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In this episode of  The Speaker Show, Maria Franzoni interviews Geoff Burch.

Geoff Burch is a leading authority on sales, leadership, customers and change and has been voted Business Communicator of the Year by the Speechwriters’ Guild.

He is a regular contributor and presenter on TV and Radio and was the star of BBC television’s hit business show ‘All over the Shop’.  Currently, Geoff is regularly seen as a business correspondent and presenter for BBC television’s Inside Out programme.

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Episode #251

Let's just get on with it

Maria Franzoni (00:16): Hello and welcome back to The Speaker Show with me, your host, Maria Franzoni. Today, we are talking about all things business, sales, leadership customers, and change.

Maria Franzoni (00:26): The Speaker Show is brought to you by Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau for the world’s most successful organizations, providing keynote speakers for events, conferences, and summits.

Maria Franzoni (00:36): My guest is a leading authority on sales, leadership, customers, and change, as you might have guessed, right, and has been voted Business Communicator of the Year by the Speechwriters’ Guild.

Maria Franzoni (00:46): He’s a regular contributor and presenter on TV and radio and was the star of BBC television’s hit business show ‘All Over the Shop’. Currently, he is regularly seen as a business correspondent and presenter for BBC television’s Inside Out Program.

Maria Franzoni (01:00): Due to his love of riding huge motorbikes the Sunday Times referred to him as the Hells Angel of Management and where he once might have been thought of as a disruptive influence he’s now been rehabilitated as an agent for change.

Maria Franzoni (01:13): He’s the author of many highly successful business books with six currently in print and has some powerful business messages to bring. But most of all, he’d like to sit backs, relax, and enjoy the ride because I’ll tell you what it is going to be fun.

Maria Franzoni (01:27): Please welcome my guest, Geoff Burch. Geoff it’s lovely to see you. It feels like, you know, you’re an old friend now I’ve seen you so many times over the years and you haven’t changed a bit really apart from the lack of ponytail.

Geoff Burch (01:41): Yeah. Not so much of the old, I think it’s a maturer, maturer friend.

Maria Franzoni (01:46): Absolutely. We’ve matured. We’ve matured. Both of us have matured.

Geoff Burch (01:49): Like a good cheese.

Maria Franzoni (01:52): Yes. Fantastic. So Geoff, I’d like to know what’s going on at the moment. What are clients asking you for? What are they looking for?

Geoff Burch (02:01): Yeah, they don’t know. That’s the thing. I, as you know, we we’re working, I’m getting some help from, from Dave Daniels, who’s trying to guide me in the right direction. He’s very strict with me. He’s even stricter than Sally, which is saying a lot. Who’s my wife, as you know, and I was telling him about all the marvelous business things I can do and that I can understand people. Cause I’m a bit of a techy trump so I can understand the computer software and the mechanical and he got a dye he talks like that. And he no, no, no, no, no. The clients need to be entertained. And I kind of, I suddenly realized that, you know, the me and the clients are both telling fibs to each other, you know. The client says, we need an expert who can speak on international finance. And I go, yes, I can speak on international finance. But they really want is that they’ve locked their poor people in a room, 500 of them. And it’s over hot, they’ve had 3,523 slides. Their only sustenance has been Fox’s glacier mints.

Maria Franzoni (03:14): There are other mints available if anybody’s.

Geoff Burch (03:18): Yes. And there are other mints available, not very often or, and then they, at the end of the day, really what they wanted to lift. They want to be amused. They want to lift. They want to leave the room feeling great. Now, no client ever says they want that. So, we talk about, we in the briefing meetings, we talk obviously about content and stuff, but actually in my mind, I’m spinning, how can I be amusing about six Sigma manufacturing? How can I be entertaining about total quality management? What funny stories do I know about lean management? And it’s a kind of weird thing. I tell you what, if you are on the TV, you see the TV thing for kids, the science lectures for children, and you see Professor Schonccins, you know, he’s a professor of international expert on thermodynamics, which the client might say, yes, that’s right.

Geoff Burch (04:25): We want an expert on thermodynamics. And before I click the off button on the tele, I watch for a few seconds. And then there’s a huge ball of fire and a bang, like a thunder clap. You know, the kids will gasp with fear and then clap and outta the smoke comes this bloke that looks like the, like the mad scientist outta back to the future. And you go, oh, hang on. This guy’s brilliant. You know, and I realized that the TV producers who are booking these expert professors and so on know jolly well that they’re booking somebody who’s entertaining first and foremost. There’s probably people in the world that more about thermodynamics and press Professor Schonccins, but nobody who’s as funny and as uplifting. And some years ago, we did a survey about how you hold an audience’s attention. And we found that something, something outrageous like 93% of audiences are lost in the first three minutes, if the presenter isn’t entertaining.

Geoff Burch (05:36): So although clients over and over again, tell me, they’re looking for expertise in certain areas. They ought to sit for three or four hours and watch this expert and think, can I sit on a hard chair, sucking any manufacturers make a hard mint. And actually, what will my 500 employees, associates members, people perhaps who spend all day working on a roof for, and the frontline customer frontline, how are they going to make of this so-called expert if what he does, isn’t put forward in an entertaining way? So we work really hard at understanding the client, but also we work very hard at making it as entertaining as possible. And I think clients need to be very aware that they’re very aware that when they ask for an expert, that might be all they get.

Maria Franzoni (06:46): No, absolutely. And actually, I don’t think it’s, as long as three minutes, Geoff, I think you have to grab them much sooner than that.

Geoff Burch (06:53): I’ve been generous, I think.

Maria Franzoni (06:54): Yeah. You’ve been generous. And actually before we’ve in case we’ve confused the audience, I mean, I don’t remember ever booking you to talk about six Sigma or lean manufacturing, let’s share with the audience, what topics you are normally booked to speak about, obviously in an entertaining way. I think they’ve got that, but share, share with us some of the main themes you tend to talk about.

Geoff Burch (07:13): Sales, sales, leadership, sales leadership, customers, and change are the big things. But of course I was, I’m a smelly old hippie as you’ve pointed out the ponytails though, but as I’m an old hippie, I have this kind of holistic thing that, and I’m one of, you know, I entertain myself quite often with this idea that you have these bits of business that conflict with each other. You have marketing who make these outrageous promises and then you have the poor frontline people who have no idea what that promise is. So although I have these eight major areas of business, I do overlap and pinch things from one thing to another because you know, leadership is, is great. I mean, I do a story as you know, about a repair man, we call the talking bottom and when he, when your washing machine explodes or photocopy or a computer, if this guy vanishes inside, nor that talks to is his bottom, you know, and it says things like they’re all made in careless, they’re bloody dangerous, you know?

Geoff Burch (08:30): And I come up with the line ambassador or assassin. Yeah. Is he an ambassador or an assassin? But I had quite a, an interesting chat with a client the other day who loved that story, asked me to do it. And, just being, by being bloody awkward, like I can be, I said, do you want your people to be ambassadors or assassins? And he said, ambassadors, of course. And I said, ambassadors of what? And he went, our company values. And I said, well, are they? And he did one of those. We are the leading manufacturer of toilet brushes and want to be respected throughout the world by taking car of, and he just did this kind of mission statement thing. And I said, yeah, that’s kind of not what you are, you know? And again, it’s, so if I’m talking to management and I do the ambassadors or assassin, I want to make them laugh, but I also want to make them wonder what they want their people to be ambassadors of.

Geoff Burch (09:43): You can’t expect frontline. You know, you can’t hire me to talk to the management leaders, then ask me to talk to their drivers and engineers in the second part. If I can’t tell them what it is their ambassadoring, you know, I mean, that’s, you know, I have an ambivalent view of Disney because on one hand they’re very, very domineering and very strong. But on the other hand, they have a very clear idea of what business they’re in, what they’re delivering, what their customers look like and how the team will behave and what their ambassadors of, you know, and a lot of people don’t have that kind of clear focus. See, now, here we are, you’ve led me into being serious again. And that, and that’s the thing with briefing meetings, you have to get to the bottom of what the client wants, but the actual presentation is nothing like that. Of course, it’s gotta be riproaring. It’s got to be fast paced and it’s got to be memorable. That’s the important thing.

Maria Franzoni (10:53): Absolutely. And thank you so much for saying good things about Disney because our next guest on next week’s podcast happens to be from Disney so well done. And we hadn’t cued that up either. How’s that? Wow. How professional is that. Brilliant. And so as you said, sales, leadership, customers, change, but then basically any business topic, really, because, I mean, in fact, you are referred to as a business guru, aren’t you?

Geoff Burch (11:17): Yeah.

Maria Franzoni (11:17): Guru. A guru.

Geoff Burch (11:17): A guru. I go around the world guru in, but yes. No, absolutely. I, and sometimes some of the businesses that we’ve been cast into have come as a huge shock to me because we, when we started off, it was sales conferences, you know, because I was famous for my best selling sales book, which was the first one Assistance is Useless and it became a big bestseller. And I got heard into the world of public speaking, but so, I mean, I just went to rang sales conference after sales conference and then just really weird things like social housing, you know what, and we were like a big hit. I mean, I spent quite a proportion of my time now speaking to non-profit market, making organizations like social housing, like doctors, like the, and again, I find that even though they’ve got nothing to sell, the ability to move people from one opinion to another, to get your point of view across, to get some sort of feeling for the people who are your patients, customers, whatever they are is actually almost universal.

Geoff Burch (12:40): So, I’ve been surprised by the people that enjoy my presentations and nobody is more surprised than Sally.

Maria Franzoni (12:48): Yeah. The boss. Sally the boss behind the scenes, your wife

Geoff Burch (12:51): She actually liked you. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. We had a wonderful, we had a very, very, very big job in America and the chief executive, they, hi there Geoff, I’m the CEO and the audience was 20,000 people. And obviously he wasn’t involved in choosing me. And when he realized who I was, cuz he spent two minutes on a plain YouTube and had a look, it obviously worried him intensely. And I remember after the presentation, which was probably one of our biggest hits, he kind of said, they really liked you Geoff. Like you as totally amazed. Totally astonished that anyone could possibly like this lunatic from England. But yeah.

Maria Franzoni (13:41): Yeah. I mean, yeah, I mean, you are. You are a lunatic and we love you for that. But I think what, what you guys do really well better than many is that you do go really deep into analyzing and understanding the business and the people and make it incredibly personal. And that that’s been, that’s your why you’ve got longevity. That’s why you’re still here. Now the ponytail has gone, right?

Geoff Burch (14:02): Yeah. Yeah. No, I absolutely love business. I mean, you can see behind me. I mean, they’re not only just my books, what I wrote.

Maria Franzoni (14:08): Yeah.

Geoff Burch (14:08): But they’re also everybody else’s business books because if you read, like, do you remember The Beano?

Maria Franzoni (14:17): I never read The Beano. I’m sorry.

Geoff Burch (14:18): Oh, you’re right. Well, Dennis the Menace had this big TV called Sophie Walter who was always reading these books with hard sums written on the cover, you know, he was a Swattie kid. You know, I read these books with hard business written on the cover, you know, because you get these people who are passionate about business, but totally inept at delivering it. And they write these books that are in decipherable. Yeah. But if you decipher them at the heart of it, you go, ah, I get that. Like you were saying, you find somebody who can speak on six Sigma, which is an incredibly complex quality control system. But actually it isn’t. It is actually when you condense out all the stuff that you don’t understand, it’s about getting things right. It’s as simple as getting things right. You know, I was trying to explain to an audience that had absolutely no idea or interest about agility.

Geoff Burch (15:21): Because my client wanted me to do something on agility. And again gave me 40,000 pages about scrum teams, blockers, you know, the whole kind of flow graph. And I had to kind of sell this to a bunch of people in wellies and orange jackets. And I condensed it in to how we would decorate Aunty Flori’s bungalow. If Aunty, if Aunty Flori wouldn’t move out of her bedroom while we were trying to paint it, you know, and again, it just, you know, I think it horrified the client to start with, but when they realized that their audience could grasp Aunty Flori’s bungalow, where they couldn’t grasp the scrum teams’ blocker checklist at all. You know? So yeah. I love business, but I also love being funny. So

Maria Franzoni (16:18): Yeah. That’s brilliant. I like that the idea of Aunty Flori’s Bungalow. So, Geoff, what’s changed in business?

Geoff Burch (16:26): Well, I think the way work is measured. I mean, again, not to worry too much. But with all the working from home that happens with the more successful companies, if you, if you’ll excuse the word up becoming more agile, they’re becoming a bit smaller, a bit more compact. I mean, in the days when you were my sort of prime agent, which was a neither us would admit how many years ago it was.

Maria Franzoni (17:00): No, I was a babe in arms.

Geoff Burch (17:02): You are babe, and me too. I used to go on my tricycle with the sort of the little wheels at the side to these things in Brighton. But the big insurance companies had 6,000 salesmen, you know, they had to do six sittings of a thousand each, you know, that those days have gone, you know? And then, people manage that these a agile businesses, the high tech businesses, the ones that are based in those sparkling with office communities in Gilford and everywhere. They are quick, they are quick. In the jungle, it isn’t the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow, you know, and these people are quick and they know how to manage their people to get outcomes rather than process. They’re not obsessed like the old insurance companies were with, how did you do that?

Geoff Burch (17:58): And did you follow the right procedures? It it’s very much like, let’s get this done. You know, let’s get this done. Let’s make some money. Let’s pay our people well. Let’s just get on with it. And I think that is refreshing, but challenging and a bit scary too, because I still work for dinosaurs. I love my old dinosaurs who use me over and over and over again. But I just, I wish I had the courage to tell them that they need to change because they’re not gonna be clients much longer. Not because they hate me, but because their competitors are small and have very sharp teeth, you know, they, they’re gonna have to, they’re gonna have to action in the same way, trust your people, let your people make, the frontline people make the decisions, you know, and create this entrepreneurial culture. I think business has changed beyond all recognition since, since the early days, since the days of the multi-level marketing with audiences of five and 6,000 people. But the direct sales insurance people, the door to door sales, people, all of that reps, you know, whatever happened to reps. I mean, the motorways were just an artery of Ford Sierras.

Maria Franzoni (19:24): I know my dad was a rep. My dad was a rep. Yeah. Worked in the company and became a director. So yeah, I remember the days of him going early in the morning.

Geoff Burch (19:31): They haven’t gone, but they it’s different, changed beyond all recognition, you know? And the other thing that’s very big is the fact that smart businesses have decided, you know, like, as I said, the old hippie thing of being a bit holistic. Smart businesses have realized that a lot of customer contact is being made by their drivers and their engineers and their big. And these people need to be entrepreneurial as well. They need to be ambassadors for heaven’s sake. You know, just as I said, that that really is important. You don’t put the rep in and do the sales, the engineer to do the installation, the driver to deliver the box. They’re now all part of the same, the same thing. And again, if going back to Disney, you can’t tell the security guards from the, from Mickey Mouse, from the thing, everybody does the smile have a nice day, but you enjoy yourself at Disney, you know, and that’s the guy searching you with the bleeping machine to make sure you’re not carrying a gut. You know, even they, you know, but in England we have this habit of going well, yes, they will be. That’s just the security people. Yes. They don’t really actually work for us. They’re sent in by an outside contractor. So if he was rude to you, I can give you their email address, you know? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Brilliant.

Maria Franzoni (20:56): That sounds very familiar. That sounds incredibly familiar. It’s never, they never take ownership. Right? Never take ownership.

Geoff Burch (21:01): Yeah. You’ve come through to the wrong apartment. I want everybody who’s listened to me to always say, you’ve come through to the right department. Yes. I’m in adapt little thing that I did was I had a chain of a state agents. I was speaking to recently and realized that they would do this wrong department thing. So we stopped them doing that. Hey, nice to hear from you. And then we realized that whoever they were put onto, if they described that person as an expert, it made the customers feel all warm and fuzzy. So now hello, Acme estate agent say, Judy, how can I help you? Oh, yes. We’re looking for a bundler. Oh, well now you’ve come through to the wrong department. I handle lettings. I don’t think there’s any bundler in me, you know, so it stopped him doing that.

Geoff Burch (21:57): I said, oh, hello, thank you for calling at me. I’m Judy, what can I do for you today? Oh, hold a bungalow right. Now, you need to speak to Terry. There’s nobody who knows more about bungalows in Surrey than my Terry. I’ll see if I can find him. And he will tell you everything you need to know. He is just totally brilliant when it comes to bungalows. He’s our expert. Even if he isn’t their expert, even if it’s just odd Terry, who’s wandering around doing the coffees. You know, the customer loves the fact that they’ve been put onto the bungalow expert, you know, and it’s just so easy, you know, it’s so easy to get it right for people so easy you know, and because I’m simple, it’s, I’m able to make it simple. I think that’s the thing.

Maria Franzoni (22:46): Yeah. But I mean, don’t, don’t dumb down what you do because you simplify it because you, you get it. And because you have that huge experience, I wrote down some wonderful phrases here that I really loved. What is your competition is small with very sharp teeth. I like that. And I loved the, so you don’t get eaten. So the big don’t get eaten by the small it’s the fast they get eaten by the slow. That’s great. And get on with it.

Geoff Burch (23:11): That’s the wrong way around.

Maria Franzoni (23:12): Have I got the wrong way around?

Geoff Burch (23:14): Yeah. The fast eat the slow.

Maria Franzoni (23:16): Yes. So the slow get eaten by the fast. Yes.

Geoff Burch (23:17): It’s not the big that eat the small. Yeah. That’s how..

Maria Franzoni (23:22): I did a really good job.

Geoff Burch (23:23): How well I deliver my message?

Maria Franzoni (23:24): No, that was, that was because I can’t read my handwriting. I can’t write as fast as you speak Geoff.

Geoff Burch (23:31): Yeah.

Maria Franzoni (23:31): Because there’s so much good stuff coming. Anyway, that’s fine. So, listen, have you then over the last couple of years, cause we’ve been disrupted, let’s not mention it. Have you developed new material?

Geoff Burch (23:45): Yes, I have. And, it’s quite annoying. Yep. Because a people who know me want me to do this stuff they always remember. I’m going to go and see Elton John tomorrow with the boss. And if he doesn’t do crocodile rock, I should be furious. You know.

Maria Franzoni (24:04): I was gonna say, it’s a bit like that. It’s like the greatest hits, isn’t it? My man’s going on Friday with his, with a bunch of friends and leaving me here closing the door.

Geoff Burch (24:11): Yes.

Maria Franzoni (24:11): Yeah. Yeah.

Geoff Burch (24:13): If he says, well, welcome everyone I’m Elton John, I gotta do an evening of my experimental jazz pieces. You’d be throwing stuff at it. And I get that, you know, I get people say, I say, well, you know, I’ve got this marvelous, marvelous stuff I’ve been working on about, you know, motivation and the motivation gap productivity. It’s all funny, lovely funny stories about motivation, about a crocodile and all sorts of fraudulent cats and things. And they go, oh yeah, that’d be great, Geoff, but we want you to do the crapping dog story, you know, real well. Yeah. Oh yeah. And

Maria Franzoni (24:51): Being half of this podcast.

Geoff Burch (24:53): Yes. No, no, no. I know, but that way you, you have to blee half of my presentation in, I go, you know, oh Geoff, can you do that thing about the sheep dog? We love that. Well, I saw you a few years ago. You did some story about those two good, good and bad thing. One thing is that people who saw me 15 years ago still remember every word of what I said, which is quite good. You know? I mean, how many people can remember a speaker they’ve ever seen and what they said, and the other thing is that we, you know, I can, I can mix it in and I can still do some of the old funny stuff, but make very different new points with it. You know, like this thing, ambassadors and assassins, it’s only just occurred to me to say ambassadors of what, you know, this, you know, it’s been something I’ve been dying off for years.

Geoff Burch (25:42): And I just realized that we expect our people to be a, you know, a representative of our company, our values, but it’s not much coop if they don’t know what it is.

Maria Franzoni (25:52): Yeah.

Geoff Burch (25:52): You know, so actually, you know, yes, we’ve got new material. Yes. I’ve been reading lots of new business books and going to lecturers of incredibly boring, but very intelligent people, but it also flashes up. Well, of course that would be the, what it story, the so, and so, ah, I worked with the, you know, so I’m, I’m, it’s a bit of new and a bit of old really.

Maria Franzoni (26:18): Okay. Fantastic. That’s good. Good, good, good. And are you finding, is there still a place for online presentations?

Geoff Burch (26:24): Ah, yeah. Now again, obviously through the, through the COVID thing where, when we’d finished eating our pets and using,

Maria Franzoni (26:35): Oh, can’t say that. No, no.

Geoff Burch (26:37): I won’t absolutely. Well, I’ve got a pun full of sticklebacks and I suppose you do kind of wide bait with them, but the, it, to start with it was awful because the knock down and everything, I mean, my diary, all my diary did, which was jampacked full of bookings, all that did was solve the toilet paper crisis. Then we all kind of got on, like, we are now on the old webcam and just sort of talked, which was a walk in the park really. And I used to be embarrassed getting a fee for it because I, you know, I’d sit there in my Jimmy jams and just do it.

Geoff Burch (27:21): And I felt uneasy about that to be honest. So we invested in some nice kit camera lights, and all the bits and pieces and professionalized the whole thing. I thought we were unique. And then I realized that all the really good speakers are now offering a pretty professional. You know, if you are a speaker and you want to do it online, it has to be pretty good. As you know, I I’m in telly quite a lot and I have a relationship and made a lot of friends from the, and some great BBC people. I’ve opened a studio here, proper pucker job to produce short documentaries and bits and bobs like that. They’ve also got a ridiculously fast internet connection. So if a client really wants to pull out the things, they can pay a little extra as a fee and have a, you know, three cameras, different angles, switching this, their logo revolving around my head, blue screen the whole bit, you know, we have a professional camera here in my office, but that you can go the whole nine yards.

Geoff Burch (28:35): And at the other end of the scale, I found a lot of joy with small trade organizations and bits and pieces who do these little intimate workshops, which is maybe, you know, maybe 10, 20, 30, maybe even 50 people, but it’s an online, zoomy chat with me where, well I enjoy that more, because it’s not a performance for them. It is actually people asking, well, Geoff, you know that story you do, but what does that mean? I make cookies, I make cookies. And I find it really hard to ask for, ask my distributors for more money. How would you do that, Geoff? And that’s really fun. I enjoy doing those as well. So, you know, I’ve got three levels really. That’s the sort of Geoff’s fireside chat type stuff, which is nice and intimate and doesn’t mean me having to muck about with radio mics and stuff. Then we have a very professional Sony broadcast camera based thing here, or I can do the full, you know, Cecil B. DeMille cast of thousands with real lions at my buddy’s studio. But, the clients do have to stand up a bit extra for that, but it’s not, it’s not that bad, really considering the professionalism that they bring to it.

Maria Franzoni (30:07): Fantastic. And I’m glad that, you’re seeing that online still has a place. Cause I do think it has great value, especially in these days where you put, people still gonna be working from home, people still gonna be working virtually, you know, not everyone’s gonna go back to the office. Right.

Geoff Burch (30:21): Well, you also, you also stirred me up last time because I have this crisis of confidence quite often about, you know, and I, that the amount of, I mean, you’ve got to try and give your customers the very best value for money, which I used to think when I was starting out was going on too long. You know, they’d give me 40 minutes and I’d give them an hour and a half to try and give them better value for money. By the time they were throwing stuff at me, I realized that wasn’t such a great idea. Yeah. Always surprised that a 30 minute presentation was better received than a three hour weren’t you? So I’ve always had this thing about, you know, how can we give our clients the best, the best value for money. And, so when the online thing started, the first thing that’s spoke to mind is how low can we go on price? And I was chatting to you about him. You did this terrific gasp of horror.

Maria Franzoni (31:22): Good.

Geoff Burch (31:24): And said, listen, Geoff, you know, they, even, if they pay you your usual thing, they can now transmit you around the whole world, you know, which they couldn’t have done at the live event. You know, they can have people all over. They can record it and distribute it for forever. You know, you should be charging more and not less. I mean, I didn’t dare do that, but I did realize that again, if you’re a professional speaker, the difference between online and offline, you know, live, you know, shouldn’t be that as great as I thought it should. So thank you for that.

Maria Franzoni (32:02): Oh, you’re very welcome. And also actually online is harder. It’s harder to engage your audience. Cause often you’re not getting any kind of feedback.

Geoff Burch (32:08): Yeah.

Maria Franzoni (32:08): Yeah. A lot of speakers need that feedback. I know you, I know you can deliver to an empty room because I know you can do that. You don’t need it.

Geoff Burch (32:16): I often do.

Maria Franzoni (32:17): Well, yes, I’ve heard.

Geoff Burch (32:19): I could clear a room usually, but no, I, yes, but because of that, I’ve I had a marvelous conversation with a highly respected speaker. Somebody I highly respect and then had a completely contradictory conversation with another speaker I highly respect. Both of them. One said, oh, well, I give I do five minutes and then give them something to do. Cuz people can’t just listen and listen and listen. And then I do another five minutes to give them something to do. And then I do. And then I spoke to, I thought, that’s great. I could do that. I could just give them little exercise instead. And then I spoke to this other guy said, well, Geoff, no, you know, you can hold, you can hold people for 40 minutes without, without breaking step or wind. You know, you can do it.

Geoff Burch (33:14): And, you know, if the client wants to record you and replay what you do, these weird little exercises just doesn’t work, just go for it. And, both have their value. But I lean towards to the go for it, to do a presentation. There and then, and I’ve give it the beans from beginning to end. And, you can hold them. You can, you can engage people. It, you know, because I’ve got this little meter in my head, like a taxi meter, but I always thought I could feel the energy in the room, but actually it’s the energy in my head. I must be like my audiences. If I start to bore myself, I change the subject really quickly. You know, I’ve got this boredom meter, you know.

Maria Franzoni (34:11): Fantastic. Fantastic. We all need a boredom meter. Actually. I think that’s really good. I’m writing that one down too, so,

Geoff Burch (34:16): Well, I, if I’m in the pictures, you know, you know, like even Top Gun, what a great movie that was. But as soon as the talk, you know, the romantic bit comes, you can hear all the popcorn rustling, you know, you think, ah, you know, this is it, I’ve got a popcorn rustler in my head, you know, you think, yeah, this is a love, this is a time to start sort of shooting people again. I’m losing them.

Maria Franzoni (34:42): Fantastic. I’ve got one last question for you, Geoff, before I let you go.

Geoff Burch (34:46): Sure.

Maria Franzoni (34:46): What’s the future looking like? Is it gloomy? Is it positive? We see hearing, hearing so much bad news about the economy on TV and about rising prices. Inflation. What’s the, what’s your prediction?

Geoff Burch (34:59): Misery. We’re all doomed. No, no, no, no. I, people are gonna have to work harder for business. That’s the thing they didn’t, you know, they didn’t, they people would just, but it’s the old thing of, if you wanted to catch sharks, you’ve got ’em in a feeding frenzy and they bited an empty hook. You know, it got like that. You know, people would just click on Amazon. I’ll have some of these, two of those, a box full of that. I don’t care. You know, if it doesn’t work, I’ll buy another one. You know, come from the Wang po computer company. I’ve been that. Now people are saying, I’ve got this to spend. That’s all I’ve got to spend and I’m gonna spend it very carefully. You know, people are buying deary shoes, not cheaper shoes, but they’re not buying 20 pairs. They’re buying one pair. So if you can’t give the best service impeccably at super value with people who are engaged and if your customers can’t get hold of you, you know, I’ve been trying to get a refund off a holiday company. And I was on the phone for six hours, six hours, you know, and eventually got somebody who said, I promise this isn’t my department. I’ll put you on hold. And that was another three hours, you know?

Maria Franzoni (36:17): Did you get your refunds? Did you get a refunds?

Geoff Burch (36:18): Yeah, I would. I would’ve obviously would never have done business with them if they hadn’t got my money. But, you know, they’ve been doing this. They’ve been getting away with this for about 10 years. You know, the feeding frenzy started about 10 years ago. My work of helping people to find and keep customers was kind of changing to all sorts of other things. Now, now, if you don’t get it right, if you don’t love your customer, if you don’t look after them, if you are not easy to do business with, if your team aren’t engaged and loyal, you are in big trouble. The way out of this recession is actually it isn’t gonna be five companies dropping 20%. It’s gonna be four companies doing right. And one of them dying, you know, and the one that dies is the one that doesn’t look after its customers, doesn’t care about service, doesn’t handle complaints, you know, and that’s kind of my crusade now. You know, I love every minute. I hope my audience is, are rolling in the aisle and walk out bouncing and laughing and repeating my jokes. But then when they sit quietly, it’s like all kind of observational humor. It’s based on real life and real subjects and real points. Yeah. Yeah. So in a way I’m optimistic and in others, I think there’s a lot of threats out there for companies who take their eye off the board.

Maria Franzoni (37:54): Brilliant. Geoff, thank you so much. You’ve given us so much to digest in a short time. It’s been a rip roaring experience as always. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself.

Geoff Burch (38:02): No. I have. Thank you.

Maria Franzoni (38:03): Wonderful, wonderful. And thank you all for listening to The Speaker Show. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a rating on Apple Podcasts and you can keep up with future episodes on Speakers Associates website, which is or your favorite podcast app. Check out Geoff Burch’s books. And if you’d like to invite him to speak at your next conference or event, make sure to contact Speakers Associates in plenty of times, you won’t be disappointed because you’ve heard it here. His diary is full. I will see you all next week. Thank you.

Live interview

Maria Franzoni is an established and recognised speaking industry expert and one of the most experienced speaker bookers in Europe.

As well as working with speakers, Maria also hosts live shows and podcasts. She currently hosts The Speaker Show podcast for Speakers Associates.

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