Ep 216: Masterful Storytelling with Craig Valentine



In 1999 our guest, Craig Valentine, became the World Champion of Public Speaking and subsequently learned a lesson that he has carried with him throughout his career: that he could no longer ‘get ready to speak’ he had to ‘stay ready to speak’.

Craig has built his career on his exceptional acumen as a public speaker, his presentation skills, and his prolific coaching.

He runs a prodigious coaching certification program called World Class Speaking, in addition to the Speak and Prosper Academy, and is the author of The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking.

In our conversation with Craig, we dive straight into his passion for public speaking and how he discovered that ‘staying in your lane’ is not necessarily the best advice.

Listening in you’ll glean key insights into the art of storytelling and why it is integral to effective public speaking.

Learn why conflict is the most important part of storytelling and how escalating conflict can elevate a good story into a great one.

We also delve into the intricacies of dialogue, why it’s important, and how it offers rich opportunities for humor and connection with your audience.

Later, Craig breaks down how he combines storytelling and messaging to reach his audience, and why his approach to storytelling varies depending on the situation.

Tune in today for an engrossing and highly informative episode as we see phenomenal storytelling in action


  • What Craig learned from becoming the World Champion of Public Speaking.
  • Why the skills of public speaking apply to various areas of life and business.
  • How Craig leverages storytelling in his work and how to become a good storyteller.
  • Why you should never sell the product, but rather sell the result.
  • Craig’s approach to combining storytelling and clear messaging.
  • Why conflict is the most important part of storytelling.
  • How an escalation of conflict elevates a story from a good one to a great one.
  • Some advice on how to establish and escalate conflict.
  • Why you need to know what your goal is to tell your story.
  • Why dialogue is integral to your story and how to uncover humor in it.
  • Projected dialogue and how to use it with your audience.
  • How to implement inner dialogue to elevate your story.
  • How to tell an ‘I focused’ story with a ‘you focused’ message.
  • How to use check-ins to remind the audience that the story is about them.
  • The power of foundational phrases and how they inform public speaking.


“My motto is don’t get ready, stay ready, because then you can take advantage of all the opportunities that exist.” — @CraigProSpeaker [0:03:29]

“And the reason why conflict is the hook to your story is because your audience wants to know, did you overcome the conflict? If so, how, what tools did you use? Can I use them?.” — @CraigProSpeaker [0:14:44]

“The conflict is the moment where something gets in the way or someone gets in the way of what you’re looking to accomplish.” — @CraigProSpeaker [0:16:26]

“Never add humor to a speech, uncover humor within it. Now, how do you do that? You uncover humor within the story, within the characters, within the characters’ dialogue, and within the spaces and faces in between the lines.” — @CraigProSpeaker [0:20:11]

“If you really break it down, conflict is the hook. Dialogue is the heart. Because dialogue is what really pumps blood and pumps life into your story.” — @CraigProSpeaker [0:26:05]

About Craig Valentine

Craig Valentine is the author of the groundbreaking book, The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking, Co-Author of the book, World Class Speaking, and contributing author for the books Guerrilla Marketing on the Front Lines, Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars, The Speaker’s Edge, and Guerrilla Marketing Remix.

He has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and he is certified as a Co-Active Coach and a Guerrilla Marketing Coach.

Craig is also the Co-Founder of the World Class Speaking Coach Certification Program which certifies speech coaches around the globe.

He is the Founder of the Speak and Prosper 6-Week Series, Co-Founder of the World Class Product Creation Program, and Founder of Craig Valentine’s Speak and Prosper Academy.


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Rory Vaden

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RV (00:07): Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon. RV (00:53): Well, it is time that you meet one of my legendary mentors. One of my personal coaches up as I kinda came up through the speaking ranks was this man Craig Valentine. He’s one of my favorite people ever as you’re about to learn, he is a wealth of knowledge and just a really, really cool dude. So I met him because he was, he is the 1999 world champion of public speaking for Toastmasters international. That was a contest that I came in second in 2007. He was one of my coaches for that. And it’s a worldwide competition where 25,000 contestants compete from, you know, over a dozen countries to be called world champion. He won that when he was still in his twenties. He also has an MBA from Johns Hopkins university. He’s the author of a book called the nuts and bolts of public speaking and the co-author of a number one, Amazon bestseller called world-class speaking in action. And so he’s built a career largely out of presentation skills coaching, and he’s also a speaker. He speaks on some different things, but in my mind, he was one of my speaker original speaker coaches still to this day, he runs something called the speak and prosper academy and he has a coaching certification program. That’s also called world-class speaking and a piece, just one of my go-to trusted authorities on, on all things presentations. So Craig, my man is so good to see you. It’s been way too long, brother CV (02:21): And way too long. It’s great to see you. I remember those days when we were working up to the world championship, you had a lot, I still believe if you had used the Jessica Simpson line, you would have won the world championship, but you took it out, but that’s okay. I thought I saved face for her, but that’s that a lot about you that you were, you were willing to take that out and, and be the type of person that wouldn’t be remembered for that type of thing. So you were a champion in my eyes. Always. I can tell you that when I won the world championship, Rory, I’m telling you like two days later, I realized it was a blessing and a curse, a blessing and a curse. Yeah, because if you have been walking towards me in the Chicago two days after I won the world championship, you would’ve seen my wife on one side of me and me carrying is right there. This gigantic crystal trophy, right. Just walking through the Chicago airport, everybody’s looking at me like, well, who is that? Yeah, right. I thought, Rory, I thought I heard a lady say, is that Denzel Washington? Right? But this is what I realized my life would never be the same. This petite lady in a pink dress runs up to me in the middle of the airport and everybody’s watching. And she starts reading the bottom of my trophy and she says, Hmm, 1999 world champion of public speaking. Wow. Say some things. CV (03:40): And Rory, I was speechless, but that’s when I realized no matter where I go in life, people are going to say, would you mind saying some things? Right? So I came to a fundamental understanding about my life as a speaker and really about your life and anybody listening, I can no longer get ready to speak. I have to stay ready to speak. Yeah. That’s my new, my motto is don’t get ready, stay ready. Because then you can take advantage of all the opportunities that exist. And so what I help people do nowadays is stay ready to speak and learn how to craft and deliver and sell their message. So people take the exact next step. They want them to take you know, and also get them to present in such a way that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and makes them glad they came. And speaking of that, I’m very, very glad that I’m here. RV (04:25): Well, man, you know, it’s interesting to me because my, my dream originally was like, I wanted to be a speaker. And then I kind of learned, oh, you gotta be, you, you know, it helps if you’re an author and I became an author. And then now it’s like these days, I viewed myself probably more as an entrepreneur business-wise then than anything. But it’s amazing how much, those skills presentation skills, they apply to everything. Podcasts, interviews, webinars speaking in front of an arena or five, 10 people, or you’re at your, your leadership meeting or doing a prayer at the family dinner table. I mean, this stuff is everywhere. And you just, you don’t like, if you, if you didn’t go through Toastmasters, you might’ve had a class in college that teaches this stuff. CV (05:13): Exactly. It’s almost like personal financial management. You usually go through college without even knowing that, and you get out there to make this money. You don’t know what to do with it. Right? So to me, it, it’s always interesting because of what happened with you is what happens with a lot of people, including me, which is you get on this road. People say, stay in your lane, but they don’t realize that sometimes the road curves, right? And sometimes the market tells you what to do next. So for an example, for me, I got a call like maybe two months after I won the world championship from a guy who said, Craig, this is Wade Randolph. And I’d like you to coach me on my speaking. And I’m Rory. I’m like, I’m not a speech coach. I’m just a speaker. I wouldn’t even know where to start. And he said, I’ll pay you. I said, that’s a good place to start. RV (06:01): As I said, I must be. CV (06:05): And I’ll never forget. We met in the Martin Luther king library in Washington, DC. He drove up from Virginia and I started coaching him, but I had no idea what I was doing, but he kept coming back and I kept learning more and more ways to, to help Wade. And then I started getting other clients and other clients. And it wasn’t until Darren LaCroix, a buddy of both of ours said, Craig, once you realize you’re also a speech coach, you’ll be much better off because I was like, no, no, that’s not what I am. Once I embraced it. And I do what I call a jump into what you fall into. It opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me. And I’ve been living in it ever since. RV (06:41): So, you know, present on that note presentation skills is one thing that’s universal underneath that, or maybe next to that is another skill, which in my mind, I’ve always thought of you as a master of, and this is something that I’ve always struggled with. And even in this interview, I don’t know, it’s probably been 10 years since we’ve talked, I am reminded of how good you are at storytelling. You are a master. You you’ve already told at least two stories in the first like five minutes here where I’ve just been captivated. Like I got this whole laundry list of questions I was gonna ask you and I am drawn in to your stories. And that was one of the things you helped me with. And I’m also reminded like, man, I still have a lot to learn in this area. And it, because that applies even more universally than speaking does is just the art of storytelling. So what can you talk about what makes a good story? Like why are stories important? And like, you know, just for the average person out there, that’s doing lives on Facebook or running webinars, or maybe they’re speaking and they’re hosting a podcast. Like what should we be thinking of when it comes to how to tell a good story and why do most of our stories suck? CV (08:06): Well, I think the first part is the why is not, why do they suck? But why do we tell stories is because you want to be remembered. But not only that worry, I’ll learn this a little bit later in my career, you don’t speak to be remembered. You don’t tell stories to be remembered. You speak to be repeated, right? If you get repeated, then your brand grows and people can talk about, like, for example, people will go around right now and say, Craig, Craig Valentine says, don’t get ready, stay ready. Right. Just from the message I told you earlier. So I think to make a good story, you want to have a story and a foundational phrase. That’s a phrase that’s repeatable. That’s you focused meaning focused on your audience. And that’s fewer than 10 words, right? Give you a quick example. One of my foundational phrases is don’t sell the product, sell the result, never a product sell the result case. CV (08:57): In point decades ago, I went to buy my first car ever in life, went to the dealership. Salesperson came up to me. He says, are you looking at that car? I said, yes, sir. He said, great. Let me tell you about it. This car has these types of Mo this type of motor, this type of window, this type of engine, this type, what was he trying to sell them? The car, right? I just said, never sell a product. Always sell the result. So I said, no, thank you. I’m not interested. And Rory, I went to a different dealership on the same day, different salesperson, same car. Now I gotta be honest, bro. He must’ve anticipated where I was mentally and emotionally at my life. In that time, you know, I was, I was young and single and looking to mingle. And so he walks up to me. He says, you looking at that car? I said, yes, sir. He said, you’re going to look good in that one. He said, you’re going to be flying down the road. The winds gonna be blowing through your hair and the girls. Let me tell you, the girls will be all over you, Roy, what do you think I did sign RV (09:53): Me up. I said, where do CV (09:54): I sign? See he made the sale. Not because he sold me the car, but he sold me the results. And he lied. I was lonely in that car. I’m telling you, but do you see what I’m saying? Or I tell the story, I make the point and then I’ll give them the foundational phrase. So never sell a product. Always sell the result. Now what goes into a good story is having some kind of conflict. What goes into RV (10:19): On a positive right there before you do so. So this is kind of age old, you know, national speakers association, classic Toastmasters, tell a story, make a point. And what you’re saying is like nail that point. First we call them pillar points, the foundational phrase, just like that tweetable moment, that, that catch phrase, that like one liner don’t sell the product, sell the result. And then CV (10:42): No matter what, no matter when it comes up, it could come up at the beginning. I could come up at the end, but it has to come up at some time so that they can walk away repeating it. And not just remembering, you want to be remembered, repeated, re, posted, retweeted, all of that. That’s going to help build your brand. Okay. RV (10:57): And do you come up with the point first and then the back, the story into that? Or do you just go like, okay, here’s a great story. And then I figure out some point to make out of it. CV (11:08): The answer is yes. The answer is yes. Both, both. Like, I’ll give you an example. He’s probably over there listening right now, but when it was 2012, the, the summer Olympics, the oldest participant in the summer Olympics was a 74 year old equestrian from Japan. Right? 74 year old, a question from Japan. So my seven year old son and I are watching this on TV and Roy on, unfortunately all the commentators kept harping on was the guy’s age. And they just kept saying, he’s 74. Can you believe he’s 74 by golly, he’s 74. And finally my seven-year-old son looked up and said, well, how old is the horse? Right. And I could not stop laughing. I could not stop laughing. So then at that point, I said, I’ve got to make a point out of this. I got to make a point out of this. CV (11:51): And so maybe a couple of months later, I realized, you know what? My son asked questions about everything, about everything, and yet he’s going out there. My son is going out there and winning national championships and track and field missing. How is he doing? And then I realized, never stop asking questions, never stop it. So I turned that into that point, not the most original point, but it’s an a, it’s a point that allows me to slide into questions. I can ask my audience. So I tell that story. I make the point, never stop asking questions, and then we move on to something else. So in that case, the story came first and I said, I got to find a point to make with this. But sometimes it works the other way around. RV (12:31): So, all right. Yeah. So it can be either way, right? You can have a great story and go, okay, what’s the point? Let me translate that. But or you go, all right, this is a great point that I need to make. And then let me back it into the story. Yeah. I think a lot of people can’t tell a good story and they don’t understand conflict. So, so talk about what you were just saying. Cause I said, what’s the most important thing and you immediately said conflict. CV (13:01): Yeah, I’ll go to conflict. And then I’ll go to dialogue, hearing what the other characters say to each other, hearing what you say to yourself. But conflict is the most important part. I’ll give you just the beginning of this story, Rory. So you can get a sense for what the conflict is. But I mean, let me ask you, cause you’ve been around. What do you think is the number one thing that stands between most people live in their dreams? What do you think that is? RV (13:23): Self doubt. CV (13:24): Self doubt. Yeah. And a lot of people will say fear and the fear of change and this and that. And those are all great answers. But the number one thing is not what you think. See, I used to work for an internet company and I wanted to go full-time into professional speaking. That was my goal. That was my dream. Right, right. I was asked Molly, raise your hand. If you have a goal, raise your hand. If you want to do anything in life. Right. Me too. So I went to the vice president of this company. His name was Steve John. I said, look, John, I’m going to be leaving because there’s always been my dream to be a full time professional speaker. He said, that’s your dream, Craig? I said, yes. He said, well, that’s great. I really admire you for having one, but you can’t leave. I said, hold on now, what do you mean? I can’t leave? He said, well, Craig, we’ve been thinking about it. And we’re going to raise your salary up to this. Now Rory salary means the same thing in Nashville right RV (14:13): Now. We’re talking CV (14:14): Now you see my dilemma. I said, John, this is not a financial decision. This is about my dream. In fact, I call this a dream decision. He said, okay, I understand. I really do. How about if we raised a salary up to this? I said, this is not a financial decision. This is a dream decision. You know, he raised it four times. I kid you not. I kept him going to raise the salary up to this. I said, this is not a financial decision. This is a dream decision. He said, okay, Craig, how about if we raised your salary to well above six figures? I said, dreams are overrated. Now that’s a funny line. But let’s look back at the conflict. Let’s look at the conflict. The conflict in that story, the reason had people’s interest is because I set the conflict up for him to say, you can’t leave. CV (14:57): Boom. That’s when the conflict was established, that’s when the Titanic hit the iceberg. But Rory, the thing that makes a great story is not just the establishment of the conflict. You got to escalate it. You got to escalate it. Think about the movie, the Titanic, the Titanic hit the iceberg, but how did it escalate? The water started to rise on the Titanic, right? If the water never rose on the Titanic, I’m telling you right now that would have been a terrible movie. So what I’m saying is how do you raise the water on the Titanic in your own story? If you look at mine, it was, he kept offering me more money to stay. I kept getting more frustrated, more flattered, more frustrated, more flattered until something had to give. And so if you get your audience to that point, they’re like, well, what did he do? What did she do? How did they get over it? And the reason why conflict is the hook to your story is because your audience wants to know, did you overcome the conflict? If so, how, what tools did you use? Can I use them? Can I use them? And that’s why conflict is so important. But the other part that’s so important is dialogue. You’ve got to hear what the other characters say to each other. RV (16:03): Yeah. So I want to talk about dialogue in a set in a second, by the way, one of the things that I have quoted you for is the rest of this story, which is a dialogue from your wife, which is his amazing line, which is not just as, is a great line, but it’s actually had a meaningful impact in my life personally. But so is conflict. Like what is conflict exactly. Like, like, especially if I’m architecting a story, like to the point of, you know, let’s say, I, you know, like I’m actually working on this right now. I have a presentation. I have a presentation tomorrow. And I’m working on kind of a new story and I’m sitting kind of trying to craft it to make it sharper and more sort of state stage. Ready? What are you doing there? Like what are you looking for? Like, I, that I really love escalate the conflict. I don’t recall you saying that. You probably did say that to me a long time ago, but that’s a new thing for me is just raising the stakes, intensifying it. But when you establish conflict, how do you establish it? CV (17:02): Yeah. You have to recognize where, where it’s established and what happened. So when I ask people the question in that story, where is the conflict established? A lot of times they’ll say something like when you wanted to leave or when he was giving you more money. No, the moment the conflict is established is the moment something gets in the way of your dream or your goal. So it’s not when I wanted to leave nothing’s wrong yet. It’s when he said you can’t leave home, that’s it. So what you would look for in your story, Rory is the conflict is the moment where something gets in the way or someone gets in the way of what you’re looking to accomplish. Okay. RV (17:40): By definition means you have to have a goal. And that has to be clear. There it is. And then there’s gotta be something that gets in the way in order for there to be conflict. CV (17:52): I remember Darren LaCroix used to talk about Charlie Chaplin. He had, he had Charlie Chaplin had broken it down really well. I think he had like a, there was a bench and there was a girl and he was trying to get to the girl. And then it was something that got in the way. And that was in a nutshell what conflict is. Right? And that’s what a good story will do. You will establish the conflict. And here’s the, here’s the other thing about the story, Rory to many people, pre ramble, they pre ramble. What I mean by that is they take too long to get to the story in the first place. And then once they get to the story, they take way too long to get to the conflict. You should get to the conflict as early as possible. Because the earlier you get the conflict, the earlier you have them hooked in right away. CV (18:34): And a lot of times I try to get to the conflict in the question like I’ll tap into my audience’s world before I transport them into my story. I’ll tap into their world by saying, what do you think is the number one thing that stands in the way of most people live in their drinks, some already starting to establish some of the conflict in their own life. I learned this from Charlie, tremendous Jones, about a year before he passed away. One of the greatest speakers we had, he said to me, Craig, don’t get people to listen and memorize, get them to think and realize. So that made me become a master of asking questions at the beginning of my story in the middle of my story at the end of my story, to make sure that even though the story is about me, the message is certainly about them, them being the audience. RV (19:18): Yeah. I’m just thinking about my story. The problem is I don’t have a goal. The problem is the goal. Isn’t clear in my story. The conflict is the thing I’m struggling with is clear, but what’s clear is not, I don’t have the goal clear. CV (19:31): It’s almost like that old saying that, that, that if you, if you don’t, what’s the old saying, you don’t know where you’re going. Any road will take you there. Right. So we need to have, RV (19:42): Yeah, you gotta, you gotta know. So, okay. So let’s talk about dialogue and I don’t want to leave our audience with an unanswered question about this brilliant line that your wife delivers that changed my life and clearly changed your life. So let’s get back and talk about, okay. The F the most important part of a story is conflict. The second or a close second is dialogue. Why? And what do you mean? CV (20:06): Well, let, let, let’s give an example. Let’s give a reference. I’ll get right back into that story right after I say you dreams are overrated, right. And I’m laughing. And I say, I looked at the John said, look, John, I got to talk to my wife about this before I go, before I say, yeah. So I went home to my wife. I said, honey, I don’t know what to do. What do you think I should do? What should I do? And my wife looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, take the money fool. CV (20:34): And then I’ll go into another part of the story. But here’s the thing about dialogue. I always ask people, raise your hand. If you’d like to add humor to a speech. And of course they all raised their hand. I said, add humor to a speech, uncover humor within it. How do you do that? You uncover humor within the story, within the characters, within the characters dialogue, and within the spaces and faces in between the lines. So if you think about my story, you only heard about half of it. Think about the funny lives. Dreams are overrated. Funny line dialogue, take the money, full, funny line dialogue. And then later on in the story, my wife says to me, I don’t care how much they try to compensate you. Your dream is not for sale. Your dream is not presented. So even the poignant lines, it’s dialogue, but guess what? CV (21:23): Rory, here’s the secret to storytelling in the story. She said it to me, but in reality, she said it to you, right? Anybody listening in that audience right there will hear it the same way. I heard it feel it the same way I felt it. And she speaking directly into their hearts and minds. And I know this because people have come up to me years later and said, you know, I was looking at leaving this company and doing my own thing. And, and your, your wife’s words popped into my mind. Your dream is not for sale. It made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. So dialogue. Yes. RV (21:57): So Nan, so, and you’re saying uncover humor, because humor is one of the things that we teach. I know you talk about it. I’ve learned a ton from Darren on it and other other people, and you go, it’s, you know, adding humor. There’s a, there’s a lot to it. But one of the easiest, fastest ways to add humor is to just uncover humor. And you said, uncover it. What did you, you kind of breezed through that you said uncovered CV (22:22): From it. First thing you want to do is look inside of your story because the only thing worse than no humor is forced humor, right? That makes the audience cringe that that’s going to disconnect. You I’d rather have no humor, but you look inside your story. You look at your characters and you look at your characters, dialogue, what they say to each other and what they say to themselves as well. You know, I have a story. I say, raise your hand. If w if you feel like sometimes the reality hurts. Now, be honest. Do you ever step on a scale and been forced to face reality? Not, I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably looking at me like, Craig, what do you know about stepping on a scale? I mean, look at you. You’re obviously built, like, I don’t know some sort of Greek statue. CV (23:07): So if we just take it right there, there, there are different types of dialogue, right? In that story. And one of my favorite lines of dialogue or uses of dialogue is what I call projected dialogue. And I know this is a little bit advanced, but it’s when you project dialogue onto somebody based on how they’re looking at you. So my audience didn’t say that, but I can look at my audiences that I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably looking at me like, Craig, what do you know about boom? So I’m projecting dialogue onto them to uncover some humor. So I have usually five different types of dialogue that I like to use. It’s character to character dialogue, what they say to other it’s inner dialogue. What you say to yourself, because that’s very funny. Often it’s projected dialogue. What you project onto them based on how they’re looking at you. CV (23:56): Like right now, if I was teaching this in a class, somebody, I would say, John is looking at me like, Craig, I have no idea what, this is, what this means. Right? I’m projecting dialogue onto them. And then of course there’s actual audience dialogue. There are things that will your audience members will say while you’re in a story. Like, even in that story, I’ll say, raise your hand. If you have kids, then you know, the doctor is always going to measure their length and their, and Rory, inevitably, somebody is going to say height, and I’m going to say somebody say hi, let me explain the length. When you turn them, that actually becomes the hot, right. But so I can use actual audience dialogue. And then I can use quotations that are from outside of the story that pertain to the story. Right? For, for a quick example, when I was in prison visiting an inmate came up after one of my presentations, he said, Craig, I’m getting outta here in a few months. I’m feeling good about life. And I’m back on the right track. I said, well, there’s a quote by will Rogers who says you might be on the right track. But if you just stand there, you’ll be run over. So I can bring in quotations like that. That might uncover some humor as well. RV (25:06): I heard about it. The internal dot, the inner dialogue is inner dialogue is a gift because you can make up whatever you want. Like, and as long as it’s like exact, you know, it’s an exaggerated, there’s like no rules. They inner dialogue could be anything. CV (25:24): And here’s the key, Roy, if I thought it, then I can say it. Now, all I have to do is use a stem, like, and I was thinking, boom. And I thought, boom. And at that moment I thought, boom. And I promise you, the line of dialogue will land just as hard as if you had actually said it. So yeah, it really is a gift. But guess what? So as per the dial, because based on how they’re looking at you, they might not be thinking that it’s like when I went to share the stage with my, with my speaking hero and I said, oh my gosh, I’m Craig Valentine. I get to introduce you today. You’re the man who made me want to get into this business in the first place. Thank you so much for being here. Nothing. He just looked at me as if, to say you don’t belong on the same stage. CV (26:09): So it doesn’t have to just be humor. It can be poignant moments like that, but he didn’t say it. He looked at me as if, to say you don’t belong on the same stick and worried. That is the look he gave me, make no mistake about it. And I feel like I interpreted that look correctly, but it still gives me the freedom. And I think that’s what you’re talking about. It’s a gift because it gives you the freedom, freedom to say, now what you thought then, or to say what he looked like he wanted to say. And those are two very important ways to use dialogue. And, and, and there are, I like the way you put that. RV (26:44): Yeah. I mean, those are, yeah, that, that, it’s just like, all bets are off. You can, you can do so many things with that. CV (26:52): You see how I brought, I was able to bring in quotation from will Rogers to help push that story forward. It’s actually a Patricia Fripp story that I was going to, it’s my story, but it’s about Patricia Fripp. So anyway, that’s, those are the types of quotations types of dialogue that I like to use. And so if I was to really break it down, conflict is the hook dialogue is the heart because dialogue is what really pumps blood and pumps life into your story. If you’re ever watching a story. And I say to you, when did that story really come to life for you? You’re going to say when so-and-so said something to so-and-so right in that story, but dialogue is what makes it breathe and brings it to life. Mm. RV (27:33): Yeah. That’s that is interesting and powerful. And you know, to the, to the point of what you were talking about earlier as you, we call pillar points. I think you said you call them foundational phrases. One of the other lines that you, you said, and we quote you on this, like, I believe with a picture of you and as well as your name is you tell an eye focused story with a, you focused message that stuck with me for 15 years, man. Wow. can you talk about what that means? CV (28:06): Yeah. It’s kind of like what I was saying when it comes to Charlie, tremendous Jones, that the story is about me. Right? But the point needs to be about you. So even yelling back to the audience, you, the audience, even going back to the story about my son and me watching the Olympics, right? That story is about us. We laughed. We had fun. When I got to bring the point around to be about you never stop asking questions. The moment you stop asking questions is the moment you stop growing. The moment you stop growing we know from nature is the moment you fall, never stop asking questions. But what I also like to do is do what I call you focused. Check-Ins just like you heard me do in, in, in the one story where I, that I started to tell, I said, now raise your hand. CV (28:52): If you have kids, boom, that’s another check-in with them. Or now be honest, you ever stepped on a scale and been forced to face that’s another check-in with them. So I like to check in throughout the entire story so that they keep understanding, oh yeah, the stories about Craig. But this point in this message is about, is about me, the audience member, and I can use it. And that’s one of the things I just came out with a product about four months ago with Les brown called legendary speaking course. And that’s one of the things we’ve talked about all, all the time is info bites. He called them info bites. I call them foundational phrases, but they should be three things in my mind, foundational phrases, fewer than 10 words, you focused meaning focused on the audience and rhythmic. Now I don’t mean they need the rhyme. CV (29:38): I mean, they need to be easy to say and they need to roll off the tongue. Your dream is not for sale. Don’t get ready, stay ready. What got you here? Won’t get you there. I know that’s Marshall silver, but I had been talking about it for like five years before he wrote that book. But what got you here? Won’t get you there. Never stop asking questions. Average speakers placed blame, average leaders, place, blame, exceptional leaders. Take it. If you make, if you, if you make them visible, they’ll make you valuable. These are all of these foundational phrases that I have. And they’re all you focus. So I focus story message about me. I’m sorry. Stories about me. You focus point where the point in the message and the application is for you. RV (30:18): Yeah. You know, and this is so powerful. I mean, you can see why, like, what what’s amazing about this is, you know, when I stepped into speaking in the world championship and started learning from you guys, to me, it was like this very unattainable, almost like mythical skill of how to captivate an audience. And the more I studied this, the more I realized there’s so many techniques like dialogue and conflict that, you know, and using a foundational phrase that exponentially improve the impact in the experience for the audience. And it’s, it’s, it’s not that you’re, it’s not that you’re not amazing and charismatic as an individual, but everyone can be charismatic. But these mechanics, these are, these are practical things you can learn to do. And Craig is one of the masters, as you could tell, just by how these little tweaks make such a huge, huge difference. And Craig, that’s why I was like, I gotta have you on, got to introduce you to everybody. Where do you want people to go? If they, they want to learn more about, you know, this kind of stuff. CV (31:31): Remember we talked about never selling the product, always selling the result. This is what I would say to my audiences. I, if I’m in front of an SRO, raise your hand if a year from now, you’d like to be at least three times better than the speaker or presenter you are today. All hands go up. I said, well then great. You can go to one of my websites for free 52 speaking tips.com. That’s five, two speaking tips.com. And every week for a year, you’re going to get an audio lesson for me. And at the end of that year, you will be at least three times better than the speaker presenter you are today. So Roy that’s where I would have them go. But also if we just broke that down for a second, what was the result? Three times better? What was the resource? The website 52. CV (32:12): Speaking to which one that I mentioned first in an audience, somebody will say free. They will always say, but it’s the result. And that’s what I like to get across to people never sell the product, always sell the result, but always put the result before the resource, always as a leader, find a way to state the result before the request. Because if I did it the way most people do it, Rory, even people who are marketing people, it would have sounded like this. Raise your hand. If you’d like to receive 52 emails from yeah. And I don’t think my opt-in rate would be as high. So you go to 52 speaking tips.com and you’re going to be three times better than the speaker you are today within one year. RV (32:50): Yeah. This is Craig Greg Valentine. This is one of the people who coached me and still coaching me. I mean, this, this conversation is powerful and sharp. There are so many things you can listen to my recap with Aja here in a couple of days, we’ll break it down for you. What our big highlights were in the meantime, go follow Craig. You know, give him some comments, share some social media. Love, let them know that you’re listening. Say hi, check out the 52 speaking tips.com. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes, Craig dude, thank you for your impact on my life. I mean you and Darren and ed and mark and Dave, like, you know, David Brooks, I’m referring to like you guys helped shape me in a lot of ways that I can look back and go a lot of, a lot of what we have done in our career and what the people we’ve been able to help points back to. A lot of these things that we’ve learned from you. CV (33:42): The Royal, I just want to tell you, you, you were a champion on the day that we met and you still are, and I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing and keep touching lives. RV (33:51): Thanks brother.

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