In just 5 months, Chris Baldwin was named the fastest growing speaker in 2018 and the #1 in the top 10 speakers in the Netherlands. He now charges upwards of $15,000 for each keynote engagement and has been the speaker of choice for Google, Microsoft, and many other Fortune 500 companies.
Find out the mindset that has allowed Chris to have this fast rise in the speaking world and learn how you can apply this towards your speaking to have more impact and land more stages.
Victor Ahipene: Speaking nation, what’s happening? Welcome to another episode of Public Speaking Secrets. I’m your host Victor Ahipene. We’ve got the second part of this episode with Chris Baldwin, who is being on a meteoric rise in the speaking world.
If you haven’t checked out the first part of this two part series and I highly recommend there are some absolute gold nuggets in there for everyone who has an aspiring or currently successful speaker to be able to leverage and grow really effectively. Some really, really awesome things that I’ve actually taken down myself that I’ll be moving forward. Welcome back, Chris.
Chris Baldwin: Thanks, Victor. Thanks for having me back.
Victor Ahipene: Well, I wanted to touch on today, we spoke about last week your different mindsets. We could only really just touch on them. I wanted to deep dive a bit more into, you said you’ve got seven mindsets of a speaker. I’d love it if you could share with our audience either all of those or whatever you have at the time to share with us with.
Chris Baldwin: When I start as a professional speaker, literally trying to build a career through speaking or at least you speaking as a vehicle, as a medium to build a business, to build a consultancy, to build whatever’s behind the speaking. Because it’s never about speaking itself.
Speaking is just a channel on how to communicate. It’s about why you speaking in the first place. I’m a strategist and I understand that life is all about choices. There’s only two things you have to do in life. You can’t get out of two things and one of them is die. We all have to die. There are Silicon Valley startups to solve for that problem. Eventually we’re going to be uploading the cloud and be immortalized and all of that.
The other one is make choices. You can’t get out and making choices. Even if you don’t choose, you still make a choice. You’re choosing for someone else to choose for you. My TED talk is actually the choice is yours. It’s all about this. It’s all about the choices we make when we adopt the technology into our lives and our organizations. This is our choice.
We complain about Facebook taking too much of our time, but it’s our choice to spend time on Facebook. When you can start to realize that everything comes down to choices, then sort of what turned into my head was most of the time when we slow down, it’s our inability to choose. So we outsource that to somebody else and then that makes us unhappy because someone else is controlling us.
What if we could actually have a framework, a decision making framework that helps us choose very quickly. Do I say yes? Do I say no? Do I go left? Do I go right? Then all of a sudden it becomes very clear and you get clarity in your mind and you know that whatever choices you make, it adheres to these values, these beliefs that you have.
So I developed the seven mindsets as a decision making framework to help me move quickly. I’ll cover them. There’s seven. There’s a big story behind each of them. So just feel free to pop in and ask any questions as we’re going through them.
The first one, it’s really identifying who is the customer, who is your client as a speaker? I think that’s where most speakers that I’ve spoken to, at least the starting ones, how about the wrong way round. They think it’s the audience, but the audience that’s got nothing to do with it.
Your audience is the product. You’re delivering information into their heads in order to make them better, in order to drive results in their business, in their lives. It’s the product you’re creating. Your client, your customer is the event producer. It’s the event manager. It’s the event coordinator. It’s the people putting on the event. They are the ones paying you the money.
The first mindset is make the event manager as life as easy and pleasant as possible. Literally make them happy, make their life so easy and so pleasant that they’d have no choice but to invite you back. They have no choice, but to recommend you to other event managers. I them to say, “Chris is a dream to work with.” If you need a speaker, just call Chris. No problem, he’ll do it. What happens? That’s exactly what happens.
They call me back. I get to speak at their other events. I get to speak again in year two, in year three. One of the events I’ve just spoken at the third year and I was the emcee for the event. It’s allowed just digital marketing events in the Netherlands. There’s another thing to it, but I can’t actually release that because that’s actually– there is like a step way above that but I just can’t say it. Sorry. Make the event managers life as easy and pleasant as possible. That is my first mindset.
My second mindset is make your speaker agent as successful as possible because your speaker agent has a much larger network than you do. Generally, when speakers don’t turn up at events they get caught up in traffic, flights get canceled, they get sick, and all sorts of things happen. You need to be top of mind both for the event manager.
They can call you last minute, you’ll come in, but also for your speaker agent because event managers, if they don’t know you yet they’ll call an agent because agents have a large network of speakers. You want to be top of mind for your agents. Generally an agent will propose three speakers, but you need to be so good for them that they actually canceled the other two. All they’ll do is propose you because you’ve got this mindset. Make your speaker agent as successful as possible.
I talk about meaningful connections a lot. In our last episode, we covered that, how to build meaningful connections and really, really trust is the big thing now. Trust and respect are the two key components of a relationship and building trust is so critical now in this digital ecosystem where people aren’t trusting anybody. You build trust by one simple thing.
That is by acting in the other person’s best interest. That’s how you build trust. If you act in your agent’s best interest, you develop trust with them and they’ll just simply, there is no choice here. It’s you are. You are the speaker they will present and the event manager will see, “Oh my God, it’s just given me one.”
Because that is who I want to speak there. It just all works out when you have this mindset. When I say this, I really mean it. It’s not just words. Literally you will travel across the other side of the world and catch a flight within 30 minutes. Every choice has a tradeoff. Every choice has a tradeoff.
The bigger the trade off, the bigger the choice. When you don’t have to make a trade off, there is no choice being made. Sometimes the tradeoff is quite big. You might have to leave your family behind. You might have to lose a big piece of business. One of them was I had choice between a free gig and a $20,000 gig and I chose the free gig.
I left $20,000 on the table, but I didn’t just leave it on the table. Now I had $20,000 of value that I gave to my agent. I said, “Hey, I have a gig here. It can pay $20,000. I have to do another gig. It’s six hours away.” It was on the same day. It was a six hour drive.
I basically couldn’t make both events and so I went to my agent, I said, “Hey, how about you take this and find another speaker for it? I can recommend one.” I did and he got the gig. My agent got a 25% commission. How does that make my agents feel? That’s crazy. That sort of stuff, but sometimes you have to make a trade off when you make a choice.
Victor Ahipene: I think one of the big things there is you make your agent, you make the event organizer the top priority. It’s human nature is take the path of least resistance. If they know that, “All right, I’m going to put Chris or I’m going to put Victor Ford. He’s going to say no problem. He’s going to turn up.
He’s going to do a good job. I know that there’s going to be no kickbacks.” I know there’s not going to be the event organizer blowing up because he didn’t perform on the stage or he was a drama queen back stage or there was all these logistical issues or whatever it is. It’s like, I know once I’ve sent that person, and they’re going to do an awesome job. They’re going to get repeat business. It makes my life easier.
They don’t care if you’re the person on shark tank who’s the most sought after person. If you’re going to make their life a Bain they’re like, “Oh this is too hard.” They’re going to have to go back and forth with seven emails saying, “Can you actually move them to the third day instead of the first day?”
They just want to put someone that’s going to reflect them well, but they also want someone that, “Okay, here’s this name. You should take them. They’re going to be great. Thanks for my commission. That’s awesome.” Everyone’s happy. Happy days. That’s why I really liked when you said the no problems guide because I even remember working in say physiotherapy clinics years ago. I always went by the thing of don’t make the reception or the front desk staff jobs hard.
Don’t be the person who throws something, a spanner in the works for no thing because they make your life easier, exponentially if you make it. It was always the case. I was never the one that they were like, “Oh, this person. Yeah, I don’t like Victor. He’s a pain.” They’re always like, “Oh, Victor, we put this new patient and with.” They’re always going to choose you because they know you’ve given them a good experience. I’ll let you carry on. I just wanted to add that path of least resistance I find that was always ends up trumps.
Chris Baldwin: Absolutely. When you’re talking about resistance, what are you talking about? You’re talking about problems that get in your way? Challenges, obstacles. That’s what causes the resistance. So if you can solve that for them, you create flow and you make their life easier and you make their life pleasant. You don’t even become a consideration point anymore. You become the only option for them. Over time that builds a personal brand. Over time, you start to become known as this person. Over time what happens is that they’ll gladly pay you a premium. They’ll gladly refer you to other events.
From doing one event for 5,000, literally with these mindsets that can become 500,000 over the next two years or 50,000 over the next two years. Let’s not go too outrageous here. I’m not Tony Robbins yet. It can literally 10x whatever you’re doing over time. You need to give a time. That means you need patience. You can’t get everything all at once. Sometimes it’s a journey you’re on and it’s a funnel you have to go through in a pragmatic way.
First you need to brand yourself and then over time as you deliver on that promise, your fees will go up and people will gladly pay you and gladly refer you. Most of the speaking isn’t actually done from the speaking fee. I’ll speak often for free now because most of the money you make isn’t from the speaking engagement itself. It’s from the relationships you create through that engagement.
Going to the third mindset, again we’re going to hammer it in. Always have a no problems attitude or was that the one we just covered? The fourth one is go for the emotional connection and this is really important because people actually don’t remember what you say. They won’t even remember what you do. People remember how you made them feel because feelings give rise to emotions.
It’s emotions that makes memories stick. Emotions that are the glue that makes memory stick. Unless you make people emotional about the content you’re delivering, they won’t remember you. They won’t remember what you said. They won’t remember the message. It’ll all be forgotten. Then that will not create any sort of exponential nature in the work that you do.
The more emotional you make people, the more memory of attention there is and the more chance there is that they will act on whatever you said at a point in the future. That could be sharing on social media. It could be liking you. It could be actually doing what you just said, stuff like that. It could be inviting you back to speak again.
It could be inviting you in as a consultant or a trainer in their organization when the opportunity turns up. Go for the emotional connection. The only real way to go for qualitative emotional connections because you can also take people on emotional roller coaster rides and that sometimes isn’t good for anybody. It depends what the intent is in the connection you’re trying to make.
One of the simple ways to do it is simply through storytelling. Storytelling is the way we’ve been communicating since the dark ages, since before the Internet. It’s crazy to think that there was a time before the internet, around the radio, around the fire. We’re storytelling creatures.
When you bring stories to the stage, people connect with that and they relate to it. One of the things I say when I’m giving speaker trainings is, it’s really about how do you make people feel when they hear you speak? This is a key question you need to ask yourself. How do I want other people to feel when they hear me speak?
Because feelings give rise to emotions and so in order to make someone feel inspired, for example, you really want to inspire them. In order to do that all you do is identify a story in your life that’s really inspired you and tell that in a compelling way and they will be inspired. If you feel inspired, they will start feeling inspired. The same works in reverse. For example, if you’re nervous on stage, well guess how they’re going to feel? They’re going to feel notice.
People feel what you feel. This is at the core of great public speaking. People feel what you feel. What is the feeling that should be synonymous with you? For me, for example, it took me a while to develop this, but there are three feelings or emotions that are synonymous with me and one of them is presence. I want people to feel present in the room.
It goes even deeper than attention. When an attention economy and you need people’s attention, but attention is fragmented now and they might be looking and listening to you, but they’re thinking about something else in their mind. That when they’re present, they lose track of time. One hour becomes like one minute. Its like, “Holy Shit. How did that go by so quickly when they’re present?” In order for people to feel present, you need to feel present. The other one is, I want to inspire.
In order for them to feel inspired, I need to feel inspired. Identify a story that makes me feel that way. See, sometimes when you’re telling a story, you get so deep into your story. You forget the next one which happens on stage sometimes and often you can just ask the audience where was I? They’ll queue you up and you can go to the next story. I think it’s literally escaped me, the word at least. Anyway, I’ll move on. Go for the emotional connection. That is my fourth mindset.
The fifth mindset is actually live an interesting life because it’s through an interesting life you collect interesting stories. Speaking is all about storytelling. The more powerful your story, the more relatable your story is, the more fresh, the more relevant your story is, the more powerful the point will be that you make through those stories. In order to collect stories, live an interesting life.
This is something that can become quite intense sometimes because you’re living life collecting stories. You’re seeing life through a different lens. You’re seeing life through a stage. Life’s a stage, if there’s hamlet, right? Life’s a stage and you’re the actor. You’re the director, but you’re never the writer because you share your stories with other people.
You have the ability to act out your stories. You have to ability to direct them through your choices that, but you don’t have the ability to write them completely because other people sharing them. When you understand this and you’re living your life, it’s basically any time there’s an emotion, you’re in a story.
How do you want that story to end? What story do you want to be telling later from the stage? How do you need to act now in order to be able to tell that story in an authentic way? Live an interesting life. That’s basically one of the mindsets. If I have a choice to do something interesting, Bam, I’m on it. I don’t say no.
Victor Ahipene: I think one of the other things is to add to that is document those interesting stories. Even if it’s just in your phone when you’re walking along because often we not necessarily forget the stories, but you can walk around and go, “Oh, that was something funny happened.” Then it’s a story and you can actually give that genuine funniness across in your story that you might think, “Oh God, nothing’s funny has happened to me.
I haven’t got any funny stories or I haven’t got something that necessarily resonates that.” If you’ve got a folder or a file that you can just drop into your phone and jot down as a memory jogger of that story. Oh yeah, that’s a perfect analogy or something that would perfectly highlight that particular point then I think it’s always good to have that kind of story [inaudible 00:19:47] joke bank as well.
Chris Baldwin: That’s story journaling. That’s one of the components that I teach in the trainings that I give. It’s story journaling. It’s critical. Those ideas that you have often in the shower or at the gym or on a run and five minutes later you completely lost it like, what was it again? It’s just lost.
You need to journal when you get these ideas, you know you’re in a story and all of a sudden you’ve got this great metaphor, great point noted down. I use Evernote for that and have a hold of really active story journal in Evernote. By the way, I just remembered the third thing that was energized. Energized because when you think about you at an event and you need to be present, presence, that’s what a speaker wants. That’s what the audience wants.
We were here. We’ve taken time out of our day. It’s really about the now. It’s in the event and with social media now you’re hyper connected. You can easily go into your phone and go into your email and go into business calls and you’re not present anymore. The second one was inspired and that’s really about what are you going to do tomorrow, what are you going to do?
Why are you here? What can this mean for your life, for your business? Inspire them to change something in the future. The third one is energized. I chose this word because people need energy to change. It’s often like, I know I need to be doing this and it’s not even motivation.
It’s not even motivation because motivation is acquired through the development of progress. You need progress to get motivated. You don’t need to motivate people. Progress motivates people. In order to get progress, you need to take action. That’s why this third word energized is that I want people to try something different tomorrow. That’s why most of my keynotes start to think different.
It starts with thinking different and then doing differently. That’s how you change things. For that you need energy. For that you need courage. For that you need to be able to do stuff. I want people to feel energized. I want to feel people to feel when they leave this event, they’re going to take notes. They’re going to start changing something immediately. Those are the three feelings I want to be synonymous with when I opened my mouth. It’s as simple as that. Keep this simple. It’s not rocket science.
Going back to the mindsets, the sixth one is always finish on time. I’ve been branded now as a speaker that finishes on the second. I literally finish on the second. I take that too far sometimes by literally finishing on the second. I did that back in December and I didn’t like what I did. I actually looked at the people, look at the clock and I’m telling the sentence as they know, I finish on time.
I was looking at them and then it wasn’t about the audience anymore, it was about finishing on time. I just took it a little bit too fast. Now, I learned from that and I quickly iterated, but always finish on time because when you don’t, you create a problem for the event manager. You create a problem for the audience because there are follow-up sessions, there are people have done stuff to do and who are you to take an extra two minutes or five minutes of their time?
Time’s a thousand by the way, if there’s a thousand people in the room. Always finish on time. On the second if you can within a few seconds, like 10, 15 second margin is the maximum I’ll give myself. This comes really from my dad. He died last November. That’s a story in itself. I won’t cover it just now, but it’s a story relating to speaking. I grew up in Vanuatu and those islands can be pretty small.
He was chief part of the Vanuatu airlines for 26 years. He was flying around all these islands. I flew with him a lot. Some of these airstrips spend the whole length of the island from one side to the other. That is the airstrip. It’s grass. When he lands those planes, he has to land exactly on time. If he lands 30 seconds too early, he lands in the ocean. If he lands 30 seconds too late, he lands in the ocean. He needs to land exactly on time. I took that mindset with me to speaking. Always finish on time, otherwise you create a problem for everybody including yourself.
Victor Ahipene: I’ve even seen people, the kind of sales first events where everyone’s spoken a product on 80% of the people are. It’s up to $5,000 a minute when you go over. I’ve seen some of the like success resources who are doing their world tour with Gary V and Grant Cardone at the moment.
It’s $5,000 for every minute you are over at those events. Definitely did not go over. Anyway, because you got to respect everybody’s time and the other speaker’s time, the audiences, and the event organizers time so brilliant. What’s our seventh mindset?
Chris Baldwin: The seventh one is, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Eric Edmeades. I think he’s probably the best speaker in the world like literally. It depends your style. It depends, but he’s is to me the best speaker in the world, the best storytelling speaker in the world.
Most of these mindsets actually come from a training I did with him. I’m partnered with him now. We’re business partners. He left me with this mindset a year ago and it was a mindset, I finished most of my keynotes on this particular quote. That is, “Be so good. They can’t ignore you.” It slices through the heart of everything. Be so good. They can’t ignore you.
As a speaker be so good, they can’t ignore you. People will seek you out from the audience. Event managers will seek you back again. Companies will want you to speak at their events because you’re so good. They can’t ignore you anymore. They have to share you. They have to recommend you.
They have to help you on this journey. This isn’t about arrogance. Sometimes when you tell it to the Americans, they love it and when you tell it to the Dutch, which is quite a humble audience I’ll get, “Oh, settle down.” In Australia it’s like we need to train this guy down to size. This isn’t about arrogance. This is about being the best version of you. This is about being you and being the best version of what you can be. You can’t be anybody else and nobody else can be you.
What is public speaking? What is being a speaker really? What are you being paid for? You’re being paid for being yourself. No, no. As a speaker, you’ll be paid for them. Actually, it’s the only career in the world where they pay you excessive amounts of money to just be yourself.
Because who do you love as a speaker on stage? Someone that delivers a powerful message in an authentic way where you can just relate to that person. You can believe them, you can trust them, and you understand who they are. All you want is to help them on this journey and to connect with them at a future time. Because they’re being so good you can’t ignore them and all they’re doing is being themselves.
This quote is really about being the best version of yourself. That is what people respect. If you can do that, you will gain respect from the audience and you will inspire them to take action, you will inspire them maybe even to do speaking themselves. The opposite of that is being an actor.
That is the career path where you get paid excessive amounts of money, not to be you. You’re acting out somebody else, but acting and speaking of, when you’re on opposite ends, they come together. Sometimes you’re putting up a show up there, but you’re putting up a show in an authentic way where you’re just having fun being yourself and having fun, being the best version of yourself.
That takes courage. It takes courage. One of the things that really changed it for me. It was a quote. It’s a quote I use in most of my keynotes now. It’s the 18, 40, 60 rule. Have you heard of it?
Victor Ahipene: No.
Chris Baldwin: It comes from Jack Canfield. It’s in the success principles. It’s one of the success principles and it stuck with me. It’s like at 18 years old, all you care about is what other people think of you. Self-image. When you turn into your forties, you don’t give a damn what anybody thinks of you. When you turn 60, you realize nobody’s been thinking of you at all. That’s like crazy.
We spent so much time and so much energy worrying what other people think of us when they’re not. What if we could spend that time and energy actually figuring out what we want and doing this stuff to help us get it? If in the unlikely event someone was actually genuinely thinking about you, wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing? Isn’t that what we all want?
I don’t worry about what other people think of me. I really don’t care. I care deeply as to why they think those things. Because now that’s information for me to improve and be the best version of myself. This is his last mindset. It’s a keynote on its own.
It’s very, very powerful when you can dig into what these words actually mean to you as a speaker. You can interpret it the wrong way. You can be arrogant up there. You’ve got to be careful with this one. Be so good they can’t ignore you is really about being the best version of yourself so that you build trust and respect with the audience and all they want to do is seek you out a second time.
Victor Ahipene: That’s brilliant. Well, I’d highly recommend for everybody, rewind us. Listen to us again, jump over to publicspeakingblueprint.com. Grab the show notes, write them down and more importantly, checkout Chris because he’s walking the walk and talking the talk. At the moment, I’ve been following your social media. I’ve been seeing all of these things when we’re leading up to this episode and your website and everything you’ve talked about, you’re out there doing.
You’re in the trenches. This stuff is working at the moment and you’re just like building the confidence to speak. Having a framework and systems for any part, whether you’re learning to speak, whether you’re learning to scale, whether you’re learning to take it to the next level. Having those frameworks and those systems that allow you to make those decisions and be authentic to yourself and do what you feel is best for you to take the next step is super important.
Thank you so much for sharing that. I just want to welcome you to our speaker nation family. If people want to find out more about you, what you’ve been up to and follow along on your journey, where can they go and what can they do?
Chris Baldwin: The best place for me is LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. I document a lot of the stuff. I share a lot of the stuff. Actually most of the time now I’m usually the opening keynote speaker or the host moderator. I get access to pretty much unlimited tickets.
So if you follow me, there’s an event in Amsterdam coming up next month where I’ve got VIP passes pretty well, unlimited passes except for the room only takes a thousand people. Once we go over that we won’t be to anymore. Generally, I’ll give out a lot of free passes so that’ll be an opportunity for you to also meet me and for me to introduce you to the event producer, which may score you a gig in future.
Victor Ahipene: There you go everyone, meaningful connections or we will leave it at that. I’ll link all of that at publicspeakingblueprint.com all the links back to all your different social media platforms and ways to get in touch and follow you. I appreciate all your time.
You’ve been super generous with this two part episode. If you ignored me at the start of this and you haven’t gone back, listen to the first one then I highly recommend you do it. I’m sure you are now more than sold on the message to go back and check that last episode out. Thanks again, Chris. I look forward to touching base when we’re on the same part of the world, wherever that may be.
Chris Bladwin: Yeah, Victor, it’s been a pleasure. I know we’re on opposite sides of the world, but it’s been a pleasure reconnecting with an Aussie down underneath. Hopefully we’ll get to shake hands sometimes soon.
Victor Ahipene: Look forward to it. Cheers.