(The founder of TJ Walker Speaking, Media Training Worldwide, The Speaking Channel, and TJ Walker Online Schools. He is an Expert in Public Speaking, Presentations, Speaking to the Media, Leadership, and Communication skills)
How to look Comfortable & Relaxed when you give a Speech, Be Understood & Memorable from the Audience & get the Action that you Want from the Audience
How Much Text should be used in Each Slide of Your Presentation? How to get paid speaking engagements? How TJ Walker Entered the Guinness Book Of World Records?
TJ Walker is the Founder of Media Training Worldwide, an Expert in Public Speaking, Presentations, Media and Communication. Media Training Worldwide is a leading media and presentation training firm. Specialties: Columnist, keynote speaker, commentator on all things speaking related
TJ Walker is the founder of Media Training Worldwide and has been conducting media training workshops and seminars since 1984. Walker has trained Presidents of countries, Prime Ministers, Nobel Peace Prize winners, Super Bowl winners, U.S. Senators, Miss Universes and Members of Parliament.
His book, “Secret to Foolproof Presentations” was a USA Today #1 Bestseller, as well as a Wall Street Journal, and Business Week Bestseller. Walker is a also a regular
contributor to Forbes and the Reuters Insider Network and has written for the Huffington Post. A frequent network news communications analyst, Walker has made more than 1000 network TV and radio appearances on CBS, ABC, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg TV, Al Jazeera, NBC, CCTV, Fox Business, Russia Today, HLN, TrueTV, Comedy Central, Sirius and NPR. In 2009, Walker entered the Guinness Book Of World Records for most talk show appearances ever in a 24 hour period.
Walker is also the author of “Media Training A-Z” and “Media Training Success.” Walker is also the producer/host of The TJ Walker News and Comment Channel on YouTube which has thousands of subscribers and millions of views.
Walker was a merit scholar at Duke University where he graduated magna cum laude. He has lectured or conducted trainings at Yale University, Columbia University and Princeton University.
Media Training Worldwide provides more media and presentation training workshops and seminars (54 separate courses) than any other company in the world. We also publish more than 100 media and presentation training books, DVDs, CDs, and other information products and is the premier presentation/media training publisher in the world.
At Media Training Worldwide, we specialize in media, presentation, public speaking and speech training, as well as executive coaching, to enhance verbal and non-verbal communication skills for media interview, presentations and public speaking. We provide two-day, one-day, half-day, teleseminar and showcase media and presentation training programs to fit any budget or timeframe. We will bring our video equipment and workshops directly to you, anywhere in the world. Many clients prefer to train in our New York City-Times Square based TV and Presentation training studio, which features satellite TV interview backdrops, TelePrompTers, lecterns, large TV monitors, talk show sets, PowerPoint projectors, screens, board ROOM settings, and even virtual reality audiences! We can simulate any media or presentation situation you may encounter. At Media Training Worldwide we specialize exclusively in training for media, presentation, public speaking and interview coaching. That’s all we do. We eat, think and sleep media training and presentation coaching. The result? We provide the highest level of service to you and guarantee that your communication skills will improve dramatically because you will be using the most innovative training and learning techniques and technologies available.
Websites & Social Media Links
- How did you start in the media and public speaking sector?
- What’s your background? And why you decided to focus online and leave the offline media world?
- What did you enter the Guinness Book Of World Records?
- What’s the communication definition?
- From where to start for planning and structuring a live presentation?
- How much text should be used in each slide of a presentation?
- How to overcome the fear of public speaking and look comfortable and relaxed when you give a speech?
- How to Be understood and memorable from the audience?
- How to get the action that you want from the audience?
- HOW TO GET PAID speaking engagements?
- Which tools or techniques you recommend to read text whilelooking at the camera?
- How to be featured in the media regularly?
- What a press release really means?
- Most important things to mention in a press release?
- How to distribute a press release?
- Which online platform helped you the most selling your courses and market for your services?
- You struggled marketing your services online, what was your tipping point online?
- How much you charge in general for your courses and for 1:1 training sessions?
- Your Top 3 speakers of all time?
- How people can contact you?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone, this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and lifestyle with tips and tricks from leading experts and today I have with me TJ Walker, he is an expert in communication, presentations, public speaking and media. Welcome to the show TJ. How are you doing today?
TJ Walker: Great, good to be with you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s my pleasure, so how did you start in the public speaking and media area?
TJ Walker: I was bribed. When I was 12 years old I was about to graduate from elementary school and my teacher was in charge of the elementary school graduation, she had to find a student to give the welcoming speech the parents teachers and students and she came up to me one day and said TJ I have a deal for you, right now I’m going to give you a C, a very average grade in handwriting. I will give you in A, the top grade in handwriting if you just give a welcoming speech on graduation day. And I was a very shy quiet kid, never said much of anything but I thought while it would be nice to have an A, all right, so I did it, it wasn’t a great speech but I learned at an early age if you are just willing to stand up and speak, people will give you things. After that I got involved in student government so I had to give speeches for the student council elections, things like that, developed an interest in politics and from there worked in politics and as a talk radio host, TV host and as a trainer. I started my first training 30 years ago in college.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you worked with any media channels or just started right away in media, did you study like media, use that philosophy right?
TJ Walker: I was a philosophy major in college but I did work in media as a student and wrote columns for the student newspaper, did commentaries for the student radio station and TV station so I always had an interest in really all media not just writing, not just TV but really the interplay of all media.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you started coaching people how to like act in front of the camera, you worked with a big like high-level people, can you mentioned for us some of the most famous people that you worked with?
TJ Walker: Most of my clients prefer confidentiality but I have worked with presidents of countries, Prime Minister’s, Nobel Peace Prize winners, members of Parliament, Miss universes, you name it, at some point I’ve worked in a tremendous number of countries on six continents all over the world, people at every skill level when it comes to speaking and speaking to the media, I can tell you nobody is a natural at this, it’s all learned behavior, there’s no such thing as a natural born speaker or a natural born communicator, it is a skill that people can learn.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you get into the Guinness book world records?
TJ Walker: A number of years ago I wrote a book called the secret to foolproof presentations and I wanted to figure out how can I promote the book to make it sell a lot and get the word out and sort of demonstrate what I do and practice what I preach so I thought why not come up with a gimmick essentially where I am trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for some record that deals with speaking. And also combines my interest, my professional interest in media so I put the two together and said why not try to be on more talk shows in a 24-hour period than anyone else in the history of the world and we did that, I was on 112 talk shows in 24 hours, they were talk radio show so it could be done by phone plus the whole thing was simultaneously cast on a Fox Internet TV station as well so it was a show within a show, it was a lot of talking and a lot of fun. And it helped build my brand and the book went on to be a number one USA Today, Wall Street journal and BusinessWeek bestseller.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Can you define vindication for us?
TJ Walker: Communication is when you have an idea in your head, spoken communication, it comes out of your mouth, someone in the audience, one person or thousand people can hear you, understand you and remember the idea so that they can take some action. That’s how I define communication, that’s why 99% of most business speeches where someone sort of stands up at a PowerPoint, bullet point bullet point blah blah blah, that’s not communication. Because it even if people understand it it’s instantly forgotten, if people forget it how can they act on it? It’s a complete utter waste of time so when I’m working with clients and I work with a lot of people in the Middle East, I work with top attorneys in Dubai, oil and gas executives throughout the Middle East, the goal I have for them is really the same goal I have with people all over the world, that is how do you take the ideas that are most important to you and make them more memorable because everybody makes the same mistake, every executive, every politician I work with, they get greedy, they try to throughout way too many ideas in a speech or a media interview and it doesn’t work. So I always start off with let’s narrow your messages down to five, the reason I picked five is I asked audiences all over the world to tell me who the best acre was that they’ve heard in the last year, the last five years and how many messages they remember, sometimes it’s nothing, sometimes it’s one or two were occasionally three, every six months I’ll have someone in an audience tell me they remember five ideas from the best speaker they’ve ever seen. I’ve never had anyone tell me they remember more than five ideas so that’s why as a starting point with all of my clients, doesn’t matter if they are in the oil and gas industry or financial services or they are running for local office, I tell them let’s focus on just five ideas and let’s spend the rest of my time, I don’t care if we have to hours, let’s spend the rest of our time illustrating those ideas, giving examples and giving case studies and ideally stories. A story involving a conversation you had with a real person about a real problem, how it was resolved. That’s the number one way to get people to actually remember your ideas.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Who is your top three favorite communicators or speakers of all time?
TJ Walker: I would say in the English-speaking world today Bill Clinton, Tony Blair as far as people who are alive that I do get to see on TV on the Internet, occasionally in person, those 2 stand out to me as really good speakers but someone who cares about speaking, there are so many genres it’s like asking a wine expert what is your favorite wine they would say well if you are talking about the board does it is this, if it’s champagne it’s this, they have so many different subcategories, if you asked me who is the best talk radio host I might give you a completely different answer, if you want to talk about just politicians of the 20th century I might say Winston Churchill, so it really depends on the genre. Here’s the thing that I think people get hung up on: they think that speaking is something you’re born with and oh my gosh nobody can ever be John F. Kennedy or Winston Churchill, they don’t realize that both of those speakers were very good when they started. John F. Kennedy the former US president was considered a horrible public speaker even as a member of Congress, even as president people who stood behind him will tell you they can see his hands shaking, his knees shaking, Barack Obama is considered by most to be a good speaker but it was only a couple of years before his breakout speech at the Democratic convention in 2004 when he was considered sort of a boring hack like droning legal professor who wasn’t interesting at all. When he was in the state legislature. So these are learned skills and that’s what I’m about, that’s why people hire me for workshops, seminars, keynote speeches and now online training is how to teach them how to be interesting, compelling speakers because I do believe if you’ve ever had one interesting conversation in your entire life you already have all the skills you need to be a great public speaker.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So from where to start and how to start planning and structuring your life, presentation?
TJ Walker: Simple get a blank piece of paper or get your iPhone or notes, brainstorm on every idea you could possibly want to communicate to that audience, and an idea is not a paragraph it’s something with one verb, one object, one subject, one sentence. Brainstorm on all of those ideas, you may have 50 or 100, then put them on priority, anything that isn’t in the top five there in the trashcan. Now you have everything you need for your structure of your speech. Most people don’t do that, most people think of the speech as let me gather more data and they go around and get all the bullet points and PowerPoint slides from Smithers or Mohammed from last month and put that into the speech because more is more, more is not more in a presentation. It’s typically a prescription for failure. So how much text should we have in each slide?
TJ Walker: 0.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: 0. So you just use pictures in your slides usually when you have a presentation?
TJ Walker: Here’s the thing I love PowerPoint is it all the time, I test audiences all over the world and I can tell you it is a complete utter waste of time to put text up on a slide while you are speaking. I realize that sounds crazy to some people or they think I’m someone who is anti-PowerPoint, I’m not anti-PowerPoint, I’m in favor of affected PowerPoint. When I test audiences all over the world and ask them what slides do they remember they only remember pictures and images, media graph, if it’s simple and focuses on one variable or one relationship, people do not remember text because text those are just letters and obstructions, they don’t put pictures in the brain, the mind is very much visual in nature, our minds are more image processor wars than word processors and if you doubt me, think of this if you go to some communications conference or any kind of business conference and, in Dubai or anyplace else, Abu Dhabi and you meet someone and you exchange business cards and now a month goes by and you bump into that person the airport do you remember the full spelling of their name on a business card or do you remember their face?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But how about like some speakers…
TJ Walker: Let me finish the point…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Of course the face of course the face.
TJ Walker: The face, not the text because your brain is an image processor not a word processor. Now most people in businesses do use PowerPoint with words so you are not going to get fired for using text, but I simply do not have any evidence that it’s helping you, but if everyone else does it you are not going to get fired for it but the reason to come to me is, I try to help people make stand out as superior speakers, better than average, as great, not to be like everyone else. If you want to be like everyone else and stand there like a zombie and read bullet points, it’s not about 10 bullet points is better than 20 or three words per bullet point is better than six, complete waste of time. Frankly. Here’s what I do recommend: if you want to give people a lot of text, do it. But email it to them in advance, give it as a handout afterwards, in fact as a bonus to your viewers, anyone who sends me an email request I’m going to give them an entire copy of the book we just talked about my secret to foolproof presentations, all they have to do is email me, TJ@TJWalker.com. But I’m not going to sit here and in fact I actually have one right here, I’m not going to sit here during our interview and read page after page well as you can see here… That would be an awful interview. That’s what I recommend is you actually have 2 power points one that you email people in advance and handout lots and lots of text, lots of bullet points, columns and charts but another PowerPoint that follows the specific rules and going to outline for you. Picture an image, something visual that has no text on a slide, one idea per slide, one image per slide. That is the most effective way to use PowerPoint. Now if you think that’s crazy, fine, I want you to be skeptical of what I say, I want you to doubt me but I also want you to doubt the we’ve done in your whole life because most of us if we are giving a so-called serious important presentation, PowerPoint presentation what we do? We gather lots and lots of data we arrange and bullet points, we kind of scary up to the lectern, we put it down, we sort of have read bullet points, I would submit to you that you do not have a single shred of evidence that that is an effective way to communicate.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I agree with you. It’s all about the audience, you are talking from an audience standpoint…
TJ Walker: And here’s a way to test, here’s a way to test. It’s fine to say that doesn’t work but what does work? Here’s the test if you have to give a PowerPoint presentation to 30 colleagues or 30 new business executive prospects on Thursday, find three colleagues from down the hall on Tuesday, give them your PowerPoint presentation. When you are done, ask them every slide they remember. If they can’t remember your slide you now have empirical evidence it didn’t work. I want you to take that slide
Ahmed Al Kiremli: up and throw it in the trashcan. It’s not about my opinion, not about aesthetics, the whole purpose of the slide is to get your audience to understand and remember the message. If they are not remembering your slide it didn’t work.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about the busy speakers who have let’s say a speech, a new speech every two or three weeks and they don’t really memorize it 100% so they put some bullet points just remember the ideas to start?
TJ Walker: Well I’m not a fan of memorizing, I’ve never memorize anything I have a horrible memory, I do not ever recommend that anyone memorize a speech. I’m also a huge huge fan of notes. I love notes, in fact I never give a speech without notes but the notes are just for you, why would you want to project that to the whole audience? That’s crazy, imagine going to your favorite Tom Cruise movie, mission impossible which was shot in Dubai and all the sudden every 2 seconds you see the camera pulled back and you see the director shouting action and you see the craft services person, that would really destroy the mood of the movie wouldn’t it? It’s showing all the mechanics of it, if you want to have notes that’s fine, I have a very sophisticated high-tech solution for speakers so that they always know what to say, they never have to remember anything and they don’t have to project their notes on the screen. It’s very expensive and I’m sure all of your viewers are very affluent and they can afford it, here is my high tech solution for speakers, it’s called a piece of paper. Anytime I speak I put all of my notes so that it fits on a half sheet of paper and make it a large font on a single sheet of paper because it’s large font, I don’t have to stop and call attention to the fact that I’m reading it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But how about a live speech when you are doing it live, it’s not nice to have a paper.
TJ Walker: If I am giving an hour speech this is what I have. An hour speech, you should be able to fit it on a single sheet of paper with large font. If you can’t fit it on a single sheet of paper the problem is not your notes, the problem is you are greedy and you are trying to communicate way too many data points, way too many messages and you are not going to be successful. Here’s the other trick with notes, because I have it on a single sheet of paper I don’t have to turn pages. It just sits right on a table next to a glass of water so I can every so often while speaking put the glass down and glance at my notes and no one has any idea. Here’s another trick, very advanced and yet costs virtually nothing, anyone can do it. If I’m speaking in a larger room and there is a stage or room to move around, I’ll have three or four copies of my notes and all have been placed around different parts, maybe even the back of the room that way I can be walking around and not stand right next to the lectern or what people call a podium, I can be moving around the whole time and when people see a speaker moving, it sends a message that this person is supremely confident, authoritative, really knowledgeable and the speakers just talking to us, that’s what audiences want. They can’t stand people who get behind a lectern blah blah blah, even if they are not reading the whole time it seems like a reading experience. So that’s something I teach my clients to do, how to use notes in a way where nobody has any idea you are using notes, I always use notes, I reveal at the end of some of my speeches what I was doing and people’s jaws go drop, they always say we had no idea you are using notes.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to overcome the fear of public speaking?
TJ Walker: Well if you fear public speaking is probably with good reason, chances are you are awful and you’re going to bore people to death, I don’t mean to be mean but think of all the business conferences you’ve been to, speaker after speaker, they are boring. What do we do, especially if we are not on the front row? We check our email, because the speaker was awful so if you feel like you are boring, if you feel like you’re awful, chances are you actually are. So the solution is not to feel better about your speaking, the solution is not to meditate and visualize a standing ovation or to visualize your audience in their underwear, complete waste of time. The solution is not to take a beta blocker drug which some people do, the solution is actually to have a great speech, and to have watched yourself deliver it so that you know you’re giving great speech. Here’s the first thing I do with every one of my clients: for they of public speaking training, I don’t say anything I just say get up, give your speech and we video record it and I asked him to watch it. And then they will ask me what I think and I’ll say well I’m happy to tell you but you tell me what you think. And the first thing they say, I remember a prime minister I worked with in Eastern Europe, the first thing he said was good God TJ I’m incredibly boring, I wouldn’t want to watch me, what do you think? And I said well Mr. Prime Minister you seem like a smart guy if you think you are really really boring guess what, you are. So what do we do? We took his speech, we tore it up into little pieces because it was the standard data dump, very abstract, lots of bullet points, we got a clean sheet of paper, we brainstormed on message points we came up with five, we brainstormed on stories for each one, now we had notes, now he got up and gave a speech and we videotaped it and he liked it so much better. Here is the ultimate secret that anyone of your viewers can use to completely eliminate their fear public speaking. People don’t talk about this but it’s not as glamorous as hypnosis but this actually works, here’s the secret, if you want to completely get over your nerves speaking, practice on video, watch it, critique it, do more of the stuff you like, less of the stuff you don’t like, do it again, critique, keep doing it until you can look at that video and say well, that’s a great speech. If I can speak that well, I’ll be better than anyone else at this conference. If that weren’t me I would want to watch that speech. If you just practice until you get to that point, I guarantee you are not going to be nervous, it becomes incredibly difficult to be nervous about something when you already had seen yourself do a great job. Most people never practice on video so the reason they are nervous is they think oh no I might be really boring and I might be awful. Well guess what that’s a very rational thought process, if you haven’t practice on video you might be awful and you might be boring but the solution is to fix the problem, not to fix the problem, not to feel better about it, that’s how I differ from a lot of my colleagues in the public speaking business because there is so much emphasis on visualizing success, imagine if I told you or your audience members because I used to live right down the street from Times Square in Manhattan in New York City, if I said to you gosh, I’m nervous about walking naked through Times Square, I’m nervous that people are going to point at me, laugh at me and then I would get arrested. If I told you that, would you say well TJ just visualize everybody applauding. Or just imagine everyone shouting out that you are the most beautiful naked men in the world, would you tell me, imagine TJ that the police are just off that day so they are not going to arrest you. Would you tell me that or would you say TJ put some clothes on. I think you would actually tell me put some clothes on, that is what would solve the problem, me get arrested walking through Times Square naked, not that I’ve ever done that. It’s the same thing with people feeling nervous about speaking, the solution isn’t to feel better about it, the solution is to solve the underlying problem of a horrible speech and it’s very easy to do but you have to practice on video until you like it and if you really want to take it up a notch then practice in front of other people. I hate it when people say public speaking is a soft skill like it’s a little puppy, I believe you can quantify every aspect of public speaking and as specific away as any aspect of accounting, every aspect of chemical engineering, it’s very very specific, if you have to give a speech about your quarterly results, on your oil or gas exploration company, on Thursday, find 2 colleagues at lunch, give them your presentation just as you would in real life, speaking, when you are done ask them every message point they remember and ask them every slide they remember. Any message that was important to you that they remember because they are just telling you now what they remember, you now have empirical evidence that you succeeded, that you actually communicated. But if there is any point that was important to you for that audience to get and they are not throwing it back in your face you now have empirical evidence that the way you presented it was incompetent, was foolish, didn’t work. Has to be changed.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you survey, you distribute the survey to the audience, or like from the company that hires you, you recommend that they survey the audience.
TJ Walker: That’s a different issue, after you are already in front of the audience because here’s the problem with speaking in front of some professional group at a conference they are typically going to ask, rate the speaker from a one to a five scale which isn’t particularly meaningful. Here something that is meaningful, if you are giving a speech or presentation to more than 10 people, quite often someone will walk up and say oh good speech today, TJ good speech. Don’t just say thank you, say thanks, tell me, what did you take away, what did you remember, how would you describe the speech to someone who wasn’t here was supposed to be here? I asked that question all the time and if someone says well TJ your speech was just fantastic you have such great energy you are really professional and a great speaker, if someone tells me that then I know that my speech was a complete failure. Because this person is an throwing back any messages in my face. It’s not about your style, you want to have a good style but that’s secondary, the main thing you want to do is a speaker is communicate ideas but instead if someone says TJ the main thing I took away is no one should ever give a speech again unless they practice on video until a point where they can see it and like it, if I can hear that and I know that I was successful because that was my main point. Quite often.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to be understood and memorable like with the audience like you do now like you speak in a very slow way and memorable way? Is there a technique that you recommend or do you just practice?
TJ Walker: The number one way to be memorable is to tell a story, a story involves a conversation with a real person about a real problem, how you felt and how it was resolved. At the beginning you asked me how did I get into speaking, I didn’t just say I gave my first speech at 12 and I’ve been speaking ever since, I could’ve said quickly but instead I told a little story, I was 12 years old I was about to graduate from sixth grade, my teacher came to me and said TJ, you have a C in handwriting, I’ll give you a A in handwriting if you give the welcome speech. I thought about it, I was shy but you know I did it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But it’s not about only the story…
TJ Walker: That was a story, it only took 30 seconds.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: About the way I mean you say it, not to mention a story, it’s very essential to mention that but the way you say it in a very slow way and people understand your accent, is there a technique that you recommend for the people that you teach to practice?
TJ Walker: Most people when they are comfortable have constant variation in their voice, sometimes they are faster, sometimes lower. Sometimes louder, sometimes softer. Occasionally they pause. I have found all human beings everywhere in the world when they are relaxed and they are just talking to friends over a nice dinner or a relaxing environment, they have great variation in their voice, the problem many people have when they are giving a speech or presentation are talking to the media is that they are scared and they are stiff so all of the sudden they stop doing the things they do in normal conversation and it’s more consistent, it’s more monotone, it’s the same speed it’s the same volume and there are no pauses. That’s the problem. So if you are nervous you have to practice enough to the point where it’s coming out naturally, but one of the things I have found across the board with my clients is that when you are telling a story it naturally slows you down. Because you are becoming the other person, so Leia Katt said to me TJ do you want to go on a desert safari and I said well what’s that? The next thing I know I’m out on the desert and these mountains are 200 feet high and I’m on this jeep scared. That’s how people actually talk and that’s one of the stories I remember from the last time I was in Qatar, going on a desert safari. For most people it’s not hard to do, the hard part is if you’ve written out a speech and it’s fact, fact, bullet point, stripped away from any stories and examples that’s what’s hard to be conversational about but the issue is not to become more conversational talking about a data dump, the issue is that you have to get rid of the data dump and focus on one idea at a time to make it memorable.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to eliminate the um and ahh and this stuff?
TJ Walker: What I do with clients is I have these stickers with “uh” with the international red no sign, no left-hand turn, no parking, no hazardous chemicals and I put that sticker on their watch, on their cell phone, occasionally on their iPad or computer screen and it reprograms the brain after a day you still say uh or um, after three or four days you almost say it, after a week the image will come up in your head, you can simply pause, by pausing you will come across more comfortable, more confident, more authoritative, anyone can make this, go to your computer and type up the word uh or umm in small font, a point typically, printed out, cut it out with scissors, draw a red line and a slash through it and then take it to your watch her computer screen for at least a week, I put that on presidents of countries watches, I put it on billionaire fund managers, it’s wildly effective.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to get the action that you want from the audience?
TJ Walker: You have to ask them and you can’t just assume so for example I want your audience to write to me and ask for a free copy of my book, secret to foolproof presentations, all they have to do is right TJ@TJWalker.com, they also may want to see some online training courses and they can just search my name@Udemy.com and its on other places as well but you have to just ask like that you can’t just wait for if you are on a talk show, the host to do all the work, you can’t assume that everyone is going to figure out what you want, you have to be explicit and you can’t be embarrassed about it, it can’t be of my book is in very good I wonder if I should ask someone to buy it or read it, I know my book is good, I know my book will help all of your viewers become better speakers and I’m happy to give than this value at no cost but they have to write to me first.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Number of speakers is just increasing on a daily basis, what are the techniques or strategies that you suggest to get paid speaking engagements?
TJ Walker: The speaking environment for professional speaking is constantly changing, there was a time one of my mentors was a guy named Bill Gove, one of the founders of the national speaking Association more than 40 years ago and he started speaking 50 years ago and that was a time when he got a speech and that’s all he did, he just went around the country to conventions and gave a speech even though he didn’t have a book or anything else, these days there’s no such thing as a professional speaker like that. If you want to get paid as a speaker you have to have genuine expertise and a tribe of people who really care about and respect you so you can’t simply hire a production crew, hire someone to write a speech and sort of acted out and send the video to a speaker of yours and get hired, it’s just not done that way. What I would recommend is speak every day on your area of expertise, I speak every day for money on my area of expertise, I’m not making a lot of money but I do speak every day on YouTube and I have at least 2000 people every day watch me speak on some aspect of media training, public speaking, crisis communications and I do get some money from advertising revenue but those videos also serve as ads for me as a speaker and in the description of every video, it tells you how to get a hold of me and how you can get me as a keynote speaker or a trainer, I think the big decision for people is not how do I get to be a professional speaker, it’s how do I be a true true expert known throughout the world for my area of expertise, once you are an expert you can make money off of that by writing books, by having ad revenue from your YouTube channel, by consulting if you are a lawyer, by billable hours with your legal practice, by training which is where I get most of my income as a trainer, not a keynote speaker although I do get paid as a keynote speaker and it also, getting money as a speaker so the first thing is really make sure you have true, true expertise in something, you need to be writing about it every day, not necessarily books but blog posts, videos, you can be creating online courses, I think if you are not already a wildly successful keynote speaker one great place to start is on any of the numerous online training platforms including places like Udemy.com where you can start giving your speeches in the form of many lectures and create a whole course around it and start attracting students that way, I have more than 15,000, more than 20,000 students at this point on just one training platform @Udemy.com so focus on the expertise, speak everywhere you can, let people know you speak and improve your speaking skills by rehearsing every speech on video and watching every speech you do on video. Do you recommend any tools to read text while looking at the camera?
TJ Walker: Yes don’t do it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do they do a professionally and like TV channels, I think they read from something?
TJ Walker: Yes they read from a Teleprompter, if you are a full-time newscaster employed by Al Jazeera or the BBC then sure you need to learn how to use a Teleprompter. If you are the president of a major country in the news a lot you need to use a Teleprompter but for 99.99% of the rest of the world, a Teleprompter is the worst thing you could ever do because here’s how most people come across when the arena Teleprompter. Hi Ahmed it is great to be here with you today it is a pleasure to speak to your audience on this fine fall… Do you hear how awful that sounds? Did you see how awful I looked? Here’s the problem with teleprompters: people start reading at the same speed, the same volume, the same tone, they freeze their head, they freeze their eyes, their eyebrows and they look like robots. Now I certainly have trained some of my clients, prime ministers of major countries or presidents, I certainly have trained people in how to use a Teleprompter and have teleprompters, I’ve used teleprompters, I do not recommend people use them. It’s so much harder than just speaking from, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally glancing down at a note and continuing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You get featured in the media a lot, how do you do that, how to be featured in the media?
TJ Walker: Create content every single day so that people find you. I’ve been on the daily show with Jon Stewart, I’ve been on BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, I’ve been on almost every major English-speaking network, numerous times because journalists are lazy, they don’t know who to call so they go to Google and they type in media training and 15 million websites, and I’m often number one or always in the top five or they go to YouTube and they type in media training and I’m number one and that’s how they find me. They send a quick email, they call, sometimes if I see an issue that really really is in my niche and I know I want to comment on it I won’t wait for the reporter to call, I will do a quick video analysis of the issue and send to producers or my PR team will send it to producers or reporters knowing they are going to be covering this issue, they need someone and here’s an expert, that’s another great use of Internet video in fact I have an entire course on Udemy on DIY, do-it-yourself PR through YouTube videos so let’s say you are an attorney who specializes in employment practices and employment hiring and the supreme court of your country at 10 AM announces a major decision that affects employment hiring. If you are smart you should be doing a video just 90, 60 to 90 seconds on YouTube or whatever online video services most used in your country, getting your analysis of that decision with a sharp opinion and then email that to every journalist you know.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Tell us about this process of your PR team emailing or contacting the producers, how does this process work and whom should I contact, how should I do that, who are the responsible people in the media to get you through and like tell us more about this process.
TJ Walker: Well I have a public relations team that does that for me so that’s all they do and they do it for other clients so they are constantly maintaining databases, reporters and editors, they are talking to them every day, they are taking them to dinner and creating relationships with them so that it’s a warm relationship and it’s not something I have the time to do but I do have the time to do interviews so at some point people may decide it makes sense to hire a public relations team but you can also do-it-yourself. And let’s say it’s just a local TV station newscast, you watch them all the time, they have guests, they have experts, now there’s something in the news that relates to your area of expertise, shoot a video on it, just call the newsroom and say who is covering the story on X, I have something that will help them put the story together I just need an email and email to them. It can be as simple as that sometimes.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Can you recommend some companies, PR companies that can be used by the audience to send information to the media?
TJ Walker: I worked with hundreds of PR firms all over the world, there are thousands if not tens of thousands of PR firms it really depends on what their goals are, what media they are trying to reach, there’s no such thing as the perfect PR team for everyone but if any of your viewers have questions about PR, believe it or not I actually have a course it’s not on yet but within the next month it will be on Udemy on how to select a public relations firm so if you write to me, TJ@TJWalker.com I can then send you information and a free pass to that course once it’s out.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is a press release?
TJ Walker: Well a press release, there are really 2 types of press releases, one is something that you are sending, trying to generate interest from the news media, you are trying to wet their appetite so they call you with an interview. These days with search engine optimization, Google, your own website, a lot of times people just want that is to get out there so that there is a digital footprint and people can find it so that’s why they do a press release announcing something new that has happened in their organization that they want to promote, putting in all the keywords of people know exactly what it’s about. So the main thing is to say something interesting, if you are generally trying to get mainstream TV reporters, radio reporters to cover you, you need to have some great quotes, some great soundbites in that press release to generate their attention. A soundbite is different from a message, a message is just your idea, a soundbite is how that idea is packaged. If you want to know how to create a soundbite, all soundbites come from 10 different speech patterns, things like emotion, clichés, attacks and if you want to know all 10, I have a book called media training A-Z and if you write to me in the next two weeks of this video being posted I will send you that book free of charge and that book is media training A-Z.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you for that. So what are the main things to mention in a press release?
TJ Walker: You have to summarize what the topic is, why should anyone care, you got to get a reporters attention, that is first and foremost and then you have to get your opinion, what are the facts about the issue, your name, a contact and how people can get a hold of you, that’s really what is most important so again for example if you are an attorney and the Supreme Court in your country has just overturned the major employment law that has been in place for years and it’s going to change how people hire and fire than the headline for that press release it be a quick summary, Supreme Court, American, Emirates Supreme Court has overturned a decision on, name the name of the log, here’s what it means to businesses. That’s the headline something that really sums it up, and then a very brief byline on you, TJ Walker, corporate labor law attorney for such and such firm and that’s the following. This is an outrageous decision by the Supreme Court, it’s going to completely create chaos for major employers, they are not going to know who to hire or fire and I think it’s going to create an economic slowdown.”
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Then you put your contact details?
TJ Walker: Then I put my contact details and then not my bio with every single class I ever took and where I went to junior high school but my video via so if I was on Al Jazeera the week before and the BBC, a month ago I’m going to say TJ Walker has been seen in the following media outlets so those producers can see this person has been in other media because there is a pack mentality in the media, they all say they want some new fresh face but they want a proven commodity so if you’ve already been in other media it suggests you are credible for their outlet. So I list my media background, that is what I find is the most effective way of putting out a press release and the big problem most people want to write a whole op-ed piece 850 words and read it and reread it now it’s two days later and they want to put it out, too late. You’re much better off getting out 50 words within an hour of a breaking story versus 850 words six hours or a day later.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And what is the most efficient way to distribute it?
TJ Walker: The most efficient way is to have a mass social media following, to have a whole lot of people who like you, care about you, respect you, read your ideas and have a whole lot of people on Facebook a respected like you and to have millions of people on YouTube who watch your stuff. That’s far more effective than just putting something on business wire or PR newswire, those are 2 services in the US to have worldwide distribution, your country and the country of your viewers may have some that are okay also that far and away the most effective way is your own network of people who already know you, already trust you, already assume you have a level of expertise within that niche.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You struggle a little bit online selling your services and mainly you succeeded to do it like off-line, tell us more about that and what was like the tipping point for you online?
TJ Walker: I started doing training off-line in 1984 when I was still in college so 99% of my revenue still is off-line traditional training is where people come to me and my TV studio or I go to them, I bring my video camera and it’s in person. In the late 1990s I started an online training course and I had mostly audio files, it went nowhere. About seven years ago I said okay it’s been a while since 1999 so the time must be right so I invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in programmers from India and other staff building interactive online media training and presentation training courses and I sold maybe five copies. It was not a success at all other than one course I did sell to the second-largest online training company for kids in America where that was successful but for the most part my schools that I created to market to the public, it was just too early, you can’t force things like this and then about a year ago I noticed that the whole online training space was really heating up, there are now dozens of companies all over the world that have received venture capital in excess of $10 million so there is a tremendous amount of promotion going on into online training. So that’s why I’m once again spending lots of time, I’m making some money but it’s really about long-term because long-term it’s a way to reach the world and to be scalable and to reach a much larger audience so that’s why currently I have more than 50 online courses that are finished and I have within the next couple of months 100, more than 100 courses on dealing with public speaking and media training and then I can fulfill my mission of having the largest library of online media presentation training courses in the world.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Which platform work for you the best like Udemy?
TJ Walker: Udemy is where I spend most of my time, they just make it easy, they’ve been very good to work with, quite professional, it’s an easy experience for the creator of course and for users too, it’s great to send people there and they bring in students, as I mentioned they brought me more than 15, close to 20,000 students now.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how they market for that, like you don’t just automatically publish it on their platform and based on their traffic they find you or do they just do something else to promote you? To promote your course?
TJ Walker: You have to promote yourself but you are also in their system and they have millions of people coming in all the time so if some people type in a keyword for media training they might never have heard of me that they are going to see a lot of my media training courses. If someone goes to their website and types in media training so some of it is keyword-based. So any of your audience if you are thinking of being an online trainer I would recommend rather than trying to create everything from scratch on your own site for starters, do a simpler easier way, start on a place like Udemy or you can sort of test the water, see if you like it, see if it’s worth your time, you can always upgrade and have everything on your own site. If any of your viewers would like access I’ll give you free access to any one of my courses on Udemy so they would like to write to me, all they have to do is say I would like one free pass to one of your Udemy courses and I’ll send them to them at no charge, TJ@TJWalker.com.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much.
TJ Walker: Ahmed I really enjoyed our time together and I really appreciate your time and expertise.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s my pleasure. How much do you charge for one-on-one training sessions?
TJ Walker: The one-on-one training is $7500 per day, the online training, some of them are as little as $39 so that’s yet another reason to do the online training is it’s a way to reach a much broader part of the market but speaking of the people who pay the $7500 I have to talk to one right now so I’m going to have to sign off but thank you again.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much for your time today I really appreciate it.
TJ Walker: I’ve enjoyed it very much thanks a lot.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thanks everyone, be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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