Dawn: I’m going to ask Bo some questions that could benefit all of you about our process, what we’ve done and how we work together as a team. Also, just different things as far as preparation when he does speeches or events. So when I get you a speech, what is the first thing you do to prepare for that?
Bo: Yeah. Dawn will be on the phone and go, “Look, you’re talking to Mass Mutual on Saturday,” or whatever it is, the first thing I want to know is how big that stage is and I want it designed how I want it, not how they want it. You’re working with a corporation and typically they don’t keep the speaker in mind so they put a postage stamp sized stage there and a podium. I ask for it to be removed but I often arrive to find it’s still there—that’s when we go to work. It’s got to be a big stage. It’s got to be no podium. I don’t need screens. I don’t need PowerPoint. I want to be able to move and I want to know how big that audience is so I’m preparing for that. I also want to know how the audience makes their money. How does that audience get paid for what they do? Because that’s where I can make the biggest impact.
Even though I talk about story or being the best, the biggest impact I have on people’s lives is in their business. I can build their business based on their humanity, not based on business models and business strategies. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to build it based on you so I want to know how they make their money, how they build their business and that’s what I speak into.
Dawn: Yeah and a lot of times we’ll have a call ahead of time with the company just to ask those questions about who’s in the room, how do they make their money, etc. We’ll come in, and this isn’t normal for most speakers, but the day before we go down and check out the room, ask if Bo can have some time on stage and find out when he can have some rehearsal time. Most speakers will fly in that day and speak. He’s never done that. That extra night’s sleep is really important. The preparation that day before is really important. The other thing Bo does that everyone says they never see speakers do is he sits in on meetings. So when we’re there the day before, he will sit in on the conference just to get a feel for the temperature in the room, what’s going on, what are the speakers like, what are they talking about. What’s the energy like? And even the morning of your speech, you’ll be in the room two hours prior to when you’re speaking.
Bo: I feel better. All I’m looking for as a speaker is freedom. I’m looking for permission to let this sucker out. And I don’t get it until I feel the environment of the room. I know how the stage is set. I know where the stairs are. I know what’s being talked about. I know who is running this company. Once I get the feel and the vibe inside the room, much like the vibe and the feeling inside here, then I go, “Okay. I know what to do. I know this is my room now and I start to mark my territory. I start warming up my voice. And all I’m saying to myself is, “Oh, shit. Wait until they get a load of me.”
Because every other speaker before me is doing what? They’re reading from a teleprompter, talking from behind a podium, going through 50,000 PowerPoints. And people are in the audience slouched back and on their phone. They’re polite. And I’m going, “How can you do that to an audience?” Why would you hire somebody who’s going to do that to the people that you’ve brought here to Miami or Hawaii? Why would you torture them like that? And they do it over and over and over again. And I say, “No.” Sometimes I tell people on the phone, “Look, this is what is predictable if you hire me.” And it’s going to be expensive. You can go cheaper but you’re going to kill your audience. I tell them what’s predictable after I get off that stage. I tell them this is exactly what’s going to happen to you Mr. Owner the minute I get off that stage. You’re going to get bombarded with your people and you know what they’re going to say? “That’s the best shit I’ve ever seen. Thank you for hiring him.” That’s what’s going to happen to you. That’s going to be on you. That’s what you can expect and that’s only predictable because that’s my past and that’s what I hear every single time and that’s how it goes. And then they’re like, “Oh, well, okay. That sounds pretty good to us.”
You’ve got to tell people what is predictable for their future if they’re with you, if they hire you. And you all know exactly what is predictable for people if they work with you, right? Because you have a history with people and you know the results they’ve gotten. So you have to let them know what is predictable if they hang out with you.
Dawn: I think another really great thing that we just got in the habit of doing, and if our schedule allows it, it’s really important, is I ask about a special dinner or a cocktail party because we’re willing to stick around. It’s nice that we can travel together because Bo hates parties so I have to drag him to the party. If I weren’t there, there’s no way he’d go. It’s nice that we can do it together because we can show up as a couple. I typically know everybody because I’m the one who talked to the client. So we socialize and have fun that way but they really, really appreciate that and they always tell us the same thing. They go, “No speaker has ever stuck around for the party. Thank you so much.” And this is when clients get to come up and ask Bo questions and then we can talk more about events like Personal Story Power. There are several of you here who saw Bo do his keynote and we probably met you and spent time with you. He has a contract with Mass Mutual and I couldn’t go to Dallas so I said, “I’m not going to be there but you need to go to the cocktail party.” I was insistent. “You’ve got to get your ass to this cocktail party.” So he’s calling me and saying, “Dawn, there’s like a 1,000 people here and there’s nobody around. Nobody’s said ‘hi’ to me.”
Bo: No one was taking care of me. I didn’t have any handlers. I didn’t have any water. I didn’t know what to wear.
Dawn: I asked him, “Did anyone walk you to the cocktail party?” Bo just shows up and he’s standing around at the cocktail party, doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He could have taken an earlier flight, but I just know those extra things and being more personal and connected and having another opportunity to share yourself is really important.