Grant Baldwin: Welcome back to the Speaker Lab Podcast. Today we’re talking with my buddy Arel Moodie, who is a speaker and just a good dude. Arel and I actually met almost a decade ago when we first started speaking. We’ve crossed paths a lot over the years. Spoke at several events together.
In this episode, he shares a lot of specific strategies, things that he has done that have really worked for him in how he’s built and grown his business. One of the other things also is that Arel hosts a podcast called The Art of Likability.
And so we spend some time chatting about that as well, and the importance of being likable as a speaker. How do you build some of that likability into what it is that you’re doing and building that rapport and that connection with audiences as well as decision makers?
So a great episode for you today. Excited for it. Let’s get right into it. Here’s my chit chat and my conversation with my buddy Arel Moodie.
How are you, man?
Arel Moodie: Happy to be here, brother.
Grant Baldwin: Just listening to you brings a smile to my face. He’s the type of guy that just puts you in a good mood. How’s life treating you?
Arel Moodie: Oh man, things are going great. Just spent the last week at home and I’m looking forward to hitting the road and doing some events in six days. I’ll be in four different states. So I’m really excited about it.
Know your time zone
Grant Baldwin: Hitting all the time zones, it sounds like too. Do you ever have those days where you wake up in the hotel, especially when you’re going from city to city, and you’re just kind of like, all right, what time zone am I in? Where am I supposed to be right now?
Arel Moodie: I haven’t actually had that. Because one time, , this is a true story, I spoke in a town that was on the border of New Mexico and Texas and New Mexico is in Mountain Standard time, but Texas is the airport I flew into, which is Central.
So when I drove back, I lost an hour that I didn’t know existed. Now I’m extra paranoid about time zones. So every time I fly, I’m like, all right, what time zone? I always change my watch. I will not let that time zone crash happen ever again. So I’m very on point with it.
This is actually really crucial when people are doing their sales calls. Like when you’re speaking and you’re getting clients on, it’s crucially important that you always confirm the time. Whenever I’m doing a sales call, I’ll say, “Okay, I’ll call you at three o’clock Eastern Standard time.”
Because a lot of times people say, I’ll call you at three, but then that person’s three may be a different time than you. So it’s really important. There’s actually a great lesson that comes from this. Always confirm time zones when you’re setting meetings, because you don’t want to set a time that you miss and then you miss a speaking opportunity because of it.
Snapshot of Arel’s business
Grant Baldwin: Very true.So why don’t you give us a snapshot today of what your business is like, what organizations do you speak to? What market?
Arel Moodie: So I spent a large portion of my time in the student entrepreneurship space for a lot of years. We had something called the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour where we did these half day events teaching students about entrepreneurship.
We did that for years, and we took that to a seven figure business. So it was really successful, and we had a huge network of speakers, and it was an amazing experience.
And then in 2012, I had my first child. And for any of us who had children, we know how that creates a change in your paradigm. What I realized is one of the things I wanted to teach my children is you have to go after your goals and your dreams, even if they don’t seem logical.
And speaking to a lot of these low-income, first generation students, and I know you speak to a lot of these students too, was really what my passion was. So I had to make a really tough decision, that even though business was going well, to exit the entrepreneurship space and go into more of the student success and the empowerment space.
So that’s where I decided to go in 2012. I created a business called College Success Program, and it’s been great. We’ve taken that to over half a million dollar business and it’s really powerful in how we connect and communicate with the students who need it the most by leveraging different opportunities.
And now we also have a new business called Art of Likability, which is what my podcast is based on.
So if anyone listening wants to learn more about how to build relationships, it’s a great podcast to do that with, but it’s more about all the skills I’ve learned running a business and teaching people how to have relationship skills, how to become better leaders, how to become more likable so they can use it as a tool to become more successful.
And that’s geared more towards businesses and associations and more of the professional world.
Grant Baldwin: And I want to touch on that a little bit here. Because I think that’s so important. Speakers, one of the things I always talk about is that speaking is a relationship business, and people do business with people they know and trust, both with clients, with other speakers.
You and I have a good friendship today because we’ve built that relationship.
Speak on what you know
But a couple things that you mentioned there I’m curious on. So I know for a lot of speakers that are listening to this, one of the challenges that they have is there are different markets that I’m interested in or my topic, whatever it is that I could speak about? Who should I speak to? I could speak to anybody.
I want to talk to humans and people in general, but that doesn’t really work from a marketing standpoint. So you’re someone who could speak to a bunch of different markets and it’s evolved. So talk us through how you landed on choosing to speak to students, even the niche within students of who you were speaking to and then how that’s evolved over time.
Arel Moodie: Yeah. It’s really important when you’re deciding which niche to speak to, that you one, truly, fully, deeply understand that market.
And two, you have credibility that what you’re teaching makes sense. In the beginning of my career, I was so excited to speak, and I don’t know if you had this experience, you did anything. People’s like can you do money management? I’m like, of course. I read a book on money management.
Grant Baldwin: I do puppets and juggling and magic too.
Arel Moodie: Of course, I totally do shadow puppets! In the beginning, if someone said, could you do this? I said, yes. But the truth is I really wasn’t the expert on money management. I wasn’t the expert on a lot of these things that I was saying I could do.
And what I found is that when I was on stage, I felt like I was just regurgitating information that I had read in a book, and it wasn’t something I knew. There’s a difference when someone like a John Maxwell is telling you you need momentum to change your life.
You believe it at a different level because John Maxwell has that experience versus that newbie speaker who’s saying the exact same thing John Maxwell is saying, but it falls flat. It’s because they don’t have the knowledge and experience.
So I think the first decision you have to make is, which audience do I understand? Which do I know?
And I chose students and it was simply because a friend of mine — I’m not sure if you know him, he’s a really popular guy, Victor Antonio — is a speaker and he came to speak to my college when I was a student, and I told him one day I wanted to become a speaker. And I said, “Yo, in 20 years, dude, watch out for me. I’m going to be just like you.”
And he said, “Why don’t you start now? Because you could speak to students from a big brother position where I’m speaking to students from a father figure position.”
So for me it made a lot of sense. Because if I spoke to high school students, I understood high school. I understood what I did to get out and to get into college.
So I first started with the groups that I knew, which were students, and then after running my businesses and networking and meeting entrepreneurs and growing a successful business, I became more knowledgeable about how to speak to businesses.
I didn’t want to lie to people and tell ’em, I can show you how to… I hate these speakers who are like “I’m the millionaire maker”, but they haven’t made a million dollars themselves. Don’t be that person because people see through it and then just hate you.
Grant Baldwin: I’m curious, one of the things that you said there is speaking in markets and areas where you know you have some level of experience. So it’s kind of that chicken versus the egg situation where, how do I get experience if I’m not speaking, but they’re not going to hire me if I don’t have experience.
So can you speak a little bit more to that?
Arel Moodie: Yeah. When I say experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need experience speaking. So for example, I have a friend who’s a doctor, and he’s been able to take his hospital and decrease sick rates and all this good positive hospital speak, right?
So he hasn’t really spoken outside of his internal meetings. But he knows and has information that will be helpful on how to lower sicknesses and in-hospital infections and all that stuff. So his experience is that he’s done the thing that he’s about to speak about. I’m personally against people who have not done or accomplished something, but they want to teach people from a speaking perspective how to do it.
So you don’t need experience speaking, but if you’re going to tell people about financial management, you should have your finances in order and have a system that works for you. If you’re going to teach people about goal setting, you should have some really great examples on how you set some really specific goals and you achieve them through a process.
So the experience comes from you being able to say the stuff you’re talking about, you know it. You don’t have to be an expert. Because an expert is just someone who’s two steps ahead of the audience you’re speaking to. You don’t have to be like this sage or anything, you just have to know a little.
And that’s why I like to speak to students. I know, as an adult, way more than a high school student does, so it’s easy for me to speak to them. But to speak to someone who was above me, who knew more than me at the time, to me, I would feel disingenuine. And that’s never a place you want to come from.
Narrowing down a topic
Grant Baldwin: All right, so here’s what I’m curious about. Let me push back on this for a second because there’s a lot of different markets that you could speak in, but there’s also, I think for a lot of people, difficulty in picking the topic that maybe that they would want to speak on.
So I’m interested in speaking about marriage and parenting and goal setting and fitness and all these different things that, like going back to the experience thing that you mentioned, I have some level of experience in these things. I may not be the world’s greatest expert, but I could talk about these things. How do I start to narrow down what it is that I might want to speak about?
Arel Moodie: So there’s some really specific strategies on how to figure it out, and it’s a really great question, and it is worth some time. There are two things I recommend people doing to start figuring it out.
“What do you need?” Strategy
Number one, you can do what I call the “what do you need?” strategy. So a lot of times when people speak to me, they say, “Hey, we’re looking for a speaker, or we’re having an event.” I would say, “Oh, hey, great. There’s a few ways we can do things. Tell me more about your event. What are your goals? What are you hoping to accomplish? Oh yeah, we definitely do that.” So you create more of a general persona.
Success, for example, is a really great general persona, and you can say, okay, I can talk about relationships, I can talk about goal setting, I can talk about leadership. And you develop three different genres, if you will, but you create a title and a description for each one that you feel like, here are the five things.
And at first, you have to be comfortable being all over the place and just asking people, what do you like? What’s interesting to you? What are your goals? And then you’ll start noticing people gravitate towards certain topics.
So in the beginning, I was teaching public speaking, I was teaching interviewing, I was teaching financial management, I was teaching leadership skills, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And then I noticed there were one or two presentations that people consistently kept asking for. It was the student success and student leadership. So I cut out all those other things because they weren’t something that people were asking me for.
“Fastest way to financial gain?” Strategy
The second thing I really highly recommend doing is asking yourself, what is the quickest, fastest way to make financial gains from the topics I want to speak about? So let me explain that.
So I could speak about how to build a business, and I found I’m really good at speaking to entrepreneurs, and I’m going to get entrepreneurs to teach them how to build their businesses. Now the challenge with that particular market is you have to become the person who houses the entrepreneurs, or you have to find people who’ve already corralled these people together and you guest speak at a conference of some sort. And that could be really difficult at first.
Whereas finding an audience that already is built in… So one of the things I love about the student market, for example: high schools are built in. The high school is a physical building. The principals, they have access, the superintendents have access to funds to provide services for these people.
So if I wanted to do an event and get paid a couple of thousand dollars, it’s really easy to streamline that versus building an email list, getting 700 people on your email list to get 20 people to show up for an event where they may or may not pay, they may or may not buy anything from you.
So a lot of times you have to ask yourself, where are you on the journey? And say what’s the fastest way to create a financial gain so I can move from doing this as a passion to doing it as a profession?
Grant Baldwin: Yeah, that makes total sense. And a couple things you said that I liked is one, a lot of it comes back to that initial question we always talk about: why do you want to speak in the first place?
Are you wanting to speak to get paid or are you wanting to speak just out of the goodness of your heart? And both are fine. And I think for a lot of people listening to this, most people want to speak to get paid.
This is how you and I pay our bills. And the challenge and that delicate balance is that a lot of people come from that place of, I just want to help people and I just want to speak other goodness of my heart but the goodness of your heart’s not going to pay bills this month. So finding that balance of I want to talk about things, but I want to talk about things that I can also generate income from is really important.
But the other thing you said there I liked is finding those existing events, whether it’s in high schools or colleges or those existing conferences where they’re already planning on hiring a speaker. You’re not trying to convince some group or organization that they need to bring a speaker in.
They’re already planning on hiring a speaker. So you’re just showing them why you’re such a good fit.
Arel Moodie: Yeah. It changes the game. When you look at an association or a conference or a leadership retreat, and they’re like, we need someone, then you just present yourself. Versus doing a standalone event and trying to convince people to come. So I found a lot of success in the first option of going there.
The law of duality
And I want to touch on one thing you said, because it’s so important, and I see so many people hurt themselves. When I work more closely with people, one of the things I always tell them is, there’s something called the law of duality.
You 100% can make money and create a living for yourself and make an amazing life for yourself at the exact same time that you give back help and make a difference in people’s lives. People, for some reason, have been taught that these things are mutually exclusive.
And it’s a lie because anyone who knows, and Grant is a great example, you can be a great human, a great family person, give back to your community, make a difference in people’s lives, and make a really good living doing it. And if anyone tries to teach you otherwise, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
When people say, oh, I don’t want to get paid, I just want to help people, I like to stop ’em. And I try to say, no, you should 100% figure out how to help people and get paid.
And there’s always a way to do that in any industry, in any work that you want.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah, totally would echo that.
Let’s go back to the beginning for a second here. So whenever you were getting started and you were doing that “what do you need” type of route, I can speak on a bunch of different types of topics, how are you even finding bookings? How are you finding engagements? Are you just cold calling people? Are you emailing? Are you waiting for the phone to ring? How are you beginning to get some traction early on?
Arel Moodie: Yeah, so early on, this is really simple. I made a decision that I wanted to speak in the student market. So what I did is I just went into Google and I typed in ” high schools and colleges within 50 miles of my zip code”.
So you do that on Google, and you’ll get a nice list of all of these high schools and colleges that are near you. And I would just reach out to the principals or the counselors or orientation directors or the student leadership directors at the universities.
And I would say, hey, I’m a local guy. I do speaking engagements all over the country. It’s true. I did it in a different state once. Yeah, I did. Like I was in New Jersey. I live in New York. I did it in New Jersey. So it’s all over the country.
Grant Baldwin: Spoke in Canada one time.
Arel Moodie: So you’re international, yeah. I spoke in Canada. I’m totally an international speaker. But this is the key strategy. I want people to get this.
You say, “I’m a speaker. I speak all over the country, but I really do things in my local area, and I want to do things to give back more to my local community. And I’m actually not too far from your school. I’d love to see if we can set up an event where I can come in and speak. I’m just curious, do you have any events coming up in which you were looking for a speaker? And if so, tell me about that.”
Now I send this in an email. I don’t cold call people on a phone. I really think cold calling is a miserable way to do business. Some people live by it and God bless them. But I would rather do a cold email and then see if those people respond because the people who respond are going to be people who care about a phone call.
So then I can call them. Because if you’re someone who’s busy and then they randomly call you… you don’t like someone cold calling you, so don’t cold call other people.
So I send this email out and you’ll be surprised. Not everyone will say yes, but if you send out 50 emails, you’ll have five, maybe ten people actually respond, and that may turn into two or three presentations and then you just start building it from there. So that’s the exact strategy I use and what I recommend people use when they’re first getting started.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah, I was in the same boat of it’s not overly difficult, it’s not overly complicated, but it just takes work. It’s a lot of manual labor, and you’re just sifting through to try to find the gold there.
Connect with associations
So was there anything that you did beyond googling and emailing. What else worked for you in terms of finding other engagements beyond Google?
Arel Moodie: The most effective and the most powerful marketing strategy I can possibly teach anyone is you have to find the associations. That’s basically the gathering of a type of person that you want to speak to. So here’s a really simple way to do this.
So let’s say you’re like, okay, I want to speak at colleges and I know that orientation is a great mechanism. Or I know Greek fraternity life is something that I could speak on.
So you would just go into Google and type in association for college greeks, or college fraternities, or college sororities, or association for orientation directors, or association for student success, or association for student leadership.
And then all of these associations will have websites, and every one of these associations will have a link or a con that says conferences. There’s either state conferences, regional conferences, national conferences, and then a lot of them have requests for proposals.
So an easy way to find that if you want to cut through the middle ground… but I recommend understanding the association before submitting an Ed session because you won’t get it… you just Google “speaking proposal conference student leadership”.
And then all of the folks that are accepting proposals for speakers, they can just, boom, right then and there. Say, oh, I can submit. And then you submit to speak at the conference.
You’re not going to get the main stage in the beginning. You’re going to get a little dingy room in the corner and maybe 15 people might show up, but those 15 people might be able to book you. And I’ve had situations where I’ve had 50 people in a room and book 20 speaking engagements. So it’s not necessarily a numbers game, it’s about being able to use those numbers effectively.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah, and you and I, we’ve done those 15 person rooms where they’re just throwing you a bone just to let you in. You paid for your own travel. It was an out-of-pocket investment. But part of what you’re doing there, you’re getting experience, you’re getting at bats, you’re getting in front of decision makers, which may spin off to stuff.
You’re also maybe connecting with the decision maker of the entire conference. So I think you and I have both done a lot of events where maybe we go do a free workshop one year, but maybe they pay us to do the keynote the next year. Because again, it’s a relationship business. So we’ve built that rapport and that connection with them.
Diversifying revenue streams
Let’s talk about this for a second. One thing that you’ve done really well is that you have built your business beyond just the stage. Part of the challenge of being a speaker that you and I have both run into is that it doesn’t scale really well.
You are one person in one place talking to one audience at one time. So you can’t do anything more than that audience that you’re speaking to. So talk us through how your business has evolved beyond just the stage. What are other ways that you’re generating revenue and how some of those things come?
Arel Moodie: Absolutely. So there’s a few main ways that we’ve diversified our revenue streams. A lot of these are really simple, so it’s not like I’m going to throw rocket science at you.
We created curriculums. So we looked at, what is the information that we teach, and how can we create it in a way that teachers can teach it? So we have a curriculum we put together, and we say, hey, this is a great five module program, and we give you the presentation, PowerPoint slides and you know how to teach it and the examples to do, and people can go ahead and use that.
We have three books right now, so people can buy books. And we have a lot of people doing bulk orders.
Whenever we do a presentation and I speak, one of the things I always ask is, how many students are there? Would it be awesome if we can get a copy of my book for each one of the students as a follow up? So they either buy it before I speak so I can sign ’em, or they buy ’em afterwards, after they have a great experience.
Then we got to a place where we had a lot of speakers, a lot of speaking requests… and that’s the thing that I love about speaking. I can’t do every single event. There’s an abundance mindset in the speaking world. And I want to be clear, cause you’ve spoken at schools.
I’ve spoken at schools you’ve spoken at, right? It’s not like you own the client or I own the client. There’s total reciprocity for sharing.
So we started having other speakers work for us on the other college success programs. We have five other speakers that we book speaking engagements for and make a percentage of everything we book them.
Those are the main things. And then, because of the speaking, I get a lot of people reaching out to me and saying, I want to be a speaker too, so I started doing coaching and working with people more directly to help them with their goals. Those are all things that naturally evolve if you’re doing your job well.
We also have t-shirts that we sell to people. So it’s just looking at what are the products and what are the things that people want that we’re working with? And just taking some time to create it. And it’s really not hard, believe it or not, to sell them.
Because if someone sees you speak and they really get connected to you, they want more of your stuff. They want… oh my gosh, you have a curriculum? That’s great.
So this speaking becomes this great platform for these backend sales or for you to say, oh my gosh, if you loved me, you’re going to love my friend Bert Chavez. He’s incredible. Let me connect you with him for your next event. So it’s a way to keep people in your funnel and to provide high value.
Building relationships with other speakers
Grant Baldwin: Okay. One of the things that I liked and I want to piggyback on was the value of building relationships with other speakers. We were talking about it there in the context of an additional revenue source and referring leads to other speakers, but one of the things I like about the speaking industry is that, like you alluded to, you and I, we have both spoken at a lot of the same events.
We’ve referred events and business to each other, and so even though on paper you and I would be “competitors”, the reality is there’s plenty of business to go around and no one speaker can take care of all the events.
So even if you or I go speaking at an event or a conference or school or whatever, and we do a great job, the way the market is set up is that they typically won’t bring us back for 3, 4, 5 years or so. So building those relationships with other speakers has been incredibly valuable for generating new business and just learning about the market in the industry. I know for me, I’ve definitely found that to be the case.
Arel Moodie: There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the most wonderful industry. Because… like a laundromat, if I do my laundry at your laundromat, by default, I’m not doing it at any other laundromat. But with speaking, I have friends that have referred business to me.
I refer business to them. So that’s why when people come to me and say, hey, can you help me to speak? I’m like, look, I’m not going to hide anything from you. I’m happy to help because I can’t do ’em all.
At my maximum, I did 205 days on the road, like that was the year. And it was completely unsustainable. Don’t do that. And it was a great year. I loved it. We had a great financial year, but I was like, I can’t do this every year. It was killer. This was before I was married, I had kids. It was a little easier on the personal life. But the truth was, even if I did as many as I could do, to feel like I was happy, successful, maybe I can do 75.
We like to do around 75 now. Not because that’s all we can do, but I don’t want to do more than that. That’s only 75 presentations. There are 6,000 colleges, 15,000 high schools, a million businesses and associations.
So you know, if you really are someone who cares about not just making money, but making an impact, you owe it to yourself to build relationships with other speakers so that you can refer business, and when you start getting opportunities that you’re just not a good fit for it, be like, yo, I can’t do that, I don’t want to lie to you.
But I know who can. And then a lot of people will give you a referral fee for doing so, so you can help and make some money too. So it’s really so important that people realize this is not a competitive space. This is truly a complimentary space.
The Art of Likability
Grant Baldwin: You mentioned at the beginning that you run the podcast, The Art of Likability, which people definitely need to check out. Talk about building those relationships and the value of networking with other speakers and with clients. The title of your show works really well because you’re an extremely likable, charismatic type of guy.
So what are some quick tips and tactics and strategies we can gain for becoming more likable, for networking with other people because this is such a relationship business? What are some things that we can be doing and being aware of?
Arel Moodie: Yeah. So some really simple things that people can do. We have the Five S System. I don’t have the time to go into all of the S’s, but one of the S’s is Special. And I can’t stress this enough. If you make other people feel special and you truly do it from a place of genuine caring, your likability goes through the roof.
So I’ll give you a simple example. Most people are “I” centered, so I only reach out to you when I need something like, oh, could you let me $5? I’m moving into my new house, could you help me move? That’s when most people reach out.
But if you’re someone who creates a habit of reaching out to people just to check in and say hello… There have been times I reach out to Grant because I’m like, hey man, how you doing? Just checking in. How’s everything going? I’m not asking for anything. I don’t need anything. I’m just checking in to say, I as a human am thinking about you as a human, right?
One of the easiest ways to do this is to create different friend lists on Facebook. So as soon as that friend requests someone, or as soon as I connect with someone, I immediately put them into a friend list that I feel they classify into.
So it could be speakers or aspiring speakers that want coaching, or it could be entrepreneurs or other podcast people. And then I have a reminder set in my phone every day to reach out to one new person and say hi.
So I just choose a list of people. I say, okay, let me just reach out. Or I’ll text them. If I’m really close, I might give them a call.
I also do this with my clients too. So I have a list of all of my clients on Facebook, and every so often I’ll just go down my entire friends list of clients and touch base with them. Not trying to sell ’em on speaking, not ” oh, haven’t seen you in six months, you thinking about booking a new speaker?”
And one of the reasons why I love Facebook is because I can jump onto their profile, I can see what they’ve most recently posted so I can be like, “oh Grant, I see you’re preparing for another marathon. Man, that’s awesome. Just checking in.
How’s the training going? Are you going for a new time?” And it’s just digging your well before you need anything.
And I really believe if you throw out enough cosmic boomerangs, they’ll hit you. They may not come back from the same source, but just being a good person for the sake of being a good person. I mean, all I’m doing is giving you a strategy on how to become the good person you already are.
You start building these relationships and then you build an army of people who like you, who know you and trust you because you’ve cared about them.
And it’s one of the greatest strategies I can really give to someone, if you make other people feel special, by genuinely taking the time to care about them. As simple as checking in and saying hello without asking for anything, is a really powerful way to do this. Yeah.
Grant Baldwin: I really like that. And I like that it’s really a long term strategy. This is not how you’re going to get a booking tomorrow. This is how you’re going to get a plethora of bookings years from now.
By building those relationships, by keeping in touch with people. You and I, we’ve crossed paths several times over the years. Getting together and just hanging out at conferences we’ve both been speaking at or hanging out.
I remember speaking up in Syracuse several years ago, and you and I just going to dinner and hanging out just because, not that we needed one thing or something from one another.
It’s not ” man, if Arel and I hang out, then maybe years from now we’ll get to be on each other’s podcast. No. We just hang out with each other and if something comes of it later, great. But that’s not the point of it.
Arel Moodie: Exactly. And you want to have a marathon mindset, right? You don’t sprint. Most people, the reason why they fail is because they’re so desperate. I need this now. I need this speaking engagement. But if you really say, yo, I don’t want to be a speaker just for a month.
I want to do this for the rest of my life. I want to build relationships, friends for the rest of my life. If you take a marathon mindset towards it, you’ll say, okay, I’m going to hang out with this person just because I genuinely care about them. I don’t need anything from them.
And I’m also fine, by the way, being strategic with it. I like to hang out with people. I’m inspired by… I like to hang out with people that are doing great work, so when you were coming to speak in my town we were like, yo, let’s grab some barbecue. I was like, yo, I’m inspired by Grant. He does great work. I would love to be around him.
So it’s strategic. It’s not like I’m giving my time to every single person who wants it, but if I’m around people who inspire me and maybe something comes from it, great. If not, I’m just around people that make my life better. And the truth is, no matter how much money you have, how much money you don’t have, if you have good people in your life, you have a beautiful life.
Grant Baldwin: That was eloquent. You should be a speaker, dude.
Arel Moodie: I should be a motivational speaker with this stuff, man.
It can’t be worse than this
Grant Baldwin: Right, dude. We’re going to wrap up with this. I didn’t prep you for this, but I’m going to put you on the spot here.
One of the things I like to ask speakers anytime we’re talking on the show here, is to tell us about a time ” it can’t be worse than this”. So we all have those horrible moments where it just, the talk bombs, something totally out of the ordinary happened, something just totally, completely went off the rails.
I think sometimes there’s this myth about speakers that you just get up there and you just nail it. Like you just open your mouth and doves and gold fly out. And it just doesn’t work like that. So give us a story of a time where you bombed or just something totally bizarre happened and ” it can’t be worse than this”.
Arel Moodie: I have one that stands out immediately in my head. So I’m going to speak at a school. There are 800 high school students. It’s an inner city. Really rough. They sit me in this auditorium with this Casio microphone that maybe has a five foot cord, right? So I have a five foot tethered cord. The sound system is horrible. It’s somewhere in the state of New York.
So I’m speaking there, and this was way, way back in the day and you’ll find this funny. This is when we were both speaking for that third party organization. And one of the things that they gave out as a free gift to all of the attendees was deo. It was a stick of deodorant, right? Because they were trying to like, I don’t know, get people to like brand awareness, right?
Grant Baldwin: There’s a lot of sponsorships involved with what we were doing.
Arel Moodie: So I’m sitting there and I’m like.. So one, the principal comes up to interview me. He’s like, “all right, everybody settle down” and he can’t get the kids to settle down. And it’s 10 minutes in and he’s ” I’m not going to continue until you settle”.
And the kids couldn’t care less. And I was like, dude, just gimme the microphone and let’s rock. Like I’ll just knock it out.
So the microphone isn’t working. So I have to go without a microphone with 800 kids. And then one kid gets the great idea that, yo this deodorant would be awesome to hit my friend in head with. So he pegs him in the head with it and then everyone goes, that’s a really great idea.
And there becomes this deodorant fight where people are throwing deodorant at each other, ripping up workbooks, and tossing ’em in the air. Like they’re making it rain at the club.
And I’m sitting there looking at the teachers and they’re backs against the wall doing nothing. They’re like, “how come you can’t control the audience?” I’m like, “are you kidding me? Can I get some support?”
So it was 45 minutes that, the only time in my career, I just could not wait for it to be over.
Grant Baldwin: And when we were doing those presentations, we were delivering their material, so we were a bit handcuffed in what we could say.
Arel Moodie: Right. So it’s not like I could go against the grain. I was like, man, these people need me to do this. But it was unengaging. The sound quality was horrible. And when people started throwing deodorants and hitting each other with it, I was, what do I do? What do I do? I have no idea. This is horrible. Horrible.
Grant Baldwin: They didn’t tell us how to do that in the training .
All right, dude. All right, there you go, my friends. Hope you enjoyed that chat with speaker Arel Moodie.