By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Coaching individuals to become better speakers has become a niche business.
Speakers promoting their brands whether personal or corporate in nature have to come up with better presentations and packaging to put their message across clearly and cement their position as authority in their own fields of expertise.
Mitch Carson, an American motivational speaker, is now making a big business in coaching speakers to deliver more impactful speeches.
According to Mitch, developing the proper speaking skills help create a unique branding. Speakers become more effective and the perception of the brand improves as they attract more audience and media mileage.
Speaking in large audiences or via various online platform has more impact, touch many lives than the one on one engagement.
Motivational speaking is just one segment that Mitch is trying to help improve, but there are certain sectors with different demands like the more technical IT sector.
“I have trained some of the elite speakers,” says Mitch.
Clients are both new and professionals are trying to improve their effectiveness as speakers.
“Some executives have the passion to sell their brands but if you want to monetize that passion, I can help identify the baskets to turn that into money,” says Mitch.
Mitch is an experienced speaker and seminar promoter, who has been on the platform in many countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand.
His method of training is unique in that it has turned previously unprofitable companies into cash-positive operations. Under his mentorship, professionals who had been struggling to make it in a public arena have leveraged their renewed and stronger confidence into creating opportunities that lead to lasting success.
A few examples of his success stories with his clients are as follows: recovery from a $2 million annual loss and turning it into an $8 million profit; increase in profits by 39 percent in a down economy with commodity products; sales growth by 47 percent and profits by 61 percent without increasing overhead; and personal and financial goals reached in less than two years.
Mitch has been featured in reputable publications overseas. He is a published writer himself, as a columnist for The Glazer-Kennedy and author of the book “The Silent Salesmen”. He also hosted a radio show in Los Angeles for more than a year.
Mitch, who moved his residence and business of operations from the US to Thailand in 2011, describes the reason for his relocation, “I definitely view Asia as the biggest growth region in the world. Adjusting to cultural differences has been rather challenging. There could be an entire business curriculum to teach companies and individuals how to deal with each country and region. It has been my greatest challenge, as it will be to any individual or business owner who wants to penetrate and make his mark in this side of the world.”
The acceleration of globalization, which has lowered previously strong barriers to entry into foreign markets, has also opened opportunities for brands to make their presence felt on other shores.
With authenticity now becoming a buzzword and a requirement for companies that do want to make an impact, especially among the millennials, the owner or marketer of a brand can no longer hide comfortably behind his advertisements and marketing campaigns, but must take the lead in representing them.
This is where mastery in speaking for the product or brand comes in. “Speaking overseas grows a person’s brand and his celebrity status. To be effective internationally, a speaker must know how to be effective on camera, using a microphone, and in presenting before a live audience. He must also be adept in presenting and selling through webinars. Mastering social media and launching concise messages through it is also something he must be skilled at personally,” says Mitch.
The trend of speakers in demand at present are those engaged in artificial intelligence, big data, and automation.
These are experts in their own fields with big social media following,” says Mitch. “We give them roadmap punch list to claim a position as authority,” he adds. This is marketing the individual as an authority in a particular topic aside from marketing the corporate brand.
Mitch noted there are experts with no marketing or good communication skills.
“So, I gave them the fast track with the asteroid shot by identifying their passion and testing whether their passion is marketable,” says Mitch.
“There is definitely a demand for speakers on AI because the leadership is quite a saturated category already, but big data are trending topics,” he adds. There are also emerging trends for topics on fuel efficiency, emission and transportation.
A mother with good parenting skills can share her skills because anybody would admire the ability of raising great kids. But she needs more training as a speaker on an international stage.
Speakers can also be marketed not necessarily in a live physical audience, but also online with different platforms.
Some undergo a three-day speaking mastery module to improve their speaking expertise.
“They would be trained on how to become media magnet because some of them do not know how to express themselves clearly,” he adds.
At one time, he was able to gather 270 speakers for five events in Dubai, Cairo, Oman, and Beverly hills.
Speak in Manila
“The speaking industry is huge, but not yet big in the Philippines, but there is a good potential here so we have to leverage that,” he adds.
Mitch has brought his “SPEAK” series in Manila with a good number of select participants from various countries and two from the Philippines.
The recently concluded four-day “Speak in Manila” was aimed at preparing professionals and business owners on how to present themselves in the international arena.
The “Speak in Manila” highlighted how those who want to become thought leaders and influencers can position themselves powerfully in the digital age by leveraging on its many platforms.
Speakers from other countries who are experts in various fields of discipline were also brought in to share their knowledge. Mitch described what his colleagues have to offer the Manila audience.
“The speakers come from the US, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and Germany. Manila audiences learned the ins and outs of doing business with foreign companies and cultures. We are different and similar in many ways. Cultural differences need to be managed and the visiting speakers can assist Filipinos interested in expanding their businesses overseas,” he adds.
Topics discussed during his training include creating and promoting one’s unique selling proposition; crafting the messages that can sustain that awareness among the target publics; and enhancing one’s presence and communication skills using current digital tools.
He plans to hold another event in Cebu in April before coming back in Manila in July this year. He also plans to hold similar event in Beverly Hills in September and in Kuala Lumpur in late November. Mitch also aims to strengthen its presence in Japan.
It pays to be a speaker. In Dubai, a great branding speaker can command $12,000, but the market in the Philippines is not lucrative yet.
“A keynote speech can earn $15,000 but it could be a lot less in Manila,” he said.
President Bill Clinton can command half a million dollars in one speaking engagement. Tony Robbins commands higher price for his coaching expertise and a top-level speaker can also get between $200,000 to $50,000.
Mitch, who has trained several motivational speakers, public speakers on leadership, and sales trainers, said that Filipino speakers have greater potential because of their proficiency in the English language.
“The potential in the Philippines is high as most speakers are proficient in English,” he adds. He also cited some specialized organizations in the country coaching future speakers like the Toastmasters.
“Filipinos are incredibly likeable because of their culture, they can speak English, great singers and great voices because having a good voice can engage an audience,” says Mitch citing the very good church choirs and love for karaoke in the country in contrast to the more insular countries in the region.
“There are very good Filipino motivational speakers, but not much international exposure,” he adds.
Mitch has realized his skill in speaking after he underwent a year of downward spiral into drinking and drug consumption at the age of 22 when his parents died. After his experience with AA, he started to speak about his bout with depression and addiction.
“That launched my speaking career when I shared my experience and I realized that my reception in the market was pretty good so I tried to make a living out of it,” he says.
For the past 35 years, Mitch said, he has been clean and sober from that one-year struggle.
He admitted though that during his early years as a speaker, “Much of the time I don’t get paid but I continue to do it because this is my passion.”
“But since I have to eat also, so I make money in the other side,” he adds.
As the fees are not enough, he established an outsourcing team in Davao and stayed there for six months before proceeding to Bangkok. He still maintained an IT-based business in Davao that he run remotely.
A good speaker
According to Mitch, there are different types of speakers on stage. In fact, the emcee can also be considered as speaker. The keynote speaker, who can speak for 15 minutes is another kind. Another kind of speaker is one who can inspire others. The last kind is one who can tell a great story, one who can connect with the people because he has mastered the art of story-telling.
“Story-telling is what separates from one speaker who is forgettable,” he says citing a pastor who often references passages and keeps the attention of the audience, and persuades you to listen.
What makes a good speaker?
A good speaker is one who can paint mental pictures,” he says. A good speaker should captivate through the use of metaphors, has a good vocal variety, and able to speak from the diaphragm with a projective voice.
But there are really born speakers.
“Some are natural speakers, but most are skills that can be learned that is why even the most shy ones can overcome that and become so natural speakers,” says Mitch.
One trick that works all the time is for the speaker to play with props. Mitch cited the rubber chicken as a very effective tool because it is funny once pressed and puts the speaker and the audience at ease.
“The use of props removes the fear because it would defocus the attention on the speaker himself,” says Mitch.
He looks up to Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy and Dan Kennedy for their excellent speaking skills and marketing strategies. He also admires great political speakers such as President Barack Obama, the Clintons and the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for being intelligent speakers.
Locally, he considers the speaking methodology of Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump excellent.
“I look at the no-nonsense style in President Duterte. He is an excellent speaker, he can connect with a large group of people with his heart, but has the ability to shock with his statements. He is very much like President Donald Trump. They both say shocking things, they have the guts,” says Mitch.
Mitch has been living in Bangkok for 7 years already although he used to stay in Davao for a few months to oversee a BPO business he put up in Mindanao.
Mitch always loves coming back believing there is good business here aside from his genuine love for this country.
“I pretty much like the Philippines especially the great halo-halo but the number one reason really is the people,” adds Mitch.
As a manager, Mitch has deep patience towards his people.
“I am authoritarian only when pushed, but most of the time I am a Labrador,” says Mitch, who loves going to movies, reading books and lots of walking.