Not many of us are born to be presenters. On top of having stage-fright, achieving the perfect presentation to achieve your business goals is far out of reach. Recognizing the importance of this skill in business, no matter what industry you are in, John Alexander Ball started his company called Present Influence to help business owners who want or need to represent their business and brand and don’t want to suck at it. Elizabeth Bachman interviews John to impart some of his great wisdom to help you make the presentation that gets you your results and become more influential. They also talk about the challenges faced in starting a business in a recession and the ethical framework of using presentation skills. What can you do about a dull presentation? What can you do about backend products? John answers these questions and more in this episode.
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Presenting For Influence With John Alexander Ball
This is the show where we talk about the various techniques you can use to move a reader to take action. I get to interview experts around the globe to talk about the various tools that can help us use our presentation skills to make a difference in the world and succeed in whatever we wanted to be. My guest is John Ball. He is a speaker trainer. His company is called Present Influence. He’s also someone who has an international life like I do. We’re going to talk about how starting a business in a recession was a challenge and the ethical framework of using presentation skills. What you can do about a dull presentation? What you can do about backend products?
John teaches full-time presentation skills for business owners who want to present themselves, represent their brand, and stand out as charismatic leaders. He’s trained in many different styles of coaching and hypnosis. He realized he wanted to be a trainer and speaker. All the people who inspired him on his path were women. For several years, he’s been working with T. Harv Eker and his son, Jesse Eker, coaching one-on-one and groups, and teaching online from financial freedom to making money from online training.
In his own business, Present Influence, he works with business owners who want or need to represent their business and brand and don’t want to suck at it. He also works with speakers who want to learn how to be more influential and how to create backend products and services to make passive income through teaching. He’s also the Vice President of Education for his local Toastmasters chapter and President for the Valencia in the Global Business Owners Network. He soon to be releasing Success Books Review Channel on YouTube. Here comes John Ball.
John Ball, welcome to the show.
It’s great to be here.
We’re glad to have you here. It’s fun to be talking to somebody who is a fellow speaker trainer and who’s also someone who lives an international life. It’s a good thing. I’m very happy to be part of this. I wanted to ask you a question I ask all my guests. Who would be your dream interview? If you could interview somebody who is no longer with us, someone from history, who would it be? What would you ask them? Who ought to be in the audience?
There’s quite a long list for this. My ultimate preference if I had to choose the greatest person of all time who I’d like to hang out with would be Leonardo Da Vinci. He is my top choice. The Renaissance Man, probably one of the greatest minds that ever lived. I would want to get many insights in many different ways. I would be feeling very inadequate while I was there as well. It would be a great conversation to have. The people who’ve been reading or anyone would want to get inside the mind of a genius at least to some level and get some insights into his methods, processes of thinking and inspiration.
If I were there, I would have studied a whole lot to come up with a list of the right kinds of questions and see what he was like.It’s better to make a solid purchase and pay a bit more than to make a cheaper purchase and regret it later. Click To Tweet
I’m no expert on Leonardo Da Vinci. I know a little. I would be boning up on Leonardo Da Vinci’s information for that interview.
I often think that when I asked this question, some of these people would have been surprised to see that their name had survived. Others would have said, “Of course, I’m immortal.” Which one do you think Da Vinci would be?
I don’t know that he’d be too surprised, but he might be a little surprised that he is still regarded as one of the greatest minds who ever lived. He might have hoped that they would be much greater minds. There have been lots of amazing and intelligent genius people in many different fields, but in terms of the amount of areas in which he was successful and masterful, very few have come close to that level of genius.
I’ve worked with 1 or 2 in my life. I looked at them and said, “This one is a genius. I better pay attention.” Indeed, there are still geniuses around. Fortunately for us, thank you. I’m humbly sitting at the feet of many. John, you said an interesting thing when you talked about your former career in aviation that you left. You got excited about coaching. You decided in 2009, “I’m going to be a coach” and you failed spectacularly. You tried it again and succeeded. I need to know this story. What were the mistakes you made and what advice could you give to other people?
The mistakes for many, one of them was starting a business as the recession hit in the UK, which is a bad time to start. I started off doing business coaching and I couldn’t get any traction at all. I got a couple of clients and it wasn’t getting off the ground. Other things were mistakes that looking back could have been corrected and seen had I taken a bit of an external view on the things I was doing. I was caught up in them. Some of the people who I chose to align myself with may not have been the best people for me. I ended up feeling like I was doing all the work and I didn’t know how to get the results. A lot of it was a lack of knowledge and experience in having my own business, having always worked for other people, worked in companies and corporate environments.
Do you teach about this now? I’m asking because I was on a conference call. It was a bunch of people who were mostly corporate employees. They said, “Elizabeth, you’ve been on your own for a while. What are you going to say to somebody in the middle of a recession who’s lost their job or knows they’re going to be losing their job and is thinking about going out on their own?” I’d be curious to hear what your answer to that is.
I don’t think it’s a bad time. The right time is always now. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’d better find out pretty darn quick what you need to do and how you need to be doing it. That’s one of the things that I maybe fell down. It’s not asking for help from people who could have helped me, not letting people know that I was struggling when I didn’t know what to do, thinking that I was supposed to know what I doing. Other people seem a lot more competent than I was. Even looking back to that time, there were opportunities. People were still making money. I just didn’t know what they were or how to get them. I was hoping that luck would fill in the gaps. Being there, build it and the “they will come” mentality. I thought just being there would be enough and it wasn’t.
First of all, I thought I was the only one who had thought I had to know everything when I started. I had to learn the hard way to ask for help. It’s interesting because there are many coaches out there. We’re in the middle of a global shutdown and facing a global recession. There are a lot of people out there saying, “Follow me. Give me your last $2,000, $5,000, $10,000. I will make you a huge success. You’ll be as famous as Tony Robbins.” How do you sort out who’s telling the truth or who’s the right person for you?
There are quite a few things there. I’ve been in the personal and professional development industry. I’m several years full-time. For many years, I’ve been around the industry and working part-time. I’ve known a lot of people and I’ve met a lot of shady characters. I’ve met a lot of amazing people as well. I’ve certainly made mistakes. I have invested some of my education money with people who I would have been better off finding someone who knew what they were talking about. They sounded like they knew what they were doing. They talked a good game. I fell for sales techniques that people have been using for a long time that get you all emotional and excited for the sale, but you end up making a not so clever decision. You think, “I’ll try and make the most of it. Maybe it will work out all right.” Looking back, I’ve made some mistakes, but I have also invested a lot of education money with people who are fantastic and have led the way for me. I’ve learned amazing things from them as well. I learned amazing things from the other people too, but not things I wanted to learn.
We do have to stumble a few times. You and I trained presenters. There are the ones who can back it up and the ones who can’t. Do you have a couple of key pieces of advice for people who are trying to decide?
I do. It’s advice that I give to my clients in terms of when I encourage my own coaching clients to invest in their education, not just with me but with anybody. You should do a bit of diligence and homework on the person that you’re looking to learn from. You need to at least know and see that they can deliver on the goods. If they’re telling you that they can present, you should be able to see that. If they know the tools of presentation, you should be able to see that. They should be doing the thing that they’re talking about doing as well.
You’d have to look besides their own material. You’re not going to read their ads. Get some outside evaluations too.
LinkedIn is a great place for that. Referrals and things on LinkedIn have to come from people in the site. You can’t just enter your own referrals or recommendations from other people on LinkedIn. Although you could pay someone to do it, which would be horrible. For the most part, a lot of it is genuine and most people are genuine. It’s not a bad idea to look at someone’s profile. Don’t make the decision right then and there at a live event or a live webinar, wherever it is you’re at. Take the time to go and think about it. If they won’t let you and say, “You won’t get this price or whatever.” That’s okay. That’s the scarcity model that people put in to try and press you into making the purchase right then and there. It’s better to make a solid purchase and pay a bit more than to make a cheaper purchase and regret it later.
That’s very interesting advice. As presenters who are trying to move someone to take action, we’re using sales techniques too. Buying decisions are emotional. We know that. It is part of the deal. You talk about influence, persuasion and why you care about teaching them. We seemed to have strayed into also the ethical realm. Why use tools of influence and persuasion at all if they have been misused so much?
We all use them. You can’t have a proper conversation about these tools without touching on the ethics of them as well. The reality is the tools themselves have no ethics like a hammer has no right or wrong within it. It’s a tool. The tools of influence and persuasion also have no inherited morality within them or any of the intentions of the person using them. I like to teach it within an ethical framework. However, I can’t any more guarantee that the people learning are going to use that ethical framework and apply it in their own lives. What I will say is when I first learned about this and uncovered this world of hidden influence, it was like a veil being lifted off my eyes. I saw all these ways that I had been influenced in the past without realizing it. Whether you know about them or not, they exist.
We use some of them anyway without maybe even realizing that we’re using them. When you know what they are, you can use them ethically or otherwise. You can also be aware of when other people are using them and make a clearer decision. You’ll know when somebody is trying to use some persuasion techniques on you if you’ve learned them already. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important for people to know these things. Every day we are being influenced and persuaded, not always in ways that are for our own good and greater benefit. That is making you asked about what questions you should be asking yourself when someone’s trying to sell you a course. It shouldn’t be a difficult decision and something you only make based on the emotion of it. It should be a bit of a no-brainer. You know you want to work with this person. You want what they’re offering and maybe they’re even giving you the assurances then and there. It’s like, “This is a safe decision to make. I feel comfortable and confident going forward with this.”Every day, we are being influenced and persuaded, not always in ways that are for our own good and greater benefit. Click To Tweet
If you go to one of these one day or weekend sales events, which would be online at the moment at least, you’re going to have someone on the stage who’s talking a great game. They will tell you all these amazing things. They’re not afraid to sound like they know every successful person in their industry, and that they are standing shoulder to shoulder with them, when in fact that may not be the case at all. They’ve learned these amazing sales techniques and they’ve been practicing them. They’ve convinced people that they should come and buy with them. That’s why people need to understand how these things work so that you can protect yourself against the scam artists. It’s not going to be everyone who gets to have that level of protection, but it would be wonderful for more and more people to understand how that works and to be able to stop themselves from being negatively persuaded.
It’s also interesting and useful to learn about different styles and different people who respond to different things. I do truly believe that there’s room for everybody. If you’ve got something to say, then it is your right and your privilege to say it. If you’ve got something important to say or teach, it’s your responsibility to offer it. Who you are and your energy is the thing that’s going to make people react. I often think about my other half has a response to very different energy. I got dragged to conference after conference going, “They’re not for me,” until I fell into some people who were speaking my emotional language and I went, “This is the one that’s going to work for me. These are the people I’m going to work with. I don’t like those other people. I don’t fall for that style. I fall for this style.” Once I learned that I realized, “I can use that.”
I have a friend who’s been on your show. A friend of ours who is very out there. She wants new and she wants disruptors. She works with people who are fast and out there. I’m a little bit more deliberate. We joke that I will send her the people who are bored by my pace. She’ll send me the people who are scared of her. We do send people back and forth and say, “You’d be better off with this other person.” When you teach influence and persuasion, it’s a huge topic. Where do you start? What’s the first technique or tool that you teach?
One of the first things that I will teach clients, especially as what I’m doing is in relation to presentation, is that a lot of the influence and persuasion comes from how you show up. We’re talking about energy. Your energy is important. If you’re robotic or unemotional, nothing is going to be transmitted. People are looking for connection. It is one of the things that I hope will never be replaced by computers although I can’t say for sure. It’s that connection and empathy, that real human to human thing that we do like and appreciate. If that’s not coming across, people are going to switch off very quickly. Your own energetic state, and I don’t mean that in any woo-woo way. I mean that in terms of the emotional level that you’re in. If you want your audience to be engaged, you have to have that feeling of engagement yourself, and you have to be inspiring that.
You have to work up your own energy level. You’re not going to have any influence or sway with people if they’re shutting down before you’ve even got going. You have to have some energy in your voice. You have to have a bit of emotional energy that’s coming across and being conveyed. Especially when you’re on camera, it has to be a little bit higher than in person. On the stage, it can be a bit different. You still want great energy on the stage, but you have to do things a little bit differently on camera. If you’re running group coaching or webinars, or you’re doing an online presentation, you need to have your energy about how you would normally be for yourself. Otherwise, you might come across as a little bit boring.
Talking about boring, is there a cure for a dull presentation?
Any presentation can be improved. You have to look at what are the factors that make a presentation dull. One is delivery, which we were talking about a little bit. You would also bring in that thing you’ll always hear in Toastmasters about vocal variety. If someone’s talking pretty much at the same level, that’s going to get boring quickly as well. If they’re too quiet and you can’t hear them, or they’re too loud and it’s making your head explode, these are all things that are going to shut you down from a presentation. You do need to consider the audience and consider how you want to be perceived and get some checks as to how you are being perceived.
The content is important as well. One person I know is a great presenter. She delivers amazing presentations, but they don’t make any sense. You get to the end and you’re like, “What was that even about?” You have no idea. In terms of the actual skills of delivery, staging and eye contact, all the things that we train people to be good at, she’s fantastic, but the content level, the message and what people take away afterwards is completely missing. She’s the only person I’ve ever seen as a speaker. She’s an amazing speaker, but I would never want her to speak at an event. It never makes sense. Everyone comes away more confused.
The other side of that is where the nerves are getting in the better of them, and act like people have been talking to them, and all of these kinds of things that make a presentation boring. One of the biggest ones for me is trying to put too much information into such a short space of time. It is one of the best things for me from my experience with the Toastmasters organization. Most of the presentations you’ll do in a club like that are 5 to 7 minutes. You have to edit down what you want to say to pretty much the essentials.
It’s a very good discipline. You’re an Englishman living in Spain. I’m an American. I’m in America, but I live part-time in Austria. We both are dealing with multiple languages. You’re in a couple of international business groups and you’re in a Toastmasters group in Valencia. How do you deal with speaking in a different language, not your native language or speaking your native language to people for whom it’s their second language?
For me and my club, I attend the club that is in English. Although they do have meetings in Spanish, they’re not at a time that I can go to them, unfortunately. I only get to go to the English club meetings for that. My business networking stuff here is pretty much all in English too. That’s not good in terms of presenting in a different language.
Is everybody there a native English speaker?
No. The majority of members are either Spanish or from other parts of Europe or the world. Being an English person as well as a native English person, I stand alone most of the time. We did get from time to time some Americans and Canadians as well, but the majority are native Spanish speakers. You do have to make some corrections. There are things that don’t translate well and things that you have to be careful of. I was talking about this on our show with a guy called Jason Mead, who you might have heard of. We were talking about how you need to change things a little bit when you speak internationally. You need to understand that some of your idiomatic languages may not translate.
A lot of humor doesn’t translate. English or British humor is quite specific, especially for my generation. There are things that I grew up with that a lot of people outside of the UK wouldn’t get. Lots of Americans think it’s all like Benny Hill or Are You Being Served? That’s there but there are a lot of other stuff as well. It is a unique sense of humor in some ways like the level of sarcastic irony. Brits often have very sardonic humor and I love that, but it doesn’t always work well in other environments. It can often come across brash or rude. A lot of English humor is also smarty and double entendre stuff. It doesn’t work well especially in public presentations. Even if you’re doing standup comedy, that doesn’t translate well to an audience who are Native English. You do have to make adaptations. Some people might see that as almost an obstacle to being yourself, but you have to find new ways of expressing yourself. I see it as a challenge and as an opportunity to discover some new ways of getting my message across that are more international. That helps me be a better communicator.
I would send a text to a friend in German that a project had landed in my lap. I thought about it an hour later and said, “Do they say that?” She knew what I meant, but I said, “I can’t be part of this call. This project has landed in my lap. I have to spend the time working.” She said, “There’s a different way we would say it.” It was an unconscious idiom that I was using. I know that when I’m speaking to an international audience, even in America where people come here from all over the world. Our modern business world is very international. I do use simpler words often. I will choose a phrase that I know will make sense. I make an effort to slow down. I was curious about how that works for you.
In my Toastmasters club, I’d get that feedback more often than anything else like, “Can you please slow down a bit?” I do have a tendency to talk fast, but even when I feel like I am slowing it down, for some people whose English isn’t quite so good as others, it would be beneficial to go slower. I’m not going to go super slow, but I need to slow it down for them. You do have to consider that. One thing I heard from a storyteller, Matthew Dicks, assume that someone in the room is always hard of hearing, wherever you are. That’s why I always use a microphone but assume that as well. Speak with clarity of your speech as well. Be clear enough that anyone should be able to understand you.Even in difficult times, there are plenty of opportunities for the people who are willing to find them and work for them. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite exercises is about telling our names. You’re lucky you have consonants in the beginning and end of your name, John Ball. Let’s say you were Sophia Ahmed. It’s easy to mispronounced it and people don’t know what your name is. That’s one of the exercises I often teach is how to pronounce that thing. You do a lot of online work. How do you talk about the difference between presenting online and in person, especially since we’re all online these days?
It wasn’t a pivot for me to move my business online because I’ve been doing it for such a long time. I do remember when I first started running group coaching. I’ve been working with Harv Eker in the US for several years. I remember working with Harv and his partner, Michelle. They were listening to my calls and giving me feedback afterwards before we went live. It was always, “Turn the energy up. You have to be a bit higher than that. You have to be more engaging.” That’s what they want from their presenters when they’re on the stage. I was going for that because I spent a lot of time in their training rooms.
Even then you think it’s being too much but it’s not. Especially on a coaching call, you need to be pretty high energy. If people are going to get energized about what they’re doing as well, they need to be off the charts. You do need to be pretty up there when you’re looking to motivate people. It’s more so than from the stage to some degree unless you’re in Tony Robbins event or something like that, which is different altogether.
Tony Robbins has been doing this for a very long time. There’s a lot you can learn from watching Tony Robbins or Harv Eker. People are mostly working online, what are you finding people need? What are people asking you about our situation? We’re in the middle of a shutdown. Some places are opening up, but we’re a long way from having a vaccine for COVID-19. What are people asking you about now? What sorts of advice are you giving?
A lot of my clients are in the coaching industry and starting off as public speakers. I often have a few here quite advanced as public speakers as well. One of the things that they’re concerned about is their income levels because they’re not able to have live coaching clients. If they’re not online, they’re having to make those moves to being online. One of the things that I get asked about a lot is creating backend products and services.
Define backend for us especially for our international readers who haven’t heard the phrase before.
That is an important part to clarify. It’s not the front end. It’s not the first thing that people see. It’s not necessarily your direct interactions with people. This is the stuff that people can buy. If you had a book that would be backend. It’s the stuff that you can buy before or after. It’s not necessarily the lower end, but it’s not necessarily direct access either. This is the stuff that you would maybe have an online store for. These are additional services, things that you can offer as an extra on purchase or stands alone by themselves as well. They make you money. You do the work upfront. You might create your information product or your book, and then you can keep selling it. You don’t have to keep recording it, keep doing the work and trading your time for money. It’s having more passive income structures. They don’t start off passive for sure, but they become more passive once you’ve done the work.
You do have to do the work to create it the first time. You do have to do the work to keep marketing it because everybody and his brother is out there selling something online nowadays. It’s all moved to online. One has to keep it up.
These would be great things for people to have had before lockdowns and quarantines and everything. If you haven’t had them, now is a good a time as any people are still buying these things. They’re going to serve you even well beyond this as well. Having a backend to your business or additional products and services that don’t require you to exchange your time for money is going to be an earner for you ongoing. You’ll have to do some marketing yourself. There’s work to be done to set these things up. As much as I hate the word passive income, I only use it because people are familiar with it. Unless you hand your money over to somebody to take care of something for you, it’s not passive income. You have to put in some work. You have to do some level of investigation. You have to do something even if it’s the marketing to make a sale. Residual might be a better word, but passive income is the one that everyone lights up with.
Making $1,000 while you’re asleep. You have to build up to them. John Ball, this has been fun to talk to you about this. You and I could go on and on about the details of speaker training. Do you have one thought you could leave us with?
Maybe people are hearing this a lot. I do believe that even in difficult times, there are plenty of opportunities for the people who are willing to find them and work for them. Even though things might feel tough, the future seems uncertain. The people who are working as hard as they can now or keeping their focus on opportunity rather than problem are the people who are at least far more likely to come out better off in the long run.
Do you have anything you could leave us with or ways that we can find out more information about you?
I love people to come and connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find me, John Ball on LinkedIn. I post a lot of stuff there and getting more and more content up there now as well. It’s my favorite social media site to be in or professional media. I have a podcast, which I’d love people to come and check out. I have an episode with you as well as a number of other people.
John Ball, thank you for joining us on the show. I want to remind you before we leave that you can go and check out your presentation skills at my free assessment. That’s at www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where you are rocking your presentation skills or where you might need a little bit of support. I’ll see you on the next one.
- Present Influence
- John Ball – LinkedIn
- @PresentInfluen1 – Twitter
About John Alexander Ball
Speaking of Influence podcast – Interesting and entertaining discussions with guests and friends about topics directly or indirectly relating to presentations, public speaking skills and influence. Fast-growing audience with diverse guests, some you will have heard of and some new to you. Available on all major podcasting networks in addition to my YouTube channel.
PresentInfluence.com – My mission is to transform business and the world through better business presentations and save millions of people from boredom, confusion, overload and time wasted with dull, overly long, rambling, information-heavy and instantly forgettable talks, presentations, webinars and training. Audiences deserve better and so do you. Giving great presentations is THE No.1 Leadership Skill you must master, especially in current times. Don’t chance your presentations and risk getting ignored or forgotten. Work with me if you want to stand out as a charismatic presenter and leader in your industry
Global Business Owners – Valencia – Club President. GBO is a worldwide network of business friends who happen to own businesses, we share knowledge, discuss ideas and expand business opportunities worldwide for our members. If you think you don’t like networking, it’s because you haven’t been to a GBO meeting yet.
Success Books Review is the home of my YouTube-based blog reviewing the best of personal and professional development books.
Lead coach (group & private)@ T.Harv Eker’s ‘Life Makeover Coaching’: life and business coaching for clients around the world. Client experiences range from increased business success and massive sales, right through to better personal relationships and happier lives with more time for the things they care about.
T.Harv Eker’s ‘Freedom First Wealth Coaching’. First financial freedom, then wealth. As a course facilitator, coach and trainer, I help empower clients to a wealthy mindset, money management, setting & achieving financial goals and creating a solid, stable and successful financial future.
Secrets of the multimillionaire trainer. I am a coach and trainer for T.Harv Eker’s long-running and highly successful training for those who want to get rich by empowering others through live or online training