VIP is a system. It is an education. If you want to know what other successful people have done; if you can follow directions, process feedback, and think from other people's perspectives; and if you don't want to waste a lot of time figuring things out by yourself, especially those important things that you might not find personally interesting, then VIP pretty much does it for you.

Xu Simon

Why TSL?

I have a PhD in science. I transitioned from academia into first government and then into industry. And the way I transitioned was I got an MBA. One of the things I noticed about getting the MBA is that many of the skills that I needed for the MBA I got as a PhD student. However, there were different skills and completely different assumptions. So, I became what they would call a ”T Person”.  I got a very broad perspective of the world and I had a very deep expertise in my scientific field. My expertise is in translating deep science into the rest of the world that can benefit from that knowledge.  I joined TSL because I already had the mindset that if you want to translate something deep–like your message–into a different context, the most efficient way to do it is with professional guidance.


What was NOT happening in my speaking business was the business aspect. I was doing some speaking but all for free. I had a lot of expertise in my field of science, but I didn’t have a lot of monetary gain from it. So what was NOT happening was getting paid. 


What are your Aha’s and takeaways…

Well, one of the things that I noticed about Erick is Erick says that he’s not a great speaker, but he is really good at getting business.  He points out that these are two different skills, and he only needs one of them to be a successful speaker. I happen to think he’s a great speaker, too. He speaks directly to me about what I need to hear, at the time I need to hear it, and in a way that helps me take action. That’s my definition of a great speaker.  Whether he’s got all of the technical skills that maybe other great speakers have is irrelevant to me. He speaks to me at my pace and my level.


Another thing that I have noticed is he has a process for booking gigs, and that process works. Scientists call that a protocol. All it is is something that somebody else has done before, documented, and that ideally, you should be able to reproduce. He’s made it very, very easy and understandable. It’s linear and has decision points.  For example, there is a  protocol for reaching out to potential leads and also for understanding when there might not be a fit. It’s not that every time you start the process you are guaranteed a paid speaking gig, but you do have to make a start in order to see whether or not you are going to land that gig. Part of the protocol is: ask the question. Another part of the protocol is: be okay if the answer is no. 


One of the things I noticed is there is a whole business around speaking.  There are event planners, and event planners are professionals.They are looking for fresh perspectives. So it’s not that I am necessarily trying to break into a new business or doing anything on my own. I am working with people who are already looking for speakers like me. My job is just to find them and make it easy to work with me.

Another aha moment that I had was when going through Erick Rheam’s speaker pipeline. This is the process speakers use to manage their gigs. He mentioned that he was just giving away his formula for business success. But the aha moment I had is that he’s giving it away to ensure we as speakers come across professionally.

And that is exactly what I want to do for my profession. I want to make sure that scientists who have very deep, specific knowledge can come across professionally so that knowledge can benefit the world


What is your new normal…

I am now paying attention to how I think differently from my scientific and executive colleagues, and about how my framework can help my colleagues if they are willing to listen. They’re not going to listen if I just tell them, Hey, you’re wrong. I’m right. But they are going to listen if I speak in a context where people are seeking my expertise, where they are receptive to new information and where I have already gone through some of the things that they are going through.


I am a speaker. It’s that simple.


Who would you recommend to the Virtual VIP program?

I would recommend the Virtual VIP program to  people who learn things by going to school. They would get a lot out of the VIP program.

VIP is a system. It is an education. If you want to know what other successful people have done; if you can follow directions, process feedback, and think from other people’s perspectives; and if you don’t want to waste a lot of time figuring things out by yourself, especially those important things that you might not find personally interesting, then VIP pretty much does it for you.


About our student

Xu Simon

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