Rock and Roll Roadie turned entrepreneur Richard Mulholland is the founder of presentation powerhouse Missing Link, as well as the co-founder of 21Tanks, HumanWrit.es, and The Sales Department. He has written three books, Legacide, Boredom Slayer, and StorySeller, and is a global public speaker that in 2019 alone spoke in 26 countries on 6 continents.

 

Mostly though, he is a husband, dad, brother, son, and uncle.

 

And a bit of a punk.

In this episode, we talk about stage marketing, entrepreneurship, public speaking, and why the best time to start being a speaker is actually right now.

Entrepreneurship and presentations

Richard says he is a “preso pro” – short for a presentation professional, a term we like a lot. He also says entrepreneurs are not driven by things they love but by the things they hate. When he was bored to death in the back of the room while watching bad presentations, he found out that you do not fix a bad presentation with good lighting. You fix it by getting the content right.

He notes that presentation design is not an art; it is the creation of a functional design that needs to reflect and resonate with someone’s work and character. It needs to serve a purpose, and presentation design should work towards that preset goal.

Why become a speaker?

Richard believes that public speaking is an unfair advantage. If you have two qualified people and one communicates their ideas better – that person always wins, even if they are differently qualified. Being able to communicate well wins.

Another reason to become a speaker is that it is the first act of leadership. If you look up online any leaders, you will probably see them delivering a speech. Leadership and management come with the ability to communicate, not with the job title you are given. Being a speaker amplifies your authority.

When is the best time to start, and how?

According to Richard, the best time is now. He states that you have to find something that frustrates you enough to want to change it. Ask yourself what problem do you want to solve in the world? And do not start too high off, but very specific instead. If you want to solve several problems, work until you find their intersection. And when you find it, that is the problem you want to go to war with.

Who would you like your audience to be?

Richard assures us that you cannot fully know your audience; you can know only their objective. He also advises that it is unnecessary to worry about presenting as you are the best version of yourself in front of every single audience.

Your desired customer is who would be willing to pay you to speak to them. You have to figure out where your market is, who your audience is, and who your customer is, as they are not the same thing.

Why is now the perfect time to start?

To this question, Richard answers with an example. In 2019 he has held speeches in 26 countries on six continents, but in 2020 he has spoken to way more than that without even leaving his living room. 

Now businesses are doing more events than ever, like webinars every week, and they hire you for them. “The next generation of thought leaders are being carved out on these webinar stages right now,” Richard says. The appetite for something new is high, and it can be turned into a weapon.

People are going to do big in-person events again when allowed, and they will be looking for talent. Richard tells us that you want your name to be on that list. “I’m trying to be leading at a sprint way ahead of the crowd, so when everybody else starts running, I’m already in the fast lane,” he says. 

What should you do to be considered for upcoming events?

First, you have to let the world know this is what you do. Start dropping references about it while writing a blog post or casually in conversations. This way you let people know that this is an option.

Another important thing is to have a talk ready to go. Do not let a conference organizer write your material for you, but rather ask which one of your talks best suits the objective. One trademark talk and you are ready to go. Then work it up to three and so on.

How to convince people that you are good?

You have to persuade the people hiring you that you are reliable for the objective. So put it out there, write a blog post, have good testimonials and logos of the companies you have worked with. People want to feel safe with their choice. It is your job to make them feel that.

Mistakes to avoid in the beginning

The first mistake to avoid is thinking that it is about you. You are not the hero, “the champion is in the chair,” Richard says. “Give them a reason to care, give them a reason to believe, tell them what they need to know, tell them what they need to do,” he adds. 

People only care if your story helps them write a better version of their own. Your job is not to be the hero but to audition for a better part in their story. 

You have to work out the algorithms for success that helped your story be important to you and helped you overcome a challenge. Ask yourself what are three things that you can share with your audience that are practical, and they can apply to their struggles right away.

Resources

Give people the easiest way to find you,” Richard says.

You can connect with him on his LinkedIn or his personal website. You can check out his company Missing Link – and his mentorship program here

Listen to the full episode!