to know who's out here and who can support you in the community.

Dave Bricker(47:12)

Neal, it was fantastic catching up with you today.

Neal Petersen(47:16)

Likewise, let's do this on the water. We have some sailing adventures to do and show up at the mountain house here in the Caribbean when I'm not on the road.

Dave Bricker(47:20)


We will make that happen. So I'mDave Bricker, inviting you to explore the world's most comprehensive resource for speakers and storytellers at www .speakipedia .com. If you're viewing this program on social media video, please love, subscribe, and share your comments. And if you're listening to the podcast, keep your hands on the wheel and stay safe. I'll see you on the next episode of Speakipedia Media.