About Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a leadership communication trainer and has been working in this domain for 20+ years.’ He is a leading body language and speech expert and holds a Master of Science degree in speech pathology. Michael is a popular media commentator and writes The Winning Voice weekly blog post on all aspects of memorable listening, speaking, and presenting.
Many leaders struggle to make an impact when delivering important presentations. Michael’s programmes help leaders communicate their ideas and vision with confidence, energy, and certainty. Leaders who work with Michael deliver influential presentations, win more pitches, and grow thriving careers. You can find all of Michael’s programs on his website michaelkelly.com.au
Lesson 1: Every person is fighting a battle that I know nothing about 05m 16s
Lesson 2: Have great respect for high intelligence and culture BUT… 07m 02s
Lesson 3: All agreements are with yourself 10m 16s
Lesson 4: We are what we pretend to be. So therefore… 13m 07
Lesson 5: Show up on time and do what you say you’re going to do 18m 04s
Lesson 6: Complete the task in front of you 20m 46s
Lesson 7: Maximise the number of positive impressions you leave 25m 33s
Lesson 8: Project Energy 31m 17s
Lesson 9: Project Certainty 33m 13s
Lesson 10: Simplicity Sells 36m 14s
Michael Kelly – 10Lessons50Years
Duff Watkins: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the podcast 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn where we provide shortcuts to excellence by dispensing wisdom, not just information or mere fact. To an international audience of rising leaders. My name is Duff Watkins, and I am your host. This podcast is sponsored by professional development forum, which helps young professionals of any age, accelerate their performance in the modern workplace.
On this podcast. You’ll hear honest, practical advice that you can’t find in any book. And that’s because. Took 50 years to learn these lessons. Today’s guest is Michael Kelly who transforms leaders into master communicators. Michael has been doing this in Australia for about 150 years. Okay. Now I just made that up.
It just, it just seems that way because he works with all the major banks, all the pharmaceutical companies, all the senior executives in so many industries. In fact, I can’t turn on the TV, pick up a magazine or newspaper without seeing him being quoted because he’s the go-to guy in Australia. Anytime they want to critique of the prime minister’s performance or a us presidential candidates’ debate performance. He’s the guy they go to. So, we’re going to go to them too. Hi, Michael, welcome to the show.
Michael Kelly: [00:01:19] Good to be with you Duff.
Duff Watkins: [00:01:21] I was on your website. Did you have a quotation? It says every time you speak; you’re auditioning for leadership. And I thought my, why did Michael tell me 50 years ago? I could have used that then. You, I happen to know I’ve known you for a long time. I happen to know you didn’t start out as a master communicator. You started out as a speech therapist and then made the transition into business. So, I have two questions for you.
The first is what was your first lesson in business?
Michael Kelly: [00:01:49] Hmm. Yeah. Great question. I started out in the nineties Duff and I was a speech pathologist, and my lesson was this. I should have worked for a company in the presentation training industry before I started my own business, hung out my own shingle.
The thing was, I was in, I was a speech pathologist. I knew about voice. I was at a high level. What I was not a high level in was in running a business. And I would have shaved many years off my trajectory of my business and career. If I had gone to work. For a company such as Rogan. I don’t know if you know that now they were there.
I could have worked for them, but I think I was just a bit too haughty, yeah. So, I should have done my time and learned about business, which is now I know now, but then I was a lot of really things I could have learned from other people,
Duff Watkins: [00:02:48] you know, it’s funny. I my version of that is if, if. Kids ask me when they’re in university, what should they study?
Actually, Michael, nobody ever asked me that, but if they do, I have this answer prepared for them, I would say whatever you study, what have you major in. Study that, but also study business because probably in your life you’ll end up in business and, and it’s, and it, as, you know, businesses, a colder in this such a bubbling cauldron of wants and passions and desires and livelihoods.
So, your, that lesson certainly resonates with me. Okay. Question number two. What have you unlearned? And by that, I mean, something that you absolutely positively knew to be true. Then, but now no, no, it was not correct at all. And you wonder how you could have thought that in the first place.
Michael Kelly: [00:03:41] And again, that goes to the beginning of business where I hold heard all these motivational speakers says recite mantras, and you will succeed in business.
So, I would recite these mantras, and nothing happens. And what I learned was the universe rewards action. So, if you, you think that just reciting these mantras and you’re going to be successful that’s where it’s very dangerous. And I don’t believe that now I like mantras, but if it’s not paired with action.
That’s where the dangerous. So, what do they say? Professionals just show up and get to work. They don’t need inspiration. So, I don’t believe the mantra is the, I don’t believe the, you know, the book, the secret.
Duff Watkins: [00:04:32] I’m proud to say I have not read it nor will I believe.
Michael Kelly: [00:04:34] Neither have I.
Duff Watkins: [00:04:35] I know. I know. I would be disappointed if you had read it, Michael,
Michael Kelly: [00:04:42] but that, yeah, just get on, do the work take action. So, I guess to sum up mindless mantras, I’ve given up. And I don’t believe.
Duff Watkins: [00:04:52] Yeah, good. Well, it’s I think the psychological phrase for it is magical thinking and, and we’re all prone to it, by the way. I mean, that’s why the popularity of such books and, and I mean, no one is immune. Not me. Not you, not anybody, but it’s true.
All right. 10 lessons. It took you 50 years to learn and I’ll have a little list here. So, the first one. You say every person is fighting a battle that I know nothing about. How can this be? How can I not know anything about it?
Michael Kelly: [00:05:18] Well, this comes from a friend of mine and while it made an impact on me. I run a lot of workshops I do one-on-one training. And when I run a workshop, a group workshop, I sit in the audience and I imagine that I’m a participant. And I think what would I like from the person at the front of the room and what am I bringing to this workshop that has nothing to do with improving my communication? Money problems, health problems, family problems, relationship problems, work problems. Maybe they’d lost their phone last night. And then I think, okay, if I was bringing all that, what would I want from the person at the front of the room? Well, no there’s stuff. Well, take themselves less seriously. Take what they do seriously. And I shared this with one of my Commonwealth bank executives who needs to take beta blockers before he presents any presentations,
Duff Watkins: [00:06:14] To lower the anxiety.
Michael Kelly: [00:06:16] Exactly. And he had to present a lot and he said, you know, Michael, now I do sit in the audience. Realize that everyone is fighting battles, just like me. And that has calmed me down on this lesson, my use of these drugs, which can be dangerous. And he was taking them. Many every day. And that’s where the danger lies.
Duff Watkins: [00:06:36] Yeah. Just to get through the day it’s there is a saying it’s been attributed to many people, but it’s, be kind to everyone for their carrying a heavy burden. And the point is you can’t see the burden. You don’t know what the burden is and that’s what your first point struck me.
Yep. Okay. Point number two, you say have great respect for high intelligence and culture, but…
Michael Kelly: [00:07:00] Yeah, but never stand in amazement of it. And this comes from Abraham Lincoln, former US President, so Lincoln, and it just struck me. So no matter who I interact with. I have great respect for their intelligence, for their culture, for their expertise, but I’m never fawning.
And never. Oh, you’re so great. And I think that’s what you need to do, particularly in the corporate world, you know leaders, there’s a lot of leaders that shouldn’t be deified Jeffrey Pfeffer (Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University) for you may know of his work. Great article. Why the assholes, a winning. Money trumps all and money you can do virtually anything. You can get away with it if you are sufficiently rich and sufficiently powerful. So, I, my, my point is that no matter who you’re interacting with. Sure. We’ll respect their intelligence, but don’t deify them. And with realize that these executives, some of them don’t deserve respect and you shouldn’t watch them and see if their actions match their behaviors.
Duff Watkins: [00:08:10] Well, as a performance coach of many years. Yeah. Amen brother now. Okay. And you don’t need moral fiber to make money. We know that. Now my question how, or when did you learn.
Michael Kelly: [00:08:21] that?
I read a lot, like you Duff, and I just read a book about Lincoln and people, what they said about him and, you know, they say he was obviously amazing guy that could hold dualities at the same time, but yeah, I probably about five, six, seven years ago. And that really resonated with me. So yeah, I think it’s wise advice and I think to famous people or whatever, they don’t want fawning. They want just to talk to them, you know, don’t, don’t talk up to them. Don’t talk down to them. Just level with them.
Duff Watkins: [00:08:57] I think one of the observations I made the fawning, and the deification persists because it works so well with people. Unfortunately.
Michael Kelly: [00:09:07] Yeah, it does. And as you know, in the corporate world is a lot of politics and obviously you have to negotiate that. But Pfeffer says look after yourself because leaders won’t look after you and understand what gets rewarded in your organization and not rewarded and then chart your course, that may mean at some point you choose to leave your organization station.
Duff Watkins: [00:09:32] That is an excellent point. That is rail politic in the corporate world. And I spent a lot of time telling younger people about that. And well, because I work in executive search, I, you know, I say to people that company that you’re so loyal to, so committed to, so and so that you value so much, they would put you on a street in the heartbeat if it suited them and they should. Because the company needs to survive. That’s the most important thing for them. So, and that’s the reality of it. But anyway, that aside, this next point, your, your next point is one of my personal favorites. All the agreements are with yourself. You say, tell me more.
Michael Kelly: [00:10:09] Yes again, I got this a long time ago from Jack Canfield (Jack Canfield is an American author, motivational speaker, corporate trainer, and entrepreneur. He is the co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series). You may know the name and I listened to I don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s true. And wasn’t what do I mean by that? Well, I’ll give you an example. I have made an agreement with myself that I will exercise every day. So, since 2010, I’ve probably missed no more than 10 or so days. And why is that important?
Well, if I do not exercise every day, I would have broken an agreement with myself. And then when I want to do other things, I might see myself as untrustworthy. So that’s why keep your agreements with yourself. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. And then you will, when you think, can I do this or not? Well, I’ve kept my agreements every day for the last decade. In exercise. So very simply that.
Duff Watkins: [00:11:02] Well, the reason why that’s so important psychologically is because you are a universe of selves and there’s, there’s various, you know, there’s lot of selves in Michael there’s, you know, Michael, the father, Michael, the husband, Michael, the mate Michael, the business guy, Michael, and on and on and on.
And they’re they have competing priorities. And so, and when you break an agreement with yourself, basically, you are eroding your self-image or yourself esteem in some ways. Now you’re, you’re able to negotiate with yourself. In fact, you need to. Because you have, you’ve gotten all these competing use inside you.
I’m sure here there’s a part of you that says not today, Michael, we don’t need to go for a run or go to the gym. It’s pretty early in the morning. It’s cold outside. Oh, is that you? Is that me? I don’t mind, but whatever, but, but yeah, you have that people have these internal conversations. The point is to have some sort of consistency and internal discipline because it’s for your benefit.
I mean, you, you go to the gym for your benefit, right? Not for. Not for anybody else’s?
Michael Kelly: [00:12:07] Definitely. And I don’t go to the gym. I don’t think you need a gym. I have a routine every morning. I never want to get up at 10 to six stuff, but I do. And now the body knows the routine. It just almost moves without I don’t have to think much about it cause it knows the movements.
So that’s why, but I do think if you say you’re going to do something, we’ve got to make it onto another point related to that.
Duff Watkins: [00:12:35] Yeah. Yeah. But the, the important thing is to not undermine yourself by breaking agreements with yourself. Indeed. Okay. Next point. It’s a quotation from Kurt Vonnegut (American writer) as I happened to recognize we are what we pretend to be so therefore…
Michael Kelly: [00:12:53] …we must be careful what we pretend to be. And as you may know, it comes from his book Mother Night, and it was about a us double agent in world war two who became a Nazi propaganda minister. The thing was, he forgot, he worked for the Americans. He pretended to be this Nazi propaganda minister.
So with my clients, what I often say when I’m working with them, I’d say, okay, Duff, if you are my client, you’re at this level for the next seven days, I want you to pretend that you’re at a high level. You don’t tell anyone, but start acting, carrying yourself, speaking, listening, like you are at the higher level. And then when I emailed them a week later on, say, Def how those how’s the pretending going. And then I’ll say, if it’s going well, keep pretending until you’re no longer pretending. And it doesn’t resonate with anyone, but I had a guy at Caltex, and I asked him.
Duff Watkins: [00:13:52] Big oil company, fuel company, Caltex.
Michael Kelly: [00:13:55] Actually it’s called Ampol now here in Australia, but he said, you know, Michael.
People are reacting to me differently. I’ve been pretending for seven days and I can feel they’re interacting with me in a different way. So, I think we should be careful you know, how, what we pretend to be, and I think it can be useful. So that’s a one that has resonated with some of my clients.
Duff Watkins: [00:14:21] It’s also a psychological true truism acting as if is the principal in the military.
That’s the way you get promoted. You act you perform act and behave and the rank that you want to be used to. If you’re a Lieutenant behave like a captain, and then you’ll be promoted. Well, you’ll have an opportunity to be promoted to one. But you can’t act like a corporal and be promoted to a captain.
Michael Kelly: [00:14:44] And this reminds me of a story of Sydney Pollack. The actor, then he became a director. He since has died, but this is a true story in, I think it’s Warren Bennis. His book page shared this when Pollock was making the transition from actor to director. He was really nervous. He says, I don’t know if I can do that.
But then he thought, hold on, I’ve worked with directors all my life. What did I do? Well, they get the flak jacket, they get the director’s chair, they get the megaphone, they bark out orders. And he said, you know, I’m just going to act as if you’re a grit. This boy, Dolly sounds like a director. So, I think but I do think I don’t like the phrase fake it till you make it, because I don’t like the word fake and people can see those. And I think take it to make it as good in the short term, unless you’re continually flicking it. That’s delusion. act as if I use that phrase. That’s what I use.
Duff Watkins: [00:15:38] Since you quote Sydney Pollack, who is an Oscar winning director that he went back to acting before he passed away. But acting is the metaphor that I use because an actor, a really good actor, they will inhabit a role. I mean, I’ve okay. We’re in Australia. So, I mean, I remember seeing him, I was watching a movie and this woman, this actress was so, was so she was she was performing as she was inhabiting the character of Virginia Wolf. The English, British writer, and I’m sitting there racking my brains, trying to figure out who is this actress?
Who is this actress? I could see the Virginia Wolf, but I couldn’t see the actress. And of course, it was Nicole Kidman. Now. I mean, I sat across a table from Nicole Kidman and I, and I still didn’t recognize her because she inhabited the role so thoroughly so completely. And she won an Oscar for that. And that’s my point. People give you awards when you inhabit roles. So thoroughly, so comprehensively, so, so well, and when you’re a leader, it’s a persona. persona, an old Greek word for mask. You know, you, you, you, and you know, this is what you tell people to do. Get up there, act like leader, speak, like leader, behave like leader because that’s what people want, and you’d expect.
Michael Kelly: [00:16:53] Yeah. But I think the distinction is it can’t be too different from who you are. It cannot be false. So, you have to try on some new ways. And experiment, and that can be difficult for people, but yeah, I think act as if how you dress and it’ll get onto another point, I think later about that.
Duff Watkins: [00:17:13] And that’s the point be careful who you pretend to be. And the thing that, that I, that I’ve learned is no role is beyond you. Me, anybody listening now, some are a stretch, big stretch, and some are simply not worth it, but. Yeah, you can all do them to varying degrees of success. The question, and I, I think that’s the importance of your point to me is just careful what you pretend to be.
Point number five, show up on time. Do what you say you’re going to do finish what you start now. It seems kind of leading obvious to me, Michael, what’s a, what’s the wisdom in there?
Michael Kelly: [00:17:49] It is. I know at first blush, I would say Duff, I say this to everyone who wants to go in to do some business deals with me.
It’s do what you say going to do when you say you’re going to do it. That’s a, an addition there I go to people and you’d be surprised how many people cannot do those things. I have people that come and say, Oh, Michael, let’s do some business together. I say, sure. Send me something. Never heard from them again.
And they want me to introduce them to someone. In fact, I’ll tell you a story. I was with a recruiter maybe a year or two ago, and I was a little teasingly saying you know what, those are my show up on time. Do what you say going to do when you say you’re going to do it, finish what you start. And I said, you’re probably not going to do that.
And he said, Oh yes, I will. And guess what? He didn’t do that. So, it’s, you know, I’m surprised I’m really amazed in this competitive world of business Duff that people can’t do those things. Sure, there’s emergencies, sometimes things happen, but that’s fundamental to the way I operate my business. And it may seem too simple to be effective, but doing it, it’s just like a lot of my techniques stuff. They sound simple and I’ll talk about them. But the execution well executed or just executing them.
Duff Watkins: [00:19:06] Well, they are simple, but there are significant too, as you’re pointing out in your quiet right, it goes back to your point about keep, I mean, what is business to me? Businesses keeping your agreements with people.
Well, what does a marriage, what does relationships keeping your agreements? And if you can’t keep the agreement, don’t make them the bloody thing. And the first place, you know, it really is just that simple. Don’t enter the agreement and Yeah, I was sort of jesting, but, but if, you know, your life becomes a lot simpler, if you simply keep your agreements first with yourself and secondly, with other people, and remember all those agreements are voluntary, nobody makes you go into them.
Michael Kelly: [00:19:45] And I, you know, sometimes you may want to change an agreement then, you know, things change. So, I think you’ve just got to speak up and say, look, Def, I said, I was going to do this. I’m not able to do this now rather than just. Not contacting you and letting it just melt away, but yeah, that’s, I think that’s the fundamental one that’s paid off for me.
Duff Watkins: [00:20:04] Yeah. And I think your, why it is often overlooked, you know, it is it’s, it’s so simple, so straightforward, but is often overlooked and there is a cost to overlooking it. Point number six, complete the task in front of you…
Michael Kelly: [00:20:17] with as much excellence and elegance you can bring to it.
Again. I like how things are phrased. I like words and how people string them together. This comes from David Allen of getting things done fame. And I heard him on a podcast with Tim Ferriss and such a down to earth guy. And so how does that play out? Well, when I do a prepare for a piece of work and I think I’ve done a good job in preparation, I’ll still spend maybe another 15 minutes or so asking myself, how could I make this better?
How could I complete this task in front of me with excellence? And elegance. And sometimes as you know, you’ll find one or two more ideas to make it sharper, to make it tighter. And you know, it aligns to Jeffrey, get him his favorite phrase. If you are not on fire, you will lose to someone who is, and just to elaborate a bit for further, when I help people with pitch coaching, I say, this is a key, very key point, W E C I D, which stands for what else can I do that my competitors won’t do. And I most people don’t ask that enough because, you know, in competitive business situations, there’s very little difference between the winner and second place. Would you like me to share a story about that?
So, number of years ago, I think it was in nineties advertising pitch. A company was going a million dollar launch deal. So they had competitors. They actually won the pitch. So they went back to the CEO who assigned them. The business and he said, why did you give us the business? And this is what the CEO, well, you know what? We didn’t know who to give it to. You are all much the same.
When I drove into your car park for the final presentation, you had erected on a stake, my name on a plate for me to park my car. And after I turned off the car, I said, Hm, they really want this. That’s why. You’ve got the business. Now, could you predict that Duff? No, but you see, they kept asking the question, what else could we do that our competitors won’t do?
And what’s the difference between cheesy and not cheesy it’s through the eyes and ears of the person you’re presenting to. So they thought, okay, how would this come across? Yeah, no, we’re going to try it out. And most people don’t take those risks. So, I think that’s maybe aligned to that. Excellence. And just as another aside, there was a competitive pitch in the nineties and the company that get the business, they went and did the same thing. Why don’t you give us the business? They said, well, you sent your PowerPoint slide deck before the presentation and in the nineties, that was. Really seen as spectacular. So again, just little things.
Duff Watkins: [00:23:01] Yeah. So W E C I D what else can I do that might end up that my competitors. So, keep asking, you know, if you keep that revolving around, you might get the li a lot of the ideas will be.
Not abuse, but sometimes you may get a gym, like thinking about that stake in the compound.
Michael Kelly: [00:23:21] We’re, we’re, we’re talking about movies. There is a writer, a director Richard LaGravenese. I think I’ve used; I think he wrote the movie, the Fisher King. He said something that reminded me of what you’re saying.
And because you know, when you’re wide a screenplay or when, or when I. No, when I write a LinkedIn post or an article or published anything, I know you, you, and you do draft after draft, after draft, after draft. And the point that he said is this, there is always a better idea. And if you sit there and think about a long enough and hard enough, you’ll find it. You’ll find it. And that’s been my experience.
Yeah. And Duff, let me give a commendation to you. Your blog posts that she sent. Oh, your LinkedIn posts are fantastic.
Duff Watkins: [00:24:04] Thank you. I appreciate that. That’s a bit of therapy, a bit of fun. You said complete it with as much excellence and elegance as I can bring to it you can bring w what do you mean by elegance?
Michael Kelly: [00:24:15] Well, there’s sure excellence get the result, but how you handle yourself? How the Polish. The manner in which you deliver for me, my information, I think should have some elegance. I think some grace, some, some class. So, it’s not just hitting you with these ideas.
Sure. I’ve done these, but it’s maybe how in the manner that you deliver it just so I don’t, yeah. I just think about that as well. I think the excellence is the most important, but I think the elegance. Can be a little extra as well.
Duff Watkins: [00:24:49] I think, well, I always style is not to be despised. You know, people we liked that people respond to that point number seven, maximize the number of positive impressions you leave.
Michael Kelly: [00:25:01] every time you interact with someone and phones and impression and a potential for loss or gain. If you maximize the number of positive impressions you leave, you’ll maximize your hit rate and getting what you want. Whatever you want in this world of COVID Duff.
I see a lot of CEOs with beards and shareable way more casual. Now the potential perception is, Oh, you were too lazy to shave. Not that you shouldn’t have a beard, but a lot of people don’t realize what they’re signaling with their dress, how they speak their lack of attention. And as you know the backgrounds and how they, you know, rushing is junior owning time is senior.
Duff Watkins: [00:25:47] So say that again, because I think that rushing is junior. That’s the behavior of behavior of a junior person.
Michael Kelly: [00:25:54] Owning time is senior. Even if you think you’re not rushing, if it’s perceived, you’re rushing, you’re rushing. And Duff in speaking terms, it may be only fractions of a second. So, you may know about the presenter’s misperception of time.
So, when the speaking spot time tends to go like this, yes, but from the audience, it’ll go like this. So, the best exhibit because leaders, they never rush. They take their time there. They can be quick, but they don’t hurry. And it’s owning that time and it’s often the beginning of an interaction.
And do you know, seniority is signaled by response time?
Duff Watkins: [00:26:33] Tell me more.
Michael Kelly: [00:26:34] When you asked me a question how quickly I respond, determines how senior I am. Senior people take a little bit more time before they start speaking. And again, not a lot of time. And, you know go with a few ideas related to this.
When you enter a video meeting like this, or a room radiate, warmth, and acceptance and calm enthusiasm. When we radiate warmth and acceptance conversations, just seem to flow. Enter a room with a level of calm and a level of enthusiasm. We attract people toward us. And you may know about the research of Nalini Ambady Harvard university professor on two seconds to a long-term impression.
I think a lot of people miss the opening and you know, what is the face signaling as you know, a person is first known by their countenance. This facial expression. A lot of people don’t know it signaling, particularly when they enter a room, they looked a little dazed or distracted and CEOs, particularly now with video meetings, need to be aware of what they’re signaling.
Duff Watkins: [00:27:41] How important is this or this to be in a person’s life? For example, I mean, I got to tell you, Michael, I don’t go around trying to maximize positive impressions. Of course, that would explain a great deal of my life by the way. But nonetheless, how concerned should have okay. A young up and coming person, how much time should they spend fretting about that?
Michael Kelly: [00:28:03] Yeah, I don’t think fretting is the word. Just be aware. You’re always sending impressions. You know, how you dress as you, you know, how you enter a room, what you say, what you don’t say. So, I think it’s overall, that’s the overall template to be aware. That some people like in a meeting Duff, you know, when you’re not speaking, some junior people will say, oh no, one’s watching me.
Of course, they are the senior person, a lot of senior people look at a boardroom and around the boardroom and they might think, Oh, who looks like they have something intelligent to say now? Nope, Nope, no. Oh yes. Playing with their hair or they’re playing in doing all these things that doesn’t say your present, you should be intelligently curious when you’re listening.
That’s how you should be perceived by the people and you’re, you’re there. The other thing I would say, just as an aside for physical meetings, when, after you come into a room, radiating, warmth and acceptance and common, the acronym is S O D A. Stop observe, decide act. You may know it comes. It’s an adaptation of John Boyd. Do you know, John Boyd, the OODA cycle (The OODA loop is the cycle observe–orient–decide–act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd.) anyway, people can re research that he was a military strategist.
Duff Watkins: [00:29:18] I do know John Boyd. Yes, yes, yes.
Michael Kelly: [00:29:20] Augmented soda. I think people come in the room and they keep walking. You should come in the room and stop. Because if you’re rushing and you’re moving in, that may be perceived as again, junior.
So, you stop observe the situation. You’d say, Oh, there’s a projected there. I’m not going to sit there. This side, I’ll sit there, then act. And this may only take a few seconds, but I think how you handle your body, and we haven’t got even onto body language, how you carry yourself. I like self-possession rather than presence, Duff.
I think presence is overused. What do I mean by self-possession? You are in possession of yourself when you speak, when you don’t speak, when you move, when you, don’t, how you act. And I think that’s what you want to develop in possession of your entire self. Not letting someone else rush you.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:11] I prefer your term to self-possession is something that I can do. Presence is something a bit too amorphous? I know, I know there are coaches and businesses around establishing presence, but it always has been a bit ethereal to me.
Michael Kelly: [00:30:24] Yes. I agree.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:25] Okay. I’m hanging with you so far in these first seven lessons. Number eight though. I’m not so sure you say project energy. That sounds like bullshit to me, Michael, what you mean?
Michael Kelly: [00:30:33] Great. Great. Well, Duff energy is 70% of the job if you don’t have it be nice.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:39] If you don’t have any energy, be nice? What’s plan C what am I don’t have either of those?
Michael Kelly: [00:30:49] You know, people that have no energy and they’re not nice.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:51] Yes, I do.
Michael Kelly: [00:30:53] Energy can overcome a lot of foibles. I just remember this, and this is an aside, I was in a workshop and someone was doing a mock presentation and he was making no sense at all, but I’m still listening to him and I’m thinking, why am I still listening to this person, his energy and his voice and his manner and his face.
And you’ve got to get feedback about that. You know, Duff your energy is more memorable than your words.
Duff Watkins: [00:31:18] So you think the audience remembers the energy more than the rule?
Michael Kelly: [00:31:23] Yes, I do. And think of the last two weeks, think of all the words you have spoken still, your energy is more memorable than your words and you know, the famous Maya Angelou quote. I think it’s something like this. People may forget what you have said. But they will never forget how you made them feel. So, I think it’s aligned to that. And as far as energy, Duff energy is the secret sauce of video meetings. Cause this medium suck energy. So, you may, and I have techniques I may not go into them to get a little bit of sharpness with the energy.
For example, think of your voice as a laser and a projecting, maybe a little bit beyond the camera and these video meetings. Yeah, so I think the energy people don’t realize how much they may need to do more, particularly for video meetings, than they think.
Duff Watkins: [00:32:11] Okay. Okay. I’m persuaded. Okay. I got it. Now I’m convinced, but number nine, number nine, I’m going, I’m definitely going to argue about this project certainty you say now, come on. Isn’t certainty. Isn’t that? The source of modern, evil in the world don’t we have, and that’s the trouble with all these pseudo experts and these people as certain certainty when in fact it’s nonsense.
Michael Kelly: [00:32:33] Yes. I agree with you. Totally. It can be used for the dark side, but what I, and let me give you my take on it.
People will believe your certainty. They may not know if an idea is good enough, but they will believe how certain you are. That it is a good idea. And to be clear, it’s not about bluffing. Trying to convince you that I know what I’m talking about when I’m not, but when you’re a certain project certainty, most people who are presenting to a group, a domain expert, the person who they’re presenting to is not the domain expert.
They go on the body language, the voice, the structure the message, how many words they speak. So, yeah, I, and there’s a caveat here. Obviously say we were, I was the MD, you reported to me. Sometimes sure. I might say Duff, we’re in a tough situation. And I might, you know, say I’m not certain how we’ll do this, but I have a plan.
So, I think when you need to have a plan, if you’re a leader but I, I see a lot million-dollar deals, lost stuff. When the person pitching, it came across as a bit uncertain when it was clearly the right thing to do. So that’s where I’m getting at it’s aligning, you know, because people look and they, they think is this makes sense.
So, I think it’s, and that’s why video record people. You should look at yourself and is it genuine, but it does it project certainty. Or sense of surety if you will.
Duff Watkins: [00:34:04] So selling, for example, which means I am trying to persuade and convince somebody or, or, and which we do all the time, not, not just selling, but trying to influence somebody. Then, then if I come across as ambivalent, uncertain, unsure that. Undermines me.
Michael Kelly: [00:34:23] Yes. And even if you don’t have a definitive answer, you know, you might say enough to me, what’s the, what’s your best? What’s your opinion on this? Well, this is my best view. 80% option. A 20% option B, but your manner of delivery still has an element of certainty.
Duff Watkins: [00:34:41] Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Gotcha. Okay. So, so it’s not just overt bullshitting. I really don’t believe this, but I’m going to try and persuade my goal of this. It’s actually, I’ve done my thinking. I’ve done my analysis. Here’s here are the best recommendation I’m persuaded and convinced of it. Now that let’s see if I can persuade and convince you of it.
Michael Kelly: [00:34:59] Yeah. I think perceived genuine energy and certainty sells. So, if you perceive me as genuinely entered genetic or enthused about this idea, you want to buy, but the genuine is important.
Duff Watkins: [00:35:15] Yeah. Okay. Good point. point 10 simplicity sells.
Michael Kelly: [00:35:20] Hmm. This comes when in doubt, strike it out. If a sentence doesn’t advance the case, drop it.
This comes from luminary speaker, former premier of New South Wales. Bob Carr. And most people say too much complexity confuses. What I find I in my work, I’ll say, Duff, I want you to come to this consultation one-on-one consultation to give me the first 50 to 75 seconds of a presentation. Often at the end of that 75 seconds, I’m saying I don’t get the message. What is it? And then I’ll say Delph, I think it’s this. And then the person will inevitably say, yeah, that’s it. And then I’ll say, why didn’t you say that words matter Duff, how many words you say matters, how you sequence the words matters. For example, I could say to you for the success of this project, your support is crucial.
It’s much more powerful to say your support is crucial for the success of this project. So, don’t start with a phrase and, you know, the famous Thomas Payne statement the American revolutionary said These are the times that try men’s souls. He didn’t say trying times are these for men can all the other variations. That order words is why we remember it. 200 plus years later.
Duff Watkins: [00:36:44] There was a guy who made his life writing propaganda in the positive sense of the word. He was a fame pamphlet tear. Well, I mean, he moved people, so am I, and you’re quite right. Just, you know, speaking as a writer, what you say matters, how many words you use, how you say it, all that matters. And. You know, if there is a doubt, strike it out. One thing you learn when you’re presenting, no, actually, why don’t people do it? Well, I think you just illustrate because they, as they say in the newspaper business, they bury the lead. They don’t the most important thing in a newspaper called them goes right up front in the first paragraph, the first sentence, because they want the reader to get it.
And a lot of people don’t do that because they don’t know what the lead is. They don’t know what their point is.
Michael Kelly: [00:37:31] And they haven’t made the effort beforehand to distill all those amorphous ideas into simple language. And this is an important point for younger people. The biggest complaint of senior people, of junior people, when they’re presenting, they tell, give too much how, not what, this is how we did this.
We did all this studies. I don’t want to know that. Tell me what you want. Tell me simply project energy and certainty, answer questions about it. See you later.
Duff Watkins: [00:37:58] Yeah. And hurry the hell up would be my next step.
Michael Kelly: [00:38:00] And then they’ll invite you back because you haven’t wasted their time.
Duff Watkins: [00:38:04] But you know, you’re right. Because so many people, Oh, I’m going to just say young people, but I guess they’re prone to it, but I see it everywhere. Yeah. The, the wider, the speaker, the whoever’s delivering the messages. They simply won’t take the time to exert themselves mentally, psychologically, emotionally, whatever physically to do the thinking, to pair the message down.
So that resonates with the, with the audience. And that’s why they need to hire you. So they won’t have to do any of the thinking and they can just let you, they can pay you and you can do it for them.
Michael Kelly: [00:38:37] Well, I helped them do it. This is one thing I mentioned that my clients just thought of this, the higher you present to the less you say inversely proportional.
So just, you know one of my clients that’s Commonwealth Bank is retired. John O’Donald says one of the problems people make with presenting, they don’t size the audience right. Do the measurement. What’s this audience, what do they want to hear? Why am I here? What do they need to hear? What they do? They don’t meet to hear.
Yeah, but I think that comes back to energy. I think energy to put the energy before you start to present, and people appreciate that that you’ve done the work. Even if you, you know, younger people, it can be intimidating and boardrooms. It can be intimidating the leadership teams, but they will appreciate being concise, simple projected with energy and then certainly.
Duff Watkins: [00:39:27] No, my experience with the fewer, the more senior you are, the fewer, the words, as you know, I’ve done a lot of hosted a lot of conferences, events, and things. And the more senior the person is, the briefer is the introduction, for example. And then the PR people will send me pages and pages of stuff. And I just, you know, edit it out because I don’t have all, when I’m introducing somebody. I don’t have all the time in the world, but the really simple ones are. Ladies and gentlemen, the prime minister of Australia, I mean, says it all. You know, I don’t need to know what his, what his apprenticeship was back then. And so, the more senior you are, the fewer words are required to communicate. And then that applies to writing, speaking to if I understand you correctly.
Michael Kelly: [00:40:11] Hmm that’s true. I agree.
Duff Watkins: [00:40:14] Michael, we have an international audience of rising leaders. They desperately need your help. How do they contact you?
Michael Kelly: [00:40:19] Sure. A very simple as you see on the wall here https://michaelkelly.com.au/. And that’s my website that has everything I’ve written over 500 plus blog posts. I’ve analyzed, for example, master speak of Barack Obama, 10, 15 times. So, my, what I do, I think one of my clients said this my breakdown of after someone speaks of where they need to improve, that’s my skill.
Someone will say something, and I’ll be able to identify the two top areas they need to work on first. But yeah, that’s https://michaelkelly.com.au/
Duff Watkins: [00:40:53] and do you give do you get free consultations to people who don’t know if they need your service, but they contact you there?
Michael Kelly: [00:40:59] Yeah, I’ve this is what I do if on the phone 15 minutes or so happy to talk to anyone.
If someone comes to North Sydney in Australia, It fits into my time table buys me a coffee nearby. I’ll give them 30 minutes or so and give them everything I know in that time that I believe that can help them.
Duff Watkins: [00:41:18] You’re a generous guy. You’re a generous guy, but I will say there’s about 2 million testimonials on your website. So, I mean, if, if you got the time, you can go read those, you know, if you want. So, we’ll finish here today. We’ve been speaking with Michael Kelly of Michael Kelly communications services, and you are listening to the international podcast. 10 lessons took me 50 years to learn. Today’s podcast has been produced by Robert Hossary and is sponsored by the professional development forum. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions, podcast, parties, everything, and, and they’re on. You can find one website, www.Professionaldevelopmentforum.org with the best of all, it’s free. All free. So, we’ll finish here today. Thank you for listening to us. Please join us on the next episode of 10 lessons, it took me 50 years to learn shortcuts to excellence for the next generation of leaders.