About Ryan Foland
Ryan is a Global Keynote Speaker and Managing Partner of InfluenceTree, a personal branding accelerator that teaches people how to build their brand, get featured in publications, and grow their social media following. Ryan’s clients include New York Times bestselling authors, venture capitalists, and Fortune 500 executives. His 3-1-3 Method and 4V Experience helps executives harness the power of vulnerability and authenticity to build a better, more relatable, more profitable brand.
Recognized by Inc. Magazine as a Top Marketer and named a Top Personal Branding Expert by Entrepreneur Magazine, and a 4 time TEDx speaker whose talks have been named in Top TED lists by Forbes, Mashable, and Inc. Ryan works with thought leaders to create and syndicate content that reveals their whole self to drive differentiation, growth, and loyalty.
Introduction: (00:43) Ryan Foland is a global keynote speaker and managing partner of Influence Tree, a personal branding accelerator that teaches people how to build their personal brand, get featured in publications and grow their social media following. Ryan’s clients include New York Times bestselling authors, venture capitalists and fortune 500 executives. Recognized by inc magazine as a top marketer and named a top personal branding expert by Entrepreneur Magazine and a four time TEDx speaker whose talks have been named in the top Ted lists by Forbes, Mashable, and Inc. Ryan works with thought leaders to create and syndicate content that reveals their whole self to drive differentiation, growth and loyalty.
Mary Drumond: (01:26) Hi Ryan.
Ryan Foland: (01:28) Ahoy.
MD: (01:28) How are you?
RF: (01:29) I’m doing fantastic. I am living the good life. And that also includes bad stuff that’s happening, but just approaching it with a good attitude. So I like to make sure that everybody knows when I’m doing good, but there’s also an opportunity to be real. And there’s a couple things that I’m just dealing with that are annoying. So it’s, you gotta take the good with the bad. And in fact sometimes when things aren’t good it helps you really appreciate the good. So with all that being said, I’m good.
MD: (01:57) Well thanks for that because that gave me a very good cue to just go straight into the book that you just wrote.
RF: (02:04) Nice. Well it is top of mind and sometimes I tell people lately I feel like a chicken, like a ginger chicken and that’s because all I seem to say is book book, book book, book, book, book book. But I love it. It’s good. I really think it’s our best work. So I’m happy to talk about it. What do you want to talk about?
MD: (02:21) Well. So let’s start off by just kind of introducing you to the listeners and who you are and what you do. And then tell us about the book.
RF: (02:31) Well, if you picked up on the first word that I said, it was ahoy. And one of the things I’m most excited about in life is sailing. It’s a place where I can disconnect. It’s a place where I can connect with nature. So if you want to know why I love to sail is because my parents are educators and I grew up in a family that were both teachers then both principals and then both administrators. So our entire life was on a summer schedule when everyone was off in the summer, we’d head over to Catalina. So a big part of who I am is a connection with nature. But that led to a problem when I got back home because all of my friends had not seen me for three months. I had a lot more freckles and bleach blonde hair. So I basically was a great target for being bullied. So classically my early years were of strife and hiding and crying and feeling bad about myself, until my pop came in and told me, you are joining karate. Let’s do it. And I channel my inner Daniel-san. My ginger-san, let’s say my ginger san. And it really was the first lesson in communicating without talking. And I think that’s where I first picked up on the power of presence. And that has carried me through lots of successful failures in the startup world. Landed me at a university, the university of California Irvine initially to run their entrepreneurship program. And then I rattled the cages so hard, I was convinced they were going to fire me, but instead they made up a new position for me and put me in front of close to 30 undergraduate programs. And I’ve since convinced a Vice Provost the importance of building his personal brand. So in higher education I tried to get faculty, administrators and leaders to leverage new forms of communication and put themselves out there. And in the real world outside of the university, I help convince executives and thought leaders to be a bit more authentic. And that just means sharing the bad and their version of ugly along with the good. And I happened to have written a book about that last concept, which is called Ditch The Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You with Greater Success. And I wrote it with Leonard Kim, who is a business partner and we are both very different people. We’re like unlikely partners. But what’s great is that we fill in each other’s gaps. So that’s me in a nutshell, from a sailor to a ginger, to a martial artist, to someone who loves the art of communicating. So I like to say that if I’m not speaking, because I love giving keynotes and workshops, then I am likely sailing because I like to be far from the stage when I have a chance.
MD: (04:59) So if someone were to ask you, like in a speed dating scenario or something like that, what do you do? How would you label yourself?
RF: (05:06) I tell them actually it’s not what I do that’s important, that it’s the problem that I solve and that’s what’s most important.
MD: (05:14) So this is a customer experience podcast and we try to explore that in every single conversation that we have, regardless of the industry that the guest positions themselves, you know as like as a main career path, because we do believe that customer experience kind of overlaps almost everything and it’s the essence of any sort of negotiation or transaction or purchase. So in your case, let’s refer to you as a speaker, as a keynote speaker because public speaking is your forte right? That’s where you spend most of your time, other than sailing, of course.
RF: (05:51) I will tweak that a little and say it is my sharpest tool, and I enjoy it the most, and I really encourage people to focus on the things that they enjoy doing and then work that into what they end up doing. And so yeah, I speak from the stage, I speak through my computer, I speak on podcasts, I speak around the world. Yes, I am a speaker.
MD: (06:11) And recently I was on your podcast as well, even though I’m not sure which episode is going to come out first, whether it’s going to be mine on yours or yours on mine.
RF: (06:19) Podcast for podcast right here.
MD: (06:25) But when I was on your podcast, I was talking about speaking through podcasts. I feel like I’m saying the word podcasts a lot, but essentially a lot of people might not think that this is an industry where you’d have to even consider a customer experience because you’re not selling a product or a service other than yourself and your talents and your thought leadership, et cetera, et cetera. But there is, right?
RF: (06:53) My brain is the product.
MD: (06:53) But you still have to sell that, don’t you?
RF: (06:58) Trust me. Yeah. Nobody necessarily wants my brain. I have to convince them that it’s going to help some sort of problem that they have, and when I do and they listen and the problem’s solved, then they’re a happy customer. But I agree with you wholeheartedly. Now, let me take a step back because I’m very particular about words and I really dive deep into the rabbit hole when it comes to certain words. And I love to talk about the difference between general terms and specific terms. And using a general term like “every” or “all” is sometimes very dangerous because when you say customer experience impacts all industries, what you’re doing is you’re setting yourself up for one person to poke a very small pin needle in it to prove the whole thing wrong. But, I actually agree with you in this standpoint because without the experience of a customer there is no transaction. Even if you’re saying well, online transactions, there’s a before, there’s a beginning, there’s an afterwards and I think that with selling yourself and selling parts of your brain and convincing people that you can solve their problems, it’s very much customer-centric, if you want any kind of long term sustainability,
MD: (08:07) Well you know most of the time, people end up thinking customer experience and they think enterprise, they think of hundreds of thousands of customers. They think of the macro. And very few times they think about influencing a single individual or in the case of a speaker or a consultant or an author, they fail to see how what you’re providing might actually impact the quality of the sale or the quality of your success, really. I don’t know if it’s because we’re so kind of addicted to the idea of seeing customer experience, at least in the industry, where it’s like, okay, Verizon, you know, hundreds of thousands if not millions of customers or Comcast or all of these big brands, especially retail or like a business-to-consumer that we forget that there’s an entirely other side to the business that lots of times gets overlooked.
RF: (08:57) Yeah, and I’m going to defer to my mother on this one because mothers have Sage advice and one thing that she told me long ago is that it only takes one person. And I think it was something in middle school, you know where you’re expecting either a lot of people or it’s an event or you have a little something that you’re presenting and hardly anybody shows up. So your expectations are messed with and we always have those expectations going into things and ahh the audience isn’t as big as I thought, blah blah blah. Or Oh, this conference seems to be blah. I didn’t get what I wanted out of it. But I always go back to it only takes one. It only takes one person in the audience. It only takes one person on your webinar. It only takes one person. And I’m saying this in a positive way where you know you have an ability to positively impact that one person. But if you take the same thing and flip it, all it takes is one person that has a bad experience in today’s world where they have more of a reach than ever and a public platform to just speak up. And it could take one person that you either disrespected, that you threw under the bus, that you broke their confidence and that could, in turn, throw your entire business underwater, because people get to see what’s really going on behind the scenes. So I think customer experience is a reflection of what’s really going on. And you know, you can fake it for a certain amount of time, but if you’re just a mean person or if you’re just a jerk, you’re not gonna end up pound for pound delivering great customer service. And the world will equalize itself and you will no longer get clients or be in that type of business.
MD: (10:30) Especially when you have such a public facing role where so much is actually riding on your reputation.
MD: (11:06) For you to be a speaker and, you know, you do TEDx, you do these big huge macro events and everything. If you’re going to get on the stage, you’re going to command that audience, that audience is going to listen or people are going to pay to hear you speak and pay to get a piece of your brain, like you said, they won’t do that if they don’t admire you. If they don’t respect you, right?
RF: (11:28) Or they might get stuck in the audience because they bought a ticket for the conference and then they happen to be paying attention to you, but then you don’t impress them or you don’t deliver the customer service, and again this is before, during and after. Then that person is not going to follow up with you. They’re not going to follow you, they’re not going to connect with you, they’re not going to ask you to help them solve their problems. One thing I heard you say, these little words I like cause you said pay and just want to make a clarification that oftentimes we pay with time and it’s just as valuable as money. So it’s not just paying the money for a ticket to get into a conference or paying for a ticket to go to an event. You are paying your attention and when you pay your attention to something and it’s not worth that time, that is a bad customer experience.
MD: (12:12) Oh, I like that. Pay attention.
RF: (12:14) Yeah.
MD: (12:15) I’ve never thought of that. But it’s very true.
RF: (12:17) It’s a good thing this is being recorded. So now you can go back and this is an audio note. No, but if you think about it, time is money and we paid money, but we don’t think about paying time. And as your time becomes more and more public then you have to be very careful about how you are presenting yourself. I ask people, and I’m sure you do the same if they have a personal brand, I gave a three hour workshop yesterday to a whole bunch of Brazilians speaking of which, and they came all the way from Brazil and they’re doing this immersive training and I was able to share the 3-1-3 with them and the concepts — Wait a minute, I think I forgot what I’m talking about. I was going Brazil, I was going pain. I was going time.
MD: (12:59) Workshop.
RF: (13:00) Workshop. I think I lost it.
MD: (13:03) No, you’re talking about time.
RF: (13:05) Yes. Uh, I think maybe…
MD: (13:10) Do you want me to cut this out or do you want to keep this in there for authenticity?
RF: (13:14) Oh yeah we’re definitely keeping this. You can even keep the ask in there. I got all excited about what I was talking about there.
MD: (13:22) You got excited because Brazilians are amazing and you were so excited to share the whole Brazilian experience with us that it just kinda blew away the rest of everything you were speaking about. That’s what happened.
RF: (13:34) Totally. Totally just boom. Boom, blew it away. So yes, paying attention is time and money and you know, you have to really look at the value that you’re creating, not just when people are paying you money, but when they’re paying you with their time.
MD: (13:52) And in your case you’ve got two separate customers, right? You’ve got the person who books you for the audience or books you for the event or for the speaking opportunity. And then you’ve got your crowd. The actual audience. Yeah?
RF: (14:09) Yeah, think of it like almost like a B to B to C. so you have like B2B, so you’ve got the customer relationship between the person. Are you emailing them back fast? I had somebody reach out to me asking if I would be interested in speaking at their event. And thank you Josh Linkner for teaching me this. It’s just with absolute just fervor. I replied as quick as I could and then calmly hit the send button and they responded. They’re like, wow that was so fast. Thank you for getting back to me. Cause imagine they’re probably reaching out to three or four people at the same time. But like I hit him in the inbox within a minute and that was like this customer experience and I was like, yeah, ginger’s are fast. And now I’m trying to be funny. I’m trying to build rapport with them. And so it’s like they’re the broker to get me in front of the larger pool of clients that are my customer and could be a long tail customer.
MD: (14:57) And then what’s it like when you actually have to provide an experience for the audience?
RF: (15:02) I’m going to give the general answer, which I don’t like, and then I’m going to go specific. The general answer is really being authentic. And I’ll give you an example. I was speaking in Haiti and everybody before me, it was like a two or three day conference, you know, they get up on stage and they do the classic like “Hey Haiti! How’s everybody doing?? How you feelin?”
MD: (15:30) “I can’t hear you!”
RF: (15:34) And everybody, you just saw them like, ehhh. So I get up and I say, well first of all I started speaking the wrong way, which is funny. Like I face towards the back wall and started talking for a couple seconds to throw them off and then I’m like turned around. I’m like, Oh there you guys are, so like a good little frame break showing my humor. But then I said “everybody, I am not going to ask you how good you are. I’m not going to ask you, can you hear me? I’m not going to try to get you to cheer. You know why? Because nobody wants to do that right now because all you’re thinking about is how hot you are, how sweaty you are, and how miserable the weather is at this moment.” And everybody just went, all of a sudden they were there and they all laughed and laughed. I said, so I’m going to ask you how you’re feeling and I want you to feel comfortable telling me how you really feel. Are you hot or not? Ladies and gentlemen, how are you feeling today? And everybody’s like, “I’m so hot, I’m so sweaty!” And at that moment I was like, we’re in this together. Let’s do this. So there’s an example and I think people are selfish on stage and if you’re selfish in your business, whether it’s on stage or whether it’s selfish with your time or selfish with you wanting to invest in this customer experience, when you’re selfish on stage, you’re worried about yourself. You’re worried if you look sweaty. And I think I said, I am sweaty and ready. Let’s make this happen. And I was sweating. I was like, if you’re on stage and you’re worried about what you look like, if you’re super nervous about what’s happening, if you’re trying to, you know, pose for the phones that come up when the pictures are taken, when you’re trying to push social media because you’re not thinking about the audience, but you’re thinking about trying to make sure everybody else can see that you’re at that conference. Those are all selfish things that you’re more concerned about you. And so when you really let the audience know that it’s not about you, it’s really just about where you are at the moment to serve them. I think that can come across pretty quickly. And then you open up people to invest their time, because they can still sit in the audience, they can start to pay attention to you and then they will pull their time credit card and they will go onto their phone or they will be other places and you won’t even know.
MD: (17:44) Well, if you think about it, that’s hella customer centric, as a speaker.
RF: (17:48) Even if you’re not from NorCal, it’s very hella. Even if you’re not from NorCal.
MD: (17:54) I mean, I know because I do the freaking conference circuit all the time. One thing that happens and for me it’s a very clear example of how sometimes just generally out of touch speakers are with their audience. I’m Atlanta-based. And one thing that people need to understand once and for all is that no one refers to Atlanta as Hotlanta. We don’t, please stop. And it’s so annoying. And if you say that to an Atlanta crowd, people are going to flip you off. You know? And I have seen some major speakers take the stage and they’re like, what’s up Hotlanta! It’s like *woo, scattered soft claps** because people hate it. So you know, I think that getting to know your audience or even just pondering that for a couple minutes or asking someone local or, or maybe running your presentation or your keynote by someone who’s in that area or who fits the persona that you’re addressing to find out if it actually lines up with people’s expectations. I think that’s crucial.
RF: (19:05) I think what you’re talking about is research and that’s a key point. I think we forget that. So when I go to these places, especially out of the country, to speak, I will make a point of trying to get there a couple of days early and really try to just enjoy the town, talk with people, immerse myself. And that is customer research, that is really a necessary part to deliver something that is catered, right? So you talk about customer experience, maybe we should add another seed to it. So it’s catered customer experience. You’re being a servant customer leader and really trying to keep them in mind and you gotta leave your ego at the door to do that.
MD: (19:40) Absolutely. Um, you know, I remember me growing up as a good old ex-pat kid, and I grew up in Brazil for the people who don’t know, and I remember watching a Pearl jam concert in my early teens and Eddie Vedder got on stage and at some point in the middle of the concert, he had memorized this whole speech in Portuguese. And honestly it was atrocious. Like you could barely understand what the man was saying, but it was such an emotional experience for the crowd that he had gone out of his way to not only just say, Obrigado or something like that. He had actually learned an entire speech to give to that crowd that night and people went wild. They probably couldn’t understand what he was saying, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because everyone there felt so special at that moment. They felt so seen
RF: (20:37) It was the effort. When you put effort into things, people appreciate it. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. You remember the Brazil thing? You said Brazil and I re-triggered it. We were talking about reputation, and I was going to give an example that, you know, part of my goal is to continue to speak internationally and get out there and just have an amazing excuse to visit these amazing countries. Like Brazil. And here I am, three hours of my time invested. Sure I’m getting paid. I left everything in that room. I freaking threw down my 3-1-3 rap. I was like super vulnerable. I gave everything. And I did that not only just because of who they are in the audience, but these 50-75 Brazilians, now have a mindset of my reputation based on their experience. They’re going to all go back, cause they’re all from these big companies in Brazil to try to learn about innovation, they’re going to go back to their company and they’re gonna be like, Oh my God, there was this crazy ginger. We should think about bringing him out here. So your reputation is more than just what people see or think it is the tool to gain more customers.
MD: (21:40) Absolutely. In some way, you’re causing memorability, which is what we talk about all the time on this podcast. Finding a way to actually create an emotional connection, with your public or with your customers, that creates a memory, because it’s a peak. One way or another, it goes kind of off the normal for a second. And that makes people remember you. I remember the first time I read Thinking Fast and Slow, which is a freaking amazing book, and I talk about it all the freaking time and I know people are tired of it, but the brain eliminates 80 or 90% of everything that happens in our lives. It just eliminates, it’s just gone forever. And we have these flashes of very specific things that for some reason are consolidated into our memory. And that’s what you have to go for if you want people to remember you, if you want to stick out, if you want to be on top of mind. You have to create some sort of emotional connection. And sometimes it’s being a crazy ginge. Sometimes it’s learning Portuguese for a night.
RF: (23:12) Yeah, absolutely. And I actually refer to what you’re talking about as an anchor and I believe it’s a technical term about something that you remember and I also know that you have a choice to like anchor a link. But I’m a sailor. I actually wear a chain around my neck that is an anchor whenever I’m sailing, and I just tend to think of things in boating terms and I equate this customer experience as like an anchor, right? You have all these boats floating around and passing by in your brain. But if you can throw an anchor out and like snag into some flesh in the brain, that’ll always be there. And when you want to be top of mind, it depends on how many anchors you have out in different people’s minds.
MD: (23:52) Especially in speaking. People watch like, I dunno, in a single conference how many speakers will someone see? Like an average.
RF: (24:00) Oh, I mean some of them, they’ll have a hundred speakers, but half of them are on panels and then you’re stuck between different tracks. So I would say you’d probably see four to five a day if you’re aggressive, like at Social Media Marketing World. So you could see easily like 10 to 20, sometimes people pop in and see a little bit and then they leave. So yeah, there’s a good amount of boats, speaker boats that are going through your brain.
MD: (24:23) Plus there’s like fatigue isn’t there?
RF: (24:25) Oh yeah, totally fatigued. Well that’s why one of the things as a speaker you have to find what makes you memorable. Right. Josh Linkner is amazing. Shout out to Josh, go check him out. He’s like the top innovation speaker and I love what he does. He’s a jazz musician. So he brings his freaking jazz guitar up there and he talks about innovation in relation to jazz music and like it’s entertaining. I’m not a jazz guitarist, but I’m the ginger MC and I rap. So within the first couple minutes of the talk, I rap and then at the end I typically will rap it up and I actually, I have a 3-1-3 rap and I actually am working on my Ditch The Act rap.
MD: (25:08) And how did people react to that? I mean have you tried that rap in Atlanta? How did that fly?
RF: (25:14) Oh not in Atlanta, oof. Well **rapping begins** here, here is the deal. Let me give it to you real. The key to connection is to learn to reveal. You see, you are not perfect and neither am I and that is the exact reason we can see eye to eye. You see everybody’s different, but we are all the same. To be perfectly imperfect is how you win the game. If you only showcase good and do not share the bad, you will miss connections that you never knew you had. People ask me all the time on how to build a brand. I tell them that it’s something that they already have. It’s a combination of between two simple things. [Here’s why I’m still working on it] is what we want to be known for and what people think. If you learn to ditch the act and learn to be yourself, you learn to have conversations that help people help you out. When you meet people and they ask you what you do, make sure that you ditch the act and always tell the truth. **rapping concludes** It’s still a work in progress, but you know,
MD: (26:05) Okay, season four of Voices of Customer Experience podcast, I just want to make a note, was the first time that we’ve had someone rap on the podcast.
RF: (26:22) I thought you were going to apologize. **laughter**
MD: (26:22) **laughter** You know what? How often do people actually remember what you said or is it more what you did like what part of it is more engaging?
RF: (26:32) So the people who end up clapping along, they obviously remember it. There’s still some people who are just watching like, is this really happening? Well and I even like try to clap and then like I cue them and then some, Oh my gosh, the Brazilians, all I had to do is give him like two signals and they were just like clapping the whole time and it was crazy. So do you know the concept of latency and recency?
MD: (27:00) I don’t.
RF: (27:00) Okay, so they’re terms that refer to what you hear first or what you hear last. And actually there are studies, and I can’t name them right now, but when you experience somebody’s talk or somebody’s presentation, the law of recency and latency means that you will most likely remember the beginning and the end, not so much between.
MD: (27:23) And any peaks in between, come on.
RF: (27:24) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Actually there is research done through a TEDx or through a Ted talk about the most effective type of speech. And they broke down all of the famous speeches, including like, you know, I Have a Dream and some John F. Kennedy stuff and all these real powerful speeches that have lasted the history of time. And they actually chart it all out and they show that it is a specific pattern. Where you go down into the depths, you go down to the depths and then you pop, you lifted everything up and then you end up going back down, back down, and it’s almost this heartbeat to where you can really see. So yes, it’s about the peaks and valleys, not so much in the middle that people really resonate with. So when you think about it, so important to have a strong opening and it’s so important to have a strong closing. And I think that if you have the ability to, if you can incorporate stories, a story in the beginning, a story in the end, it’s very easy for people to remember the beginning and the end. And also it’s easy to remember stories. So you give them a chance to translate who you are or what your talk is about.
MD: (28:26) People connect empathetically, right? When you’re telling stories.
RF: (28:30) Okay, so I’m going to get a little meta here on you. People don’t care about your story. What they do care about is how they see themselves in your story. And if you’re portraying a story that is only shiny and glimmery and gold, we are missing opportunities to connect with real people who do not have shiny, amazing lives. They might have peaks, but we all have valleys. So people don’t care about your story. They care about how they see themselves in your story. And from a customer perspective, when it comes to being a speaker with the audience and the event planner as your customers, you can’t just go out there and say like, yeah, I’m a total bad ass. Everything that I do is amazing, because you’re not going to relate with those people.
MD: (29:10) So keeping it real, let’s say?
RF: (29:13) Keeping it real. Yeah. And there’s a specific, and we talk about this in the book of how it’s very hard to just like all of a sudden share bad stuff, but we talk about five levels of exposure and the goal is to get people to know you so they can like you so they can trust you and the only way they’re going to get to know you is if you share how you’re human. So little stupid stuff that you say to yourself or that you make mistakes on or you spill water on yourself or you’re late. All these little things that we don’t necessarily share, from a customer experience perspective when you share those little things, like having a pimple before you go up on stage and being nervous about it and then tweeting that out and then it being the most engaged tweet of an entire 4-day conference. People get to know you. And then once they know you, then they can like you and then they can trust you. And I think that that’s true for most customer service experiences. There’s gotta be an element of relatability. And I guess on one extreme, if you’re going to the super high end, because the one way to debunk the generalities is to go one extreme or the other. So if we go one extreme on like the most expensive high end products ever, you might think like, well, people aren’t being real, they’re not being authentic, they’re just being sort of fake and phony. Well fake and phony and materialistic is very authentically real for people who are super, super rich and that’s what they’re doing. So you can still connect with people based on their own reality. But at the end of the day, I want to get people to know me. And here’s one final example cause I feel like I’ve been talking for a long time, but that’s okay because I’m the guest. So, I had two recent deals, inbound requests to speak large honorarium, full deal, like full pop for me and I lost them both. I came down to the final two and I lost them both and I was pretty upset about it but just still motivated. And the next inbound requests that came in, in the conversations as we’re talking, I mentioned to him that I just lost my last two deals and that I knew why and that it didn’t really phase me and I’m just excited about what I’m doing and it felt really good to share it and I think he respected me for it. And that project is moving along really well. So it’s all at what level you want people to get to know you. And people are have guards up and you don’t just all of a sudden go out and be like, Hey everybody, this is me, my real me. It’s just about finding that balance between personal and business. And I know I said I would stop talking, but this is the last thing I’m going to say. **laughter** People tell stories that brands can’t and that’s why it’s important in your customer experience to put people in front of it, myself in front of it. You know, in front of your product in front of your company. So you can tell those stories.
MD: (31:46) I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s very on point. I don’t think people follow brands. I think people follow people. I think that when you’re conducting any sort of negotiation, you’re not negotiating with a brand, you’re negotiating with a person. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a company and then people as separate entities, I believe that they are one in the same and you’re always speaking to a person. Sometimes we forget that, sometimes the person on the other side forgets it. Sometimes people hide behind a brand or a logo or a company facade. But it’s really important I think on both sides of the negotiating table to remember that it’s always people. You’re always just talking to another person. And the truth is that I believe that the world is much smaller than people think and what goes around comes around for sure. So always treat people with the same respect that you’d want regardless of whether you have the upper hand in the negotiation or not because you’re going to be on the other side of the table at some point really soon.
RF: (32:45) Yeah. And if you don’t have something really good to say, then refrain from saying it because things can be taken out of context. And especially when you’re in a a spot where some people consider you a thought leader, because, you know, it’s not like people consider themselves thought leaders. But when people are really looked up to and they have a large following and there’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes with that. And so if you throw somebody who is just new to social or is just new to their career or they’re totally green and they’re just sort of stumbling their way through life just like you did. If you throw them under the bus, you look like a total jerk. And the other thing I want to say, which I was very quiet about when you were giving that little monologue talk about all the amazing reality behind the fact that people are behind everything. I had my hand straight up and I was wiggling my fingers really fast. You know what I was doing?
MD: (33:33) No. Were you sending me positive vibrations?
RF: (33:37) No. That’s sign language for applause. I was clapping the whole time and just wiggling my fingers. I wasn’t being rude like clapping out loud, because I would have distracted you but I was like you were on it. So I was like wiggling my fingers.
MD: (33:50) Awesome. Well Ryan, thank you so much for being on today. It’s been very real. Tell us where to grab your book. Tell us how to find you. Tell us how to book you.
RF: (34:03) Yeah, to find the book, go to ditchtheact.com and you can follow the book on all social platforms @ditchtheact. If you want to find me, this ryan.online I’m going to say that again, ryan.online. It’s very difficult to remember
MD: (34:28) You should considering trying to get a better one right there ’cause that one’s difficult.
RF: (34:33) Yeah. So there’s my anchor I’m going to throw over and hopefully that sticks in your brain. What? Ryan.online. It’s this guy, Ryan. Where is he? I don’t know. He’s online. What should we do? Let’s put ’em together and put a dot in between. Oh, Ryan.Online. That guy. Cool.
MD: (34:47) Awesome. And which social media channel are you most active on? So we can follow you there.
RF: (34:54) Twitter, Twitter.
MD: (34:55) I follow you on Instagram.
RF: (34:57) Yeah, I’ve been told I should get my Instagram game going on. Like I should put my face on there more. I just don’t know. You’ll have to teach me, convince me to like the platform a little bit more. I just like Twitter.
MD: (35:09) Just do that pimple story. People will probably gravitate towards that.
RF: (35:15) Okay. Done. Yes. You know, pimple, we’re going to call this a pimple-vation. Motivation by things that we all have.
MD: (35:23) Awesome. Amazing. Love it. Thank you so much, Ryan. Um, let’s talk soon.
RF: (35:27) Yeah. Gobble gobble.
Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at survey tech startup Worthix, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.