Revealing The Secret To Mastering Communication: Julian Treasure | E180 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Revealing The Secret To Mastering Communication: Julian Treasure | E180".


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Intro (00:00)

If you've got a boring voice, you can do something about it. It's possible. Julian Treasure, the off-off, how to be heard. Your TED Talk is the sixth most listened to TED Talk of all time. I've assembled seven deadly sins of speaking. Here they are. It's the most common mistake I see in business in relationships. You're speaking to teams. You're trying to inspire people. You're trying to lead people. Build relationships with people. This is part of your life, and you've never paid any attention to it. We teach reading and writing in schools. We don't keep speaking, which is absolutely nuts. We're much keener to be heard than we are to listen to others. What's the biggest complaint in relationships? He or she never listens to me. Our happiness and our well-being are fundamentally affected by whether we master the skills of speaking and listening. How does one speak with authority in work and life in my relationships? What advice can you give me? People often say to me, I don't feel confident. How can I engage with people? And the answer is-- Before this conversation starts, I've got a favor to ask from you. 74% of people that watch this podcast frequently haven't yet hit the subscribe button. And 9% of people haven't yet hit the bell to turn notifications on. The bigger this platform gets, the bigger the guests get. So if you could do me one favor, if you've ever enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe button and turn notifications on. Without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett, and this is the Diro for CEO. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this yourself. Julian, you've had a pretty marvelous, unique career. And it's twisted and turned and twisted and turned in a really fascinating way, one in which I-- I don't imagine anyone could have really predicted ahead of time. What do I need to know about you and your earliest years to inform the person listening to this of any context that ended up steering where you would end up in your life? I think I was very fortunate to have a good education, which I didn't use to the Macs, perhaps, but I appreciated it enormously.

Understanding And Enhancing Your Authentic Voice

The importance of feeling in-control (02:01)

But I think from a young age, I grew up with a confidence that all will be well. And I suppose you could sum that up in the word faith. Not talking about religious faith necessarily, although I've been in and out of that in my life, but just a conviction that all will be well. And I think that's an important thing, for entrepreneur entrepreneurs, who tend to be the people who take the jump and say, oh, I think I'll get to the other side, whereas a lot of people will be standing there going, you know what, you do that. So when things have come along, I've been comfortable to go with the flow to say, well, let's see where this goes. I'm sure it'll be interesting. I read that your TED Talk on speaking and being heard. I think that's the one. Is the sixth or seventh most listened to TED Talk of all time, which is staggering, because there are thousands and thousands of TED Talks I've done. One, nobody listened. And so when I saw that, I thought, how much did that moment change your life, if at all? And can you just tell me about the decision to do that talk that day and how it came about? Well, it was the fifth, actually, of five talks I did in a row, five separate TEDs.

Humorous (03:39)

TED Global was in the UK in Oxford originally. And the first one I did was about how the sound affects us, the four effects of sound. It's called looking back at that. That's a very younger, slimmer me on stage. It's quite funny looking at it now. Nobody had ever used sound before on a TED Talk like that. So they were quite excited about it. And then I got to do-- the next one was about sound and health. And then one about listening, which is, as you know, kind of a religion for me. And then one about sound and the environment, the way architects designed for the eyes, not the ears. So I had those four TED talks to kind of practice, I suppose, and become a master, I suppose, of doing a TED Talk. I mean, it's a discipline. You have 12 minutes, or maybe even, I think, my first one was six. You can't gabble. You can't try and cram too much in. You have to be very clear about the big idea, why would people be interested in this? The what's the journey I'm taking people on? Where am I moving them from, too? And you need to know how to do it, how to stand on that stage on that red dot, and project it with confidence and clarity, and engage people in coming on that journey with you. So I suppose by the time I did that fifth one, I was more experts in giving TED talks than most people would ever have a chance to be, because I'd done four before. And that's unusual. So I certainly, when I walked on stage, I felt quite good on that talk. And yeah, I think I nailed it. I'd rehearsed a lot, and we can talk about the principles of public speaking and so forth, which I've done a lot of work on. But I did a good job, and the audience really responded. There was a great feeling in the room. So when I walked off, I felt that I'd absolutely done that one justice. They didn't release it for a year, and I thought, oh, maybe they didn't like it, you know? But I do remember Bruno Giussani, who's one of the guys who kind of runs TED in Edinburgh Castle bumped into me about three hours after I gave that talk, and he said, "Hail." And I thought, "Ah, okay, well Bruno wasn't there." So obviously word is getting around that there's some good stuff in there. - And Hail's the acronym that you delivered in that talk about how to be a great public speaker, honesty, authenticity, integrity and love. - Correct. - When that TED talk came out, how did your life change? 'Cause I know how the algorithms work. It takes some time, some things to sort of pick up momentum, but once they get going and the algorithm says, the watch time on this episode is very, very good, so we're gonna just keep showing it to more and more people. So it might've taken some time, but how did things change for you at that point? And also your orientation personally and professionally? - Yeah, it took off quite quickly once it came out. I had long since kind of got past watching the numbers every day. The first TED talk, I did, I was obsessive. 10,000 people watched this, and I'm sure everybody does a TED talk, starts off like that. But this one clearly was, it was going ballistic quite quickly. It went up in a period of months, it was in the top 20, I think. And yes, it has changed my life fundamentally, really, really powerfully, because I have spent many, many hours on planes going all over the world delivering talks, getting paid to deliver talks. So my career kind of shifted from running the sound agency, an audio branding company in the UK, which is a relatively small business, and writing my first book, Sound Business, I then got the opportunity to write the second book, which was off the back of that TED talk. I got the opportunity to travel the world, meet people, give talks and spread the message, which is the important thing to me. 'Cause as I say, I'm listening evangelist, I'm passionate about persuading people to start listening.

Passionate (07:50)

So yeah, it moved my career totally onto a different track, a track of public speaking of writing books, of being a speaker in an author professionally. - And in hindsight, when you look at the wild success, I mean, the TED talks combined have over 100 million views now, right? So that one particular talk, I think it's about 40 million views on YouTube alone. - Probably right. I mean, Chris Anderson says, 'cause you've got, so it's got however many of a million on there. I haven't looked recently, but then you add the YouTube views. Chris says, "Whatever it is on, you need to double it "to get a reasonable estimate of the number of views "in bedded podcasts and that kind of thing across the internet." So yeah, way over 100 million, I think, which is mind-boggling to me. - In hindsight, as you look at the success of that, the very, very wild, you know, completely unprecedented, success of that particular video delivered in that way on that topic, what has it taught you about why people care so much about that video and the topic? - I think that a lot of people don't feel heard in the world. So that talk was about getting your message across how to speak so that people want to listen. And I think that's a need, and it's interesting, isn't it? You said the five times number is really interesting. The talk on listening has been seen by one fifth as many people as the talk on speaking. So we're much keener to be heard than we are to listen to others. And there's an imbalance there, which I think is endemic in modern society. - Why do we want to be heard? - To make a difference, to forge relationships, to be validated, to mean something to somebody, to feel right, unfortunately, which is a big human need that I talk about quite a lot, being right, is quite a dangerous thing in the world at the moment. And a lot of people need to feel justified in that way, to be right. - What is it doing for us at our most primal level to be heard or to be right? What is it helping us to belong in the tribe, is it? - Yeah, tribe, family, human race. And a reason for existing, I suppose. What am I doing here? And if people are listening to me, it gives me significance. That's certainly true. So I think it is about validating one's self. I'm a big fan of Eckhart Tolle. And his theory is about ego. And I think a lot of it would chime with that. The ego needs to be massaged, the ego needs to have affirmation. And being listened to, making a difference to people, is part of that. But on a more altruistic level, making a difference in the world. Your life has affected millions of people. My talks have hopefully cast a pebble into a pond and the ripples are going out and lots more people, I hope, are listening as a result. Well, that's good. Whether it makes me feel good is another thing, but it is actually a good thing in the world. - We were talking before we started chatting about the, there's an irony to you coming here today and speaking because you've got to have a chest cold? - Yeah, well, yes, I head cold, which is in my chest. So my voice is pitched down, I'd say two tones at the moment and it's a bit croaky. You know, it's frustrating as well as a speaker because I love this instrument that we have. You know, the human voice is an incredible instrument and it's an instrument we all play. Although most of us have never had any training or spent any time learning how to use it really well. Well, I have and it's frustrating. I'm now dealing with a slightly broken instrument. - It's funny 'cause you know, when my team sent me potential guests that, you know, wanna come on the podcast or we've reached out to them to come on this podcast, there's a couple of criteria I look for and one of the most important, one of the non-negotiables where we've had the most interesting, smartest people in the world is their ability to speak. And when I say speak, I don't mean, you know, how well they can, you know, how funny they are or things like that. I literally mean if they're monotone, you can't have the conversation because I've got no data to support this. But if someone is monotone in their delivery, then I find it to be hard to follow the story regardless. - Absolutely. - And I say that you say that the two most important things with speaking are the content and then the delivery. And that's what I'm actually getting to, is like that delivery point. - Mm. - Have you got any evidence to back up the importance of that? Or is this just in my head that I think the... - Well, it's another thing I asked Chris Anderson who's got more experience of listening to speakers than probably anybody in the world 'cause they do that all the time at TED. And I said to him, which is more important, content or delivery? And his answer was quite interesting. He said, well, if I had to choose, they're both important, if I had to choose its content because if somebody's delivering earth shattering content in a boring way, I can really make an effort and listen to them and it's worth it at the end. Whereas if somebody's delivering vapid nonsense in a brilliant way, it's just irritating, actually. So I get that, but I do think they're both important. I mean, it is a shame if somebody's saying something incredibly important and they're not using what I call the vocal toolbox. There's all this stuff that we can deploy if we start paying attention to our voice. If you've got a boring voice, you can do something about it. It's possible. Get a vocal coach, work on it. Take up a breathing practice, improve your posture. Just practice prosody, prosody. The intonation, really exaggerating it. I'm a great fan of doing this. It's the kind of thing that actors do, singers do, and many times, for example, I've given talks where I've been looking at an audience of CEOs, hundreds or thousands of them, and I say, "How many of you have to talk in public? "Forrest of hands goes up. "How many of you have had formal vocal training? "Three or four people?" And I go, "What? "This is part of your life. "It's an important part of your speaking to teams. "You're trying to inspire people. "You're trying to lead people. "You're trying to communicate, "build relationships with people. "You're trying to move mountains with your voice, "and you've never paid any attention to it."

Speaking (14:27)

It's tragic. We teach reading and writing in schools. We don't teach speaking or listening, which is absolutely nuts. - It's funny, 'cause when people ask me, I always say that the most important school you can learn is to sell, because you're selling all the time. I'm selling right now. I meet a girl in a bar. I'm just gonna sell to her to try and get her number. I have a girlfriend, I wouldn't do that. I'm selling in business. I'm selling to my teams. I'm trying to inspire investors to join us. This caught my life as full of a sales pitch, whether I'm selling myself or an idea or a vision or whatever. But I've never really reflected on the fact that the foundation of that selling is this instrument. - Of course. Well, actually, even more than that, below that, what's the most important part of the sales conversation? Listening. It's not the speak, it's the listening. Listening to understand the other person to go onto their island to understand what's their pain points? What is it I can solve or help them with here? Because if you can't, it's a waste of time. How many times have we all had that irritating sales conversation where somebody's trying to sell something we don't at all need and because they're not listening? So, patter, it can be good, but really well-targeted talking to somebody to whom we have listened, respected and understand that's a different thing, that's powerful. - What would I have to do? 'Cause there's lots of people that are out listening to this podcast that start their own podcast and want to be a podcaster. And many of them message me and they want to come and sit here on this podcast one day. What are the types of things you would advise someone to do with their voice to be heard? - Well, treating your voice as a skill is the first thing. So, becoming conscious that this is a skill. It's not a natural capability. Just like listening is a skill, hearing is a capability, listening is a skill. So, I very much talk about these two things as skills. Speaking and listening are skills that we do not teach in school or university, which is mad. So, we have to take it upon ourselves because they matter. They affect our outcomes in life. They affect our happiness, our effectiveness and our wellbeing are fundamentally affected by whether we master the skills of speaking and listening. So, in terms of speaking, understanding this a vocal toolbox is the first thing. So, things like breathing. Your voice is just breath. That's all it is. Breath moving across your vocal cords. And in order to speak well, it's very good to develop a breathing practice. Maybe you do yoga, maybe something else. Jane, my wonderful fiance has taught me a breathing practice, which is very, very simple. Anybody can do it. And it's called resonant breathing, which is breathing in through your nose. And then out through your mouth, like as if you're blowing. So, you can hear it. And you practice that and lengthen, you count and lengthen the in-breath and lengthen the out-breath.

Breathing (17:30)

And also, we want to be breathing from our diaphragm, from our stomach. Because if you watch a baby breathing, it's their stomach that goes up and down, not the chest. So, just developing that. I mean, I wonder people listening to this podcast, when's the last time you took a really deep breath? We tend to breathe, just to a fraction of our lungs, like a little bird. But with your voice, it's very important to breathe deeply. And to get into that practice, also a great cure for nerves. You know, if you come up the stage and you're a little bit like this, hello, everybody, then a big deep breath will settle the voice right down. So, it's a really powerful thing to do. That breathing practice, what is it doing then, in terms of improving my performance? I've got the nerves part, but in terms of my vocal chords. It gets you into it. Well, what is it? Aristotle said, "excellence is..." No, we are what we do repeatedly. So, "excellence is not an act, it's habit." So, it gets you into the habit of breathing better and deeper. And, you know, when you're speaking in public, there's nothing wrong with taking a deep breath and filling your lungs. Actors do it all the time. I mean, a singer can sing for the most enormously long note. What's the world record for static apnea? 28 minutes, something like that, lying at the bottom of a swimming pool on one breath. And that's static apnea. Then you've got the free divers. There are things we can do with our lungs, which are beyond the imagining, virtually. And yet, most of us just breathe a little tiny, tiny breaths. So, it's good for you as well to exercise your lungs, to inflate them. I had, unfortunately, a few years ago, pulmonary embolism, which is quite scary. I mean, it can kill you. And that's blood clots going to the lung. They have to go through the heart to get to the lung so that that's where you can die. And so my lungs are not as efficient as they were before that. And it's made me even more conscious of the importance of deep breathing, of expanding the lung capacity. It's part of being healthier, apart from anything else, to have great lung capacity. Is that what exercise does? Yeah. Kind of an adversity. Partly. Yeah.

Variety (19:51)

Absolutely. Release is all sorts of good, the happy chemicals into your system as well, exercise. But breathing is very, very good for you, generally. We don't do enough of it. So I've done my breathing exercises. I'm heading on to the Diaries CO podcast. What else would I have to do to be heard from by the listener? What are the sort of tips or skills? Well, I think the variety, just in general, is a very important aspect of speaking. So you talked about people who are monotonic, and that literally means one tone. So if I speak like this through the whole podcast, it would be extremely boring for people. There's not a lot of intonation going on there. I don't get any emotional resonance speaking like that. So it's just boring. So intonation, the up and down of speaking, is really important. It's also crucial to be sensitive to cultural differences in that. For example, in Scandinavia, they have much restricted pros of the intonation. Compared to, say, the Latin countries, where you know people are like, "It's very up and down." Like, "It's at the whole time." I'm croaking here. I remember doing a talk in Finland in the amazing concert center in Helsinki, which was designed by a brilliant architect called Toyota, and is acoustically unbelievable. And at the end of my talk, there was a little tiny ripple of applause. And I thought, "Ah, bombed." They didn't like it. You know, if they'd been America, it'd be whooping and hollering and whatever going on. And I went down for a coffee, and people came up to me and said, "Thank you, that was the best talk we have had for some years." That's Finns for you. They're very taciturn, quiet people. They don't get very excited much. So unless they've had a vodka, perhaps. But you have to be adjusting to the pros of the, or pros of the audience you're speaking to. - What pros of the? - Pros of the is both intonation. So the up and down delivery, which is route one for emotion, it's absolutely crucial in speaking. And it's also the rhythm of your speaking, the gaps you leave, and the emphasis you put on words. So it's understanding how to, it's not just reading a script flat. It's putting your personality into what you're saying. And that makes all the difference in the world. So anybody who, it's interesting. I mean, I have friends who run voice service studios. And actors come in to read things, TV commercials, books, and whatnot. Some actors can read, some can't. It's not a skill that everybody possesses to be able to read something, or speak in an interesting way, that's not a script you learn, and then you really, really work on it and so forth. Just reading something. It's quite technical, actually. You have to get yourself out of the way. So yes, working on your voice is about variety. It's about breathing. It's about being comfortable with silence, for example. Not filling every tiny little gap with arms, as you know, as you know what I mean, verbal ticks. So all of these things, it's quite important to record yourself, listen back, and start to take it as a skill, and as mastery, become your own coach, effectively. I mean, I'm sure you watch back your podcasts, and there's always something to learn. There's always something to look at, and to say, oh, okay, I could have not done that, or I could have said that better, or whatever it might be. And that's how we become masters.

Sound of Your Voice (23:39)

And of course, you can get a coach, a vocal coach, a singing coach, a drama coach, an acting coach, a speaking coach. There are lots of them out there. So anybody who's, for example, got restricted tambour. I mean, tambour is the quality of your voice. And we tend to like voices that we would describe in the way we would describe a hot chocolate. Rich, dark, warm, sweet, smooth, all of those words. If that's not you listening to this, I mean, you have a great voice, but if it's not, if somebody's got a thin, squeaky voice, or scratchy voice, or whatever it may be, get a vocal coach, it can be worked on. These are things that normally we're in a habit.

The Importance of Maximizing Your Voice (24:17)

The way we speak is partly derived from our physical being. I mean, we have a body, there are resonant cavities, we have vocal cords, but it's also how we use it. And that's much more important. Anybody can learn to maximize their voice and to make the most of it. So that's about the instrument itself, and then how you play it, what emotion you put into it. Whether you're conscious, you know the thing I love most about public speaking, it's making me more conscious in that moment than anywhere else. Standing on a stage, I've talked to audiences of 11,000 people. There's a big spotlight, there's cameras on you, you're standing on a stage, 11,000 people are looking at you. If you're not conscious in that moment, you've got a problem. So every gesture, every moment of that is maximum consciousness of being me and communicating with those people. So it's kind of like switching the light onto maximum intensity. And I really love that. That experience has colored the way I treat life in general now, 'cause my biggest passion is to become more and more conscious, to grow a little every day, to become more conscious every day. And speaking helps with that. - I've never really talked about it before, but we've deleted a few episodes of this podcast. So don't worry, this is a perfect episode. This is not going anywhere. But what will happen is we've had a guest come and they might be, honestly there's some cases where they are the biggest in the world in their industry. And I can think of one particular example where, if I said the name of the guest that we, the episode we had deleted, people would be shocked because I believe they are one of the biggest stars in the world. They have like 50, 60 million followers online. And then there's another individual I'll think about who, if I said the name now, everyone knows this person, they're a legend in many respects. But we deleted that episode as well. And content is a factor, but the other factor that really, really does result in that decision is, I think it will be really difficult to listen to. And I feel like I have this sense of responsibility on a Monday and a Thursday when we publish, that even if they don't know the name, our audience will listen. And we see that in the numbers. If we publish a no-namer or a superstar, we get the same amount of clicks in the opening 24 hours roughly, because people are going, I don't care. I trust this team to put people out there. So I just wanted to really state that, 'cause I know there's a lot of people that wanna come on this podcast. There's a lot of big CEOs that contact us. And one of the most important things in my decision criteria is literally how engaging they are at speaking. And from that, I mean the instrument, the delivery. So I just don't think it's funny when you're talking, I was thinking about individuals that I've said no to, but maybe I should give them feedback, but maybe that's not my place. It's literally about delivery. So often. So let's continue then on the thread of delivery. You're talking about standing there speaking in front of 11,000 people on a stage. One of the things that I'm sure would stop most of us from even endeavoring to do such a thing is a lack of confidence. You've got almost 100,000 students online, something crazy like that, that are all coming to do your courses and to learn from you. Confidence must be one of the first conversations you have, right? To get someone to be a great speaker? Yeah, it's important, although it's interesting to note that a lot of the people who've given some of the best TED talks, like me, are actually introverts. I'm not an extrovert. It's not that natural for me to do these things. And it's also true of people like Susan Kane introvert, you can stand on a stage and you can overcome the fear, which is part of growing as a human being, I think, doing things which are challenging and pushing through the barriers and doing it anyway. So, yes, confidence is important. I mean, we could have a long conversation about confidence because I was educated in a top public school. And I think one of the things that top public schools in the UK do is to give you an overbearing arrogance and to make you absolutely convince that you know everything about everything. And more than that, the ability to sound convincing and to persuade people that that is in fact the case. And it's taken me decades to get over that, actually, to discover humility and to discover the importance of being authentic about what I actually can do. So, yes, I think public speaking, like anything else, it's like riding a bike. If you do it enough, you become confident. You know, the first time you or I drove a car, our hands were welded to the wheel, you know, and we were shaking with terror. Now you drive a car and you think about everything, but driving, you know, so it's just falling off a log. I've done enough speaking now that I do not get frightened anymore. Nervous, yes, nervous is good. Nervous gives you the right chemicals to perform at your peak. So, I never want to lose contact with that. And I think that's true of anybody, only in a professional footballer before a game. Nervous will be there, adrenaline. It's taking you up to the next level. Once you get bored with what you're doing, should you be doing it? That's a big question. But the confidence to do it comes from practice. And that's what I always say to people. It's part of my course. You know, I talk about doing things, just doing the thing. Speaking in public, Toastmasters, for example, you know, they're in every city in the world. You can go and join a Toastmasters chapter and start speaking in front of people. That's what they do. And as you do it, you become more and more familiar with what goes on and that, you know, it isn't actually the end of the world. Nobody is actually going to stand up and call you out for being a useless numpty, you know, or even if you forget your words, you can actually say, "I'm terribly sorry, "I forgot where I was." I mean, I've seen that happen at TED. Okay, people who rely on memory, which is a very, very high risk strategy to me. You know, I always use slides. But if you go on stage and you've got a memory palace or a chain or one of those routes and you're relying on that and you lose the chain breaks and you're cast adrift in an ocean of terror. I've seen it happen. And what happens when somebody goes red and starts shaking and says, "I'm so sorry, I've completely forgotten "what comes next." The audience start to applaud. 'Cause they're on your side. It's not the end of the world. And actually that can make a deeper relationship than being slick and perfect and brilliant at every moment. I've seen people who are overconfident, over rehearsed, where you know every one of those gestures has been rehearsed a hundred times and it was there for the, I mean, there was a time at TED when it was almost a regurgre to cry in a TED talk. And I remember seeing there was a talk by, you know, an international bank or something about economics who halfway through talked about his fatherhood deceased and the tears came, I thought, "Oh, please, this is, "this is like being put in by a coach who says, "you've got to connect emotionally." And it was just incongruous, really. So I think it's all about being yourself. I mean, that's the A of hail, being authentic. Being yourself is fine. It's so much easier than trying to be somebody else. And having the faith that if you are yourself and you've got a good message, that people will be with you on the journey and will be on your side. That's certainly the case at TED.

People are more likely to like you if you're authentic. (32:05)

People don't go to, it's not a stand up comedy night where people throw things and heckle. It's a place where people expect to learn, to be transported, to be changed by almost every talk. So the talk does that, they love you. On the A point in hail, I've come to learn that I think humans are much better at spotting authenticity than we give them credit for. Big time. I think, so from our own perspective, we think we can flag it. And we underestimate how much the viewer or the person I'm trying to flag it to understands I'm not being authentic. Like we think we're much better actors than we actually are. And it's funny that one of the things that's put this friend to mind for me at the moment is about three weeks ago, there was a CEO that went viral on LinkedIn because he had fired multiple members of his team and then he'd taken a photo of himself crying and uploaded it with like a really, like sorry, caption, I come so sorry. Today I had a really tough day, I had to find members of my team. And as you look at that, it just feels wrong. It's almost hard to explain it, but I think your mind goes, well, he would have had to cry. A very unnatural thing to do mid crying is to pick up your phone and take a selfie and then to go to social media. So on that point of authenticity, is your suspicion the same? That we people are much better at spotting someone being in authentic than we believe, than we understand? - I think so. We live in a world where social media and viral opinion spreading make it quite hard to be truly an authentic. I mean, there's a lot of companies, a lot of individuals who do what's now called virtue signaling.

The Need to be Right (33:53)

And people can spot that. You know, we can catch the whiff of manipulative, inauthentic stances that are trying to put us across in the most acceptable way. Whatever the current meal is, whatever the current style is to be utterly acceptable and socially right. So to me, this is again, this is part of the human need to be right and to be seen to be right, which is a huge problem in the world right now, I think. I mean, we're seeing silos all over the world. The internet has made this way, way, way worse where you go online and you say, there you are, I know I was right, 10,000 people agree with me. Yeah, but there's a million who don't. But you don't go and ask them, you just go and find the people you agree with in order to validate your point of view. And that is why we get these extreme, you know, conspiracy theory silos of people who have native views and are persuading each other that they're right because they only talk to each other. They don't go and check, you know, kick the tires of the thing and check is there an alternative hypothesis here that would be perhaps worth entertaining. So I think that's a bit dangerous at the moment. And it's all about this need to be right. And of course, what's the easiest way for me to be right is to make you wrong. If you're wrong, I am writer. And that is a slippery slope. That's a slippery slope of depersonalization, of dehumanization, of bias and hatred. And, you know, at the bottom of that slope is the kind of the ISIS answer to the world. Disagree with me, I'll kill you. And so that's a dangerous slope. And the media have been contributing to that slope. You know, this, all this outrage addiction that we see in the world. That's outrageous. Somebody's to blame, somebody should be punished. And that's all me saying, "Yes, somebody should be punished. "I'm right, they're wrong." So it's this kind of ego fire that we have building inside of us the desire to be the rightest person. - And to cancel everyone else, that's... - Absolutely, cancel, cancel, cancel. And make people wrong, left, right, and sent to be judgmental. That's one of the seven deadly sins I talked about in that TED Talk is judgmentalism. It's pointing the finger at people, you know, the kind of parent who's son or daughter comes home and says, "I got 95% of the test." And says, "Well, I'm to the other five." You know, it's difficult to be around people who are that finger pointy. - The other thing with that A point in "Hail Authenticity" that I've come to that actually from doing this podcast is there's a real cost mentally to being inauthentic for a long period of time.

The Cost to the Mind of Lying about Your Identity (36:28)

And I see it time and time and time again, when I sit here with people who were forced to be in the media or who were first forced to, not forced, but chose to play a role or a character in the public eye. And then their identity became, they kind of, their true authentic self became imprisoned by this public identity that they felt they had to keep up. And then the mid-life crisis comes. It's usually like 35, 45, where they have some kind of burnout, blowout, they find themselves in the case of one of my guests last week, just coming home and crying every day and having no idea where they're crying because they'd spent a decade being an authentic in every interaction because they felt they had to, sometimes to survive because of some early trauma. And we don't talk about that enough that, and I've learned it from doing this podcast myself as in the most liberating thing for me ever is to sit here in my socks, in my house, saying whatever I want for three hours. And knowing that quite honestly, if I'd tweeted it, I'd get dragged, get quote retweeted, people taking out a context and goes into different echo chambers and they all try and find a way to get likes of what I've said. Whereas I can sit here and say, "If I can anything," about pretty much anything. In my most authentic self, it's like a wait I get to lift every day. And it's been so good for my mind.

How Do We Know Our True Values (37:53)

- But do you know what the biggest challenge is about being authentic? What's that? - Was knowing who you actually are. - Yeah, good point. - So what are your values, Stephen? - It's a good question. 'Cause when people ask, I'm so scared of saying what I think people wanna hear. How do I know what my values are? - You write them down, you think about it. - What I would write down, I'm worried that what I would write down are things that have been so deeply conditioned to be my values by society. - Well, okay, yeah, that's worth challenging, isn't it? So this is a great exercise. I mean, I strongly recommend everybody does this 'cause not many people do. You know, we just live our life in this kind of bumping into things, making it up as we go a long way. If you have values, that's your moral compass. If you have values, that's you tending to define who you are and then you can be authentic.

Effective Communication And Listening Skills

Foundations for giving others validation. (38:46)

- What is a value? This sounds like a crazy thing for me to say, but I wanna be really clear, like what is a value? - It's something that you believe in that is what they call in business, a North Star for your life. It's something that you will sacrifice to achieve. So I can remind. - Okay. - I've got four values, which I made into an acronym 'cause I have a terrible memory, so I like acronyms. The acronym is flag, so they are faith, and that is all will be well. I'm not talking about a religious faith. I'm just talking about the sense that all will be well, because to me, if I have faith that the future will be okay, it gives me the courage to take things on, try things and find out. You know, it may be a disaster, but if I get to the disaster, I've had a nicer journey, then if I am always, oh, it's gonna be a disaster, it's gonna be a disaster, there you are, I told you, well, I've had a miserable journey, and I've ended up a disaster. So I prefer to go the way of, it'll be okay, oh, shit, it's not. - But even then, it'll be okay, find a way. - Yeah, so faith. The L is love, by which I mean thinking well of people. And there's a great practice that a very wise, old friend of mine gave me many, many years ago, which is amazing. Instead of walking around, you know, we're in London right now, well, I live in a much more remote place. So walking around London, you're always walking through people, and we have this, if we're not careful, we have this nasty voice in our head. Gonna get out of my way, you've fatted yet, and oh, you're ugly and you're stupid, and you know, this kind of nasty side of us, which is doing a little monologue and being really judgmental and critical about people. Instead of that, it's cultivating a habit of saying in the head, not out loud, bless you. Not religiously, again, just bless you, I wish you well. And if you get into that habit of walking around, going, bless you, person you just got in my way, it is amazing, the difference it makes to your likeness of being. It's like walking floating three inches above the ground. You meet people's gaze, and you might even share a smile because you're not guilty about you and you're just thinking they're horrible. Whereas you've got this nasty voice going on and you head all the time, you don't look at people in case you catch their eye and they can see what you were thinking. So love in that way, wishing people well, and of course love for family and love for life as well. Just being positive, you know. The A is acceptance, which is a really important thing to me. I tend to try and go with the flow if an opportunity comes along. I'll try that, there's a reason that's come along. So I'm not getting into the secret or any of those things, but I do tend to believe that things come to me for a reason, whether it's God or the universe or whatever one wants to say. I'm happy to go with the flow and to accept. Also, when things don't work, I don't bang my head against a brick wall forever trying to make them work. Okay, that's not working, we'll try something else. So acceptance and also of people as they are, that's really, really important. We spend a lot of time disparaging people. Why are you like this? Why are you doing this? Well, that's the kind of tree that person is. And you don't get angry at trees for being that kind of tree. So that is the kind of person that is in front of you, accept. - Someone once said something's gonna pop up which plays into that. They said if you had been through, if you had walked in their shoes and had their experiences, you'd be doing the exact same. - Oh, totally.

Quickfire round: Simple activities for improved cognition. (42:23)

Well, let's come on to validation in a minute. And then the G of flag. - Can I guess? - Yes. - Is it gratitude? - Yes, totally is. I don't like that, the catch phrase, an attitude of gratitude, but it is really important to me, to do a gratitude list. When I'm feeling miserable, when I'm feeling down, I've got a cold. Yes, but let's now look at all the good things that I've got in my life. I have a loving partner of two gorgeous little children. I live in amazing Orkney, which is a joy every day. There are so many things to be grateful for. And I've got some financial security. I've got so much in life to be thankful for that way outweighs normally the bad things. Now that's not true for everybody. If I were living in Kursen at the moment, for example, or somewhere like that, there would be a lot more to be ungrateful for, to be frightened about and so forth. So I'm not saying that in a kind of bland way, but even in the worst places, it's important to focus our attention on the good things because a lot of this is about where you focus, isn't it? All the time, reality is huge. It's all around us. We don't perceive reality. We have a map in our head, and it's up to us to select what it is that we pay attention to. So that's very much the same as listening, which is selecting certain things to pay attention to, and then making them mean something. Well, it's the same with gratitude. There's always something, or usually, there's something you can focus on and say, "Okay, there's a thing I can be grateful for." So that's it, yeah, faith, love, acceptance, gratitude. So there's a mine, and I know that's my moral compass, and that's what I try to be in life. And I do recommend to anybody listening to this. If you've never written your values down, think about it. Not the ones that you think will be accepted by more people out there. The ones that actually ring through in your heart. What does your heart tell you? And then you've got a map. You've got a route. You've got a direction in life, which I think is incredibly important. Quick word from my sponsor, guys. These days, as I'm sure all of you know, flexibility matters more than ever before, because the tectonic plates on which we've built our businesses are changing overnight, especially for SME business owners, which is why I've partnered with Vodafone Business who have created a new flexible business solution for small to medium-sized businesses called Vodafone Pulse Connect. This package includes all of your key coms tools, like mobile, broadband, cloud calling, and collaboration.

Ad break from our sponsor. (44:58)

And the brilliant thing about it is you can change your package as your priorities shift, adding and removing users, and even tailoring services to each employee. So you only pay for what you need, and that is so important when you're trying to run an efficient business. You can build your personalized package online with a digital configurator, so you get one simple package with one bill, saving you time and saving you money. So to find out more such, Vodafone Pulse Connect, terms and conditions apply. - It's picking up on that point about if you were in their shoes, if you had lived their life, you'd be doing the exact-- - Validation, yeah. - What is this, validation?

How to listen and be seen as a natural leader in the room. (45:33)

- Well, it's part of active listening. So, you know, if we talk about listening, I talk about listening positions, and one of those is active listening. So it's a place to listen from. And in active listening, to me, there are three stages. So stage one is reflection, where I repeat exactly what you said, without coloring it, without making it make sense in the way that I understand, but I say something along the lines of, okay, what I just heard you say is, which can be a bit formulaic, or, you know, so you said this, or so are you saying this? So I'm checking that I actually got what you said. I heard you. It's amazing how we don't very often do that. So stage one is reflection, which is used in the therapeutic professions, a great deal. I hear you say this. Stage two-- - Is this stages of being a great listener? - It's a very important form of listening. It's not appropriate all the time to be an active listening, because it's kind of a sledgehammer to crack a nut in social conversations, for example. You know, if we were sitting in a pub or a coffee house and I'm going, what I heard you say, Stephen, is this. Well, and then validation goes, okay, I understand, it makes sense that you would feel that. I totally get why you would think that's true. I disagree with you, but I understand why you think that, because then I'm thinking about your background and your road to this conversation, and we've come different roads to this conversation, and you will have different life experiences. So validation is really important. That's the empathy bit of active listening. And once I've reflected and validated, then we're into stage three, which is I can contribute. So as opposed to me invalidating, yeah, oh, don't know, that's nonsense to you. Why would you think that? You know, we do so much invalidating in the world of other people's positions, and you can't sell to somebody or persuade somebody if you invalidate them as a human being. It's really important to validate, to show that you understand where that person's coming from, even if you completely disagree, then we can start to put things together and make sense and move forward. I'm thinking of every romantic conflict I've ever had, but also you took me back to many client meetings where the client brings forth a concern or a problem. And in that moment, even if you disagree, you know you have to show you've accepted their concern and then use that acceptance, that place of empathy, to move them to another place of thinking. But also, obviously, the most obvious scenario people will think of is with their partners, when they're trying to do conflict resolution or trying, you know? So what's the biggest complaint in relationships? He or she never listens to me. And that's not just about hearing the words, it's about validating the other person or invalidating the other person. And if we do that as a habit, it can be very damaging. There's a thing actually called Stress-Induced Audio Dysfunction, S-I-A-D, which kind of flipped people when there's a noise that they are exposed to a great deal and they don't like, and they psychologically start to wipe it out. So for example, my father, in the later years of his life, was deaf at the frequency of my mother's voice. And that's not uncommon in relationships where one partner is in a habit of hectoring or nagging at the other partner and they simply cease to be able to hear it because it's a noise they don't enjoy, just like it, you know, it can happen to people with industrial noise or irritating noises. So it is really important not to be invalidating somebody as a habit and we can easily fall into that habit. And it's so powerful in relationship to be validating people. You know, one of the seven deadly sins I talk about in that TED Talk is negativity. And that's a very strong habit that people can fall into. So you can audit that. How often do I say the word no or not or can't? Anything negative like that. Because if that habit you fall into, it tends to lead to invalidating other people a great deal. I can't do that. I can't see why you think that. You can't be serious, you know. And that's not a very nice way to behave with people. Even if you don't agree, even if they are being stupid, I can see why you think that. Now, would you like an alternative perspective? Can I give you a different way of looking at it that might be useful to you? So you've said, you know, what you're doing is not worthless. It's not stupid, but maybe there's another way. And that's respectful. - I think everyone has the experience of invalidating someone and them then repeating themselves. And then you invalidate them again and then they repeat themselves. - Yeah, that's good argumentation. - Yeah. Well, I know it well because I think in my previous relationships, it's funny because I think I was the problem. I was definitely the one that was unwilling to allow them to feel heard. - It's the joy of listening, actually. Listening is at the heart of all good relationships to me. And if you listen to somebody, well, what was it? Scott Peck said, you cannot truly listen to another human being and do anything else at the same time. And I absolutely agree with that because it's so rare in this world. Now we're so distracted. You know, I'm a big fan of Nia Ieel's book. - Distractable. - Yeah, because we are so prone to being distracted. No, I am listening to you. No, you're sending a text. That's not listening. That's doing something else. So it's rare that we will put everything down and do what you and I are doing right now, which is look each other in the eye. You know, when you're listening, I've got an acronym for this in the book in the courses and so forth, Rasa, Rasa, which is R-A-S-A and the R is receive. And that means look at the person who's speaking. The dance of the eyes in the West tends to be that the person who's speaking looks around as I am now, you know, thinking about other things and checks back in from time to time to see if the other person is still listening. If you're with somebody who's speaking and they look at you the whole time, it can become a little bit intimidating. I mean, we're in a slightly unnatural situation here. So, you know, we're across a table from each other, which is potentially conflicting. But we're, you know, really making an effort to communicate here. So, you know, I'm looking at you quite a lot more than I would if we were just, you know, in a street or, you know, having a chat. So that's Rasa, the R is receive, which is pay attention, body language facing the person, not feet pointing towards the door, which is always a good indication that somebody actually doesn't want to listen to you, not doing anything else at the same time. The A is appreciate, which is little noises and headbobs and gestures, you know, eyebrow raises, smiles. Oh, really? Mm, ah, those kind of things that oil the conversation. The S is summarizing, which is the word so, and I get very angry about the words so actually, it's been totally debased in the modern world. For some reason it's become a habit for people to start every sentence with the word so. So what's your name? So I'm John. What you're John, because I just ask you, 'cause so means therefore. No, you were John before and you're gonna be John afterwards, the word so doesn't. I've seen people come onto the TED stage and say, "So, no, I don't know who you are. "I don't know what you're gonna say. "There is no before." It is debased a lot, but it's such a powerful word.

The R.A.S.A. structure of listening attention. (53:48)

So we've all agreed this, now we can move on to that. Or in the long corridor of a conversation. So what I understood you just said is this, is that right, the old repeating and reflecting and so forth? Closing doors behind you in the corridor so you can move on and keep moving forward. So that's the S of Rasa. And the final A is ask, asking questions at the beginning, during, afterwards. People often say to me, "I don't feel confident people don't listen to me. "How can I engage with people when they speak in?" The answer is asking questions. And if you're on a bit of territory that feels unfamiliar or uncomfortable, you can ask questions that form linking. That's really interesting, Stephen, that you just said that. "How would that relate to this thing I know about?" So I can kind of bring the conversation to Home Turf and start to feel like and contribute something. So that's Rasa. And that really helps in a conversation to direct listening and to make the conversation fruitful for both parties. - So. - Yes. - Therefore. - One of the things you said, then reminded me of another topic, which I think is really important when we're talking about speaking, which is how to speak with authority. I think about all the people that are in board rooms, and that might be a little bit junior in an organization and that are struggling to be heard because they don't lack the authority that a title will give them. How does one speak with authority? What advice can you give me to be a more authoritative speaker in work, in life, in my relationships, wherever? - Well, let's deal with the situation first, where you're talking, you want to speak to somebody who is a powerful figure, or you consider them to be powerful. I'm a great believer in agreements, contracts in an informal way. Stephen, do you have five minutes? I've got something I really want you to listen to. Well, that puts you in a position you can either say, "Yes or no."

The art of asking for permission for a conversation. (55:48)

If you say, "No, that's fine. "I won't say it now." When would be a good time? I mean, I'll tell you a great experience I once had on a beach in India. This is one of the best salespeople I've ever met. It was about a seven year old boy. And he came up, I was sitting on a beach, he came up, said, "You want Coke?" And I said, "I'm trying to be British, "not right now, thank you very much." Okay, when you want Coke, oh, well, four o'clock, at four o'clock he was back, "Here you're Coke." - I love that. - It was brilliant. So it taught me a lot about being authentic, 'cause I wasn't being, was I? No, I don't want to buy a Coke from you. And also about persistence and asking the right questions and so forth. So in the same way, if I ask you, do you have five minutes and you don't, I can park it and come back another time because it wouldn't be the right time. If you haven't got five minutes, that's fine. I can respect your time. But from your point of view, yes, okay, I've got five minutes and you have just made a commitment to listen to me.

Engagement And Content Creation

Listen with deep engagement (56:52)

So that I'll have a right if I'm talking to you and you're off doing something else, answering the email or something, Stephen, you said you had five minutes. I do understand if you're busy, when would be a better time? So there's a kind of obligation there for you to listen to me. So that's one thing, I think that's a strategy that works very well. If you're on a meeting and you don't feel you're the most powerful person, then again, asking the meeting for permission is a good thing. Guys, I have something that I think really will contribute here.

Is there a time when one should not be honest (57:23)

I have a time now to say it to you all. It doesn't always work, but I think if you're asking and people give you a commitment, then you have a contract and you have a channel of communication that's been opened explicitly. One of the things you talked about there is that kid on the beach with the Coca-Cola offering, you kind of Coke, and how that kind of violates your A in Hale, the authenticity piece. It also violates the H, honesty. So my question is, is there a time when one should not to be honest? Well, I think that the honesty needs to be tempered with love. So the answer is it's filter. Which is the L in Hale as well, so. Yeah, absolutely. I think that being dedicated to ruthless, permanent, always on, honesty is a pretty dangerous strategy in life. Because you'd be going around saying to people, you look terrible today. I really don't like you. What you just said was stupid. It's not necessary to say those things to people. Depends on what you want to achieve. I don't think it's dishonest to withhold judgment. And a lot of the things I just said are opinions. And it's very important to distinguish between opinions and facts. They're not the same thing. And they're very often confused in the modern world. So opinions, that's what I think, what I believe, what I judge. Fact, it's Saturday. That's a fact. We're not going to disagree about that. We can disagree about my opinions. And I often say, I wish that we lived in a society where perhaps people asked before giving opinion. Would you like my opinion on that? No. Oh, I had such a good opinion already to go. And you don't want it. But we don't do that, do we? We just proffer opinions. And a lot of the time we confuse them with facts, which leads to a lot of table thumping. I grew up in a family where there was that confusion. There was a lot of argumentation and table thumping because people had different opinions and didn't accept that they could possibly be challenged. Talking about your parents. Talking about your mother. No, my father, actually, he was-- my father was a massively confident and very successful man in advertising. He was known as Mr. Advertising for some years in the 1960s. Hugely confident and hugely expressed in that way. But didn't Brooke disagreement very easily. So disagreeing with him was quite difficult. And that was certainly my experience growing up, that you had to be ready with chapter and verse and references if you were going to challenge a point of view. How did that shape you? Because I think a lot about how my parents-- my mum was sounded a little bit like what you described earlier, where shouted so much at my dad that I couldn't understand how he stopped reacting to the sound of the shouting. As a young age, I remember wanting them to divorce because I didn't like shouting for six hours. My dad would not really shout back. But that definitely has shaped how I communicate now. But how did it shape you that environment? Well, very similar.

Conflict aversion (01:00:48)

I mean, I think my first response to conflict is exit. It's the same strategy, really. I think probably a lot of quieter people who've had the experience of conflict growing up are pretty conflict-to-verse. And I think it's quite important to toughen up on that to a degree because conflict exists all over the place. I'm not talking about physical conflict, which, of course, we want to avoid at all times. But a disagreement or somebody being crossed with us or somebody being upset-- well, sometimes those are necessary in life. And responding to those in inappropriate ways can actually really damage relationships. I mean, I talk about the four leeches, which undermine communication. And the fourth of those is fixing. Fixing is it's not OK for somebody to be upset around me. Don't be upset. Don't cry. Don't express emotion. So it's a kind of smothering of everything that goes on around. I'll tell you a story about that. My aunt told me when her little sister was due to be born, my grandparents-- there was great excitement. They decorated the nursery. The room was made already. Came the day off. Her parents went to the hospital. And she was beside herself with excitement aged about six. They returned. No baby. Never was a word said about the whole thing, because they didn't want to upset her. And what she learned from that, for the rest of her life, was you can't trust people. People don't tell you what's going on. You never know. People aren't straight. There were a lot of bad lessons she learned out of that lack of communication. The child had been still born. It was a tragedy. They were upset, but they didn't share it with their daughter, because they didn't want to upset her. That's fixing. And it can be enormously damaging in relationships to behave in that way. Obviously, one wants to be sensitive. You sit the child down. You explain in little ways, perhaps, starting off with the baby's not coming. And then moving on to explain what happened as the child gets older. Jane and I had to survive having a baby who could not survive. And it was deeply traumatic for us. And I'm very glad to say that with Holly, we involved her every step of the way. Holly was, what, six at the time? Five? I can't remember. But we brought her in when Little Lily was still born. We brought her in. She met Lily. We called Lily a name. We did everything we possibly could. And Holly still talks about Lily. She talks as if she can communicate with her. She counts her as a member of the family. So we didn't fall into that trap of pretending nothing had happened and fixing. Sometimes people need to be upset. Holly was upset. We were upset.

How do you design content that's engaging? (01:04:00)

And it's authentic to be upset. So I think being that averse to upset is quite the dangerous thing in life. It's funny, because when you told that story, I was engrossed. I was engrossed for a number of reasons. That exact point there. When you said that, I was engrossed. And I've spoken a lot about the delivery itself of a point and a story, but not a lot about what it takes to design the content in a way where you can engross somebody. What advice would you give to someone? That is potentially presenting. Has a pitch coming up? Is going to do a podcast about how to deliver their thoughts in a way which is engrossing as it relates to the content itself. Because I can hazard a guess as to why I was engrossed. Well, it's a story, yes. We love stories. Storytelling is really, really powerful. I mean, what's the number one TED talk of all time? It's a talk by Sir Ken Robinson. Sadly, Miss Dead Now, but she a wonderful man. And at the heart of that talk is a little story he tells, because the thesis of the talk is that we're educating creativity out of children. That's what his talk is saying. And he tells this story about a little girl who's drawing at the back of the class. And she doesn't normally. And the teacher goes to the back and says, what are you drawing? And the little girl says, I'm drawing a picture of God. And the teacher says, but nobody knows what God looks like. And the little girl says, they will in a minute. It's a classic story. It takes 15 seconds to tell it. It makes me laugh every time. That is his whole TED talk in a beautiful encapsulating and chanting story. Storytelling is the best way to get any talk across, really. If you can think of a metaphor which matches what you're trying to communicate to people in a captivating story where perhaps there's the classic elements of a story. There's a protagonist. There's an antagonist. There are challenges. There's a journey. There's a destination. There's help on the way from unexpected quarters, obstacles to overcome. You can do it in a very short space of time. You can do it as a personal story, as I did in my TED talk about my mom's negativity. That was a true story that she was in hospital. I took a paper in. I said, oh, look, it's October the 1st. And she said, I know, it's dreadful. And I-- well, if somebody's that negative, it's very difficult to be around them. And that was a true story that I told.

An example of story telling done right. (01:06:31)

So it's almost like you could have a little storytelling niche in your talk. You know, can I tell you a story? And everybody goes, oh, yes. Come on. So storytelling is a massively powerful way. There are books on this. If anybody wants to speak in a captivating way, become a good storyteller. And it will really, really help. But the other big part of it, I always say, is understanding the listening you're speaking into. So that again. Understanding the listening that you're speaking into. Ah, OK. Because we all have unique listening. And this is something-- it's the most common mistake I see in business in relationships, is people thinking, everybody listens like I do. They don't. Our listening is unique. Your listening is as unique as your irises, your fingerprints, your voice print. And so is mine. And they're different. So it's a huge mistake to assume other people are going to receive this message the way I would receive it. So it's a massively valuable tool if you're speaking to one person or 10,000. Doesn't matter to say, what's the listening I'm speaking into? What's the listening I'm speaking into? Who is this person? What's their listening? Where will it have come from? Or who are these 10,000 people? Because in a big room, you have a Gestalt listening. Which changes over time. I've done talks immediately after lunch in what they call the graveyard slot. He's a TED talker. He can cope with that. And everybody's a bit woozy. The blood's all gone to their gut. They're a bit tired. They're not very bright. Or there's the final slot in the day just before people are leaving when they're all desperate to go and have a drink in the bar or something. There are different listings through the day and different listings from person to person. So it's not a fixed thing. And it's important to be sensitive. And actually, do you know what I've discovered? All you have to do is ask the question, what's the listening? And you become really good at spotting it. I don't know how it might be. Tiny body language, cues. It might be pheromones. It might be intuition. Whatever it is. You will, if you pay attention to it and you ask that question consciously, at least you're respecting the other person enough to say, this person speaks really slowly. So I should probably slow my pace down a little bit. Or this is a really, really fast person. So let's be pussy here. Or they might have cultural or they might have political views or something like that that you need to be sensitive to if you're trying to achieve something. The point, as well, about storytelling, I was fascinated by it because it reminded me of my time at Social Chain. We bought the social media company. We never had an outbound sales team. Our strategy was kind of, there was maybe fourfold. But the two that are most pertinent to the point I'm making are personal branding and speaking on stage. So we grow our business from nothing to tens and tens and tens of millions in revenue. The agency business, the global business, 600, 700 million in revenue, never with an outbound sales team. And the sole thesis, which I don't think people ever realize who are trying to scale an agency, is we just told really great stories. And the best way that I can demonstrate this is I remember my first talk when I started Social Chain. I'm maybe 21 years old. And I was in London. And I walk up on stage. And I say, that's exactly why you were kicked out of school. You're incapable of listening to anybody. And you always think you know a better way. Don't call me, all the family, until you go back to university. And with that, my mum hung up the phone. That's how I started all of my talks for about four years. I'm trying to sell you social media advertising here. And at the end of the presentation, you would find out what happened with my mum's relationship. So it'd be this heart, I don't say. And me and my mum have never had a better relationship. And I genuinely-- of all the things we did as a business, I genuinely believed that I was speaking 50 weeks a year. I was going to every corner of the world meeting every brand. Our biggest brands, like Coca-Cola, they all came from hearing that exact talk with about my mum. The conventional and the normal thing to do is to bring information. I'll give you as much information as I can. You see it in every slide deck, every pitch deck. But we all know from a human level, the best part of this conversation is going to be the stories. Yeah, of course. It's going to be engaging people and causing them to be curious. Curiosity is absolutely fundamental in listening. Now, I talk about four Cs of listening, which are compassion for the other person, for the audience, whatever it might be. Commitment, because it takes time and effort to listen. Listening is work. It's not just a capability. Yes, we have ears, but you actually have to put things down, focus, and so forth. Consciousness that you're actually doing something. Now, this is an action. This is not something that goes on in the background. And curiosity. And if you can engender those things in people, especially the curiosity, which we get with stories, especially if you start a story and you don't finish it, come on, Stephen, we want to know what happens at the end. So you then got the bit in the middle where they're all going, "I really want to know what happened at the end." And then you give them the end, the end to satisfy them. That is a brilliant way of engaging people.

The pitch deck recap (01:12:12)

People could listen to this. And I think that's funny because I was actually reflecting on... I told you my company in San Francisco has raised a lot of money, and I broke all the rules that I've just said. It's just... It's just... There's 10 slides of just information. I mean, it worked, but I think it's funny because I actually thought, "I don't actually care if it worked. I would have liked to do it my way." Yeah. Well, also because you're then kind of conforming to the norms out there, which is that's where everybody does stuff. That's a deck. I mean, I hate that word deck anyway, but... Let me show... Have you got a good deck? Yeah. But there's something in the actual design of the deck that says way more about you than the information ever will. Yeah. And it's funny because this is genuinely what's going on in my head as you were talking about storytelling, is I was thinking about how I should have structured... Sorry for not listening, but you just inspired me to go off in this tangent in my head. Cool. I was thinking about how much I should have started that deck as a story, and that would have been so much more gripping. Yeah. Versus just like, put your logo on the front, and then you waffle into like stats and figures. I broke my own rule there, and I'm kind of disappointed in my own personal philosophy, which I consider to be the most important thing for not doing that. It's a struggle for me as well. I mean, I'm writing a book right now about sound, and what I'm trying really hard to do is to get human stories into it. But I have a terrible memory. And when I read great books by people, I read books by people who've written amazing books about all sorts of different subjects. And what impresses me is they say, on March the 5th, 1992, I had this conversation with this person who walked that way and did this thing and said this thing. And I think, how the fuck do you remember that? What do you mean? I have no idea what I was doing in 1992. I don't remember my childhood. So it's quite a big problem. If, like me, you're kind of in a miasma of... I mean, it's very good because I'm a great believer in being here now and living in the current moment, living in this instant, which is all the life we ever have, this instant. The future hasn't happened. The past has. There's nothing we can do about either of them much at this instant. So being here now is really important to me, but it's kind of become an excuse almost for me forgetting everything. I do too. Imagine how many I have the privilege of sitting here with the smartest people in the world who are giving me all these amazing things so you can massively wise. Yeah, you would think so. But I sit here and I go, oh my God, flag. I'm going to write that down later. And then we get an hour and a half in. And it's like I've got the short-term memory. The thing I fall back on is I go, the best stuff will stay with me because it will hit me in such a deep emotional way that I won't be able to forget. So maybe I'm just absorbing the very best of... Well, maybe. And also, you do have the privilege of having recorded it all in high quality video and audio so you can watch it back. I don't always have the time to watch all of them.

Utilizing Sound In Therapy And Branding

What if wed recorded everything? (01:15:03)

Yeah. But in the gym, I try and make sure I listen to them. What would life be like if we could watch back everything that we've done, all the conversations that we've had and learn from them? Blimey. Pretty scary. Yeah. I'd be a lot better of a human being. Me too. But I tend to see life as a spiral staircase. So the important thing to me is to grow a little bit every day. That's the important thing, to learn something. You know, even if it's how not to do something, so, you know, when I make people that evidently are making a mistake or doing something wrong, it's okay, I learn not to do that. It doesn't work very well. Where have you struggled to grow? That you have continually intended to. I would say in my nutrition, more than anything else, probably. I am very fortunate to live with Jane, who is a four-time world champion martial artist, a health and fitness expert. I train with her multiple times a week. So, you know, I'm a 64-year-old man who can easily touch his toes and is, you know, my core strength and my flexibility are amazing for somebody of my age. But I still eat too much. I really enjoy food and, unfortunately, not always the right food. I think that's, again, you know, that's something that comes from our upbringing, from our childhood, where food was very much a part of our family and it was a reward and it was, you know, my mother was a very, very good cook as well. So, there was always too much of it. And it was like a trough with me and my brother sort of having huge helpings. So, I became a climatize from a very young age to having huge helpings of not necessarily very healthy things. It's a tough one, isn't it, to adjust ones upbringing and relationship with food in that way. So, kale is good, really. OK. I have to kind of really learn some of those things and get away from habits which have been with me for 60 years or more. It's so deeply emotional, though, and that's what we don't really ever appreciate.

Using Sound for Therapy, Marketing and Branding (01:17:09)

We think it's just a decision, yes or no, but it's actually such a deeply emotional thing. All of these things are deeply psychological. So, I actually, I was talking to my friends about this the day and I said, I think, if you will, because we're all trying to get in shape and we're all working out together, etc. And one of my friends was like, well, I'm going to go on a diet. And I think the problem with that is it's not sustainable. What you're doing there is you're depriving yourself. You're actually sacrificing something you want to do. How did you get, I said, I think that the best way for all of us to get healthier is actually to go see a therapist. You know, what you just said, I absolutely resonate with because Jane's always saying to me that many times with clients, they come in and it's more of a therapy session than a physical workout because they're talking as they're doing things. And it's the talking that helps them more than perhaps the exercise or at least as much. So, you know, I do get that. And adjusting one's whole psyche to see things that were perceived as treats in childhood as not really treats and things that were perceived as punishments or, you know, really negatively in childhood. - You're kale. - Yeah. Exercise, go for a run, do something. You know, these things are actually good for us and they're really important to do. It's funny because there is a sound associated to food. - Yeah. - In the sense of just from a psychology or an emotional perspective, you know, sweets, it always sounds like that. - Well, sweet rappers crinkle for a reason. - Oh, yeah. - And so the crisp packets are crunchy for a reason. Because if you had crisp packets in soggy, you know, rubbery, rubberized containers, you wouldn't think the crisps were going to be fresh or as nice. So the sound of packaging certainly has a big effect on the way we perceive taste. I mean, it sounds and tastes the very associated. - I've never heard broccoli said with excitement. And I've had McDonald's and sweets and Coke, you know. But also from a marketing and branding perspective, you know, brands like Coca-Cola spend so much of their time trying to associate even a little, you know, that's... - Well, there was Shweps for years was, you know, who, which is the opening a bottle. So sound has been used in advertising for many, many years in a very profitable way. I think the first sound was Wheaties way back in about 1926. And it was a four part barbershop quartet who had a little song. So have you tried Wheaties? And it massively revolutionized the sales of Wheaties. And from that point on, it's been huge in advertising. It was only a few years ago that I got accustomed to the term audio branding.

Designing a Good Audio Brand (01:19:49)

- Ooh. - And then I got really obsessed with it. Because obviously running a podcast, people are listening to our podcast every week. It's in their ears. There are certain sounds they're familiar with. There's even certain sayings that start the podcast where I say, "I hope nobody's listening if you are keeping this to yourself." They've become accustomed to. What is it to have a good audio brand? And how does... Because there's multiple CEOs and brand owners that are listening to this that have never considered the fact that they have an audio brand as well. How does one go about doing that? Is it important? Well, the first thing to say is that all businesses, all organisations, and all brands are making sound already. Because I've had a conversation lots of times with marketing directors or CMOs where I've said, "This is how powerful it is." And they go, "Oh, maybe we should start doing some sound. You already are. It's just not designed. It's accidental. It might be the sound of your delivery trucks pissing people off at four o'clock in the morning. It might be the sound of your on-hold music or your automated call handling, "Sis to press one for this, press two for that." Nine levels later, you're still going. Those kind of sounds can really be damaging and can lose unbelievable amounts of money for a business. How many times have we slammed the phone down in frustration that one of those systems, which is designed by a technical person, not a marketing person, which doesn't... Older people hate them, and we have an aging demographic in every Western country. So they're becoming less and less popular. So sounds like those can be enormously damaging. The sound of your corporate reception. The number of corporate receptions I've walked into, where they've got a TV screen on the wall with news on. I remember when 9/11 happened, I walked into the reception of mechanics in London. They had big TV screens with burning skyscrapers on them. How are you expecting to have a good meeting when you inflict that kind of thing on people? I suppose it's supposed to say we're current and we're up to the minute and we're in tune with the world's events. But news generally is bad news. I think it's unthinking. Yeah, it is. Someone just talked, said, put something on there. If you have a screen in reception, have something playing about your company that's informative, that engages people, especially not commercial news, which may have ads from your competitors showing in your own reception. So those kind of sounds, I think, are very mindless. There's a huge amount of mindlessness about sound. We design for the eyes largely. And it's not that often that companies think about designing with the ears. So very often you'll have a company that spends masses of money on visuals, whether it's a retailer, like a supermarket. And doesn't think about the appalling sound of checkout beeps and trolleys clashing and some awful, tinned music coming across on tiny little loudspeakers that were never designed to play music. And so forth. You know, the cacophony that you and I have to go through a lot of the time in life, which is the result of people not designing. What brands do that well?

What brands do sound well? (01:22:49)

Do sound well. Yeah, generally. Well, I think that airlines and airplane manufacturers and car manufacturers are getting very good at it in terms of designing the sonic experience of using the aeroplane. I mean, there is an unbelievable noise on the fuselage of an aeroplane travelling at 500 miles an hour. And inside, you don't hear it. So the design in there is very good. And the same with cars these days. Most of them sound very good. Although there's a thing with electric cars, we have electric cars at slow speed. They're very silent and it can be dangerous. So you need a noise to warn people that car is coming. And a lot of the time they make a nice chord or something like that as they're moving through. Brands that have great, powerful sonic logos, there are plenty of those. You think of Intel, for example, "Don't, don't, don't." Which is something, you know, if I say to people, "Can you sing Intel's logo?" Lots of people can. If I said to you, "Can you draw Intel's logo?" No. Not really. It's a squarish thing, isn't it, or something? That sound, which was designed by a guy called Walter Wozauer, is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Intel and brand value. And they have batteries of lawyers who approve any tiny change to it, because it's a trademark for them. And it's a really important one. That's consistency, right? Because we've heard it so much. Is there anything else other than consistency for people that are thinking about their sonic signature and their content and their podcast, in their brand videos, whatever? Is there anything else other than just making sure people hear it a lot? Yeah. Well, if you're going to hear it a lot, it has to be not irritating as well. And there have been some pretty irritating sonic logos. But, I mean, if you think back, we talked a moment ago about the history of advertising and sound through advertising. I can remember from my childhood, so this is addressed to your older listeners, things like the fairy liquid jingle, four hands, that dude dishes, those kind of things. That was from 1965 or something. And I still remember it right now. So there are things that can be enormously iconic and powerful. From the Tony the Tiger, they're great, those kind of things, which last for years and years and years. There's been at least five Tonys saying that it's gone on so long. They've kind of all that often been replaced. Is there an emotion to even though it's a jingle?

What is the emotion of the sonic logo? (01:25:19)

We talked about earlier how storytelling implants it into your brain in a way that information can't. Is there a certain emotion to the sound or jingle that is important? Big time. Because sound affects us four ways. And this is a conversation which is really interesting to me. I mean, it was my first TED talk. It's not the most watched of the TED talks. And it's something which is the reaction I get from people is often the same it's well, that's absolutely obvious. But I never thought of it. I've never been conscious of it. You know, we're very, very ocular in the Western world, particularly. We're very orientated around the eyes. There are loads of design awards in the world. They're all for how things look. There's no design awards for how things sound. It's bizarre architects all about how things look very often. And they design things that sound awful and aren't fit for purpose because they look great. And that's all they care about. So it is very important to become sensitive. Sound changes your body physically. So for example, I could entrain your heartbeat. If you go, if I drop you in a nightclub with pounding dance music at 140 beats a minute, your heart rate will immediately increase. Or if there's a sudden sound. You got me. Yeah. So your heart rate just jumped because you had a shot of cortisol, your fight flight hormone and noradrenaline. And that gets you ready to fight or flee. So your heart rate, your breathing, your hormone secretions, your brainwaves, they all get changed by sound. That's the first way. Sound changes your feelings. Think of music. It's the most obvious example. But for me, you know, my favorite sound in the world is the sound of rain on leaves outside the window, summer rain on leaves outside the window. Well, that's enormously calming to me. Other people, it might be gentle surf or something like that. So sound can affect our feelings. Bird song makes people feel secure because the birds have been here far longer than we have. And we've learned over hundreds of thousands of years that when the birds are happily tweeting, things are safe. We're okay. If they suddenly stop, you need to be worried because birds stop it. There's a big predator like a lion. Then the third way sound effects us is how well you can think cognitively. You know, we are all completely used to the... Would you be quite trying to think here? Especially people's conversations, the most damaging sound of all. It's really difficult to think, which is why we are one third as productive in open plan offices as we are in quiet working spaces. One third, if we're trying to do knowledge working, you know, manipulate words or numbers in our head and write, for example. So I have friends at the BBC. You know, the BBC have gutted that entire building in Portland place. And it's now got a basement where they all sit writing with four floors of space above them. And it drives them nuts. If you're a journalist trying to write a story and you're finding on a deadline and you've got people around you talking, it is really difficult to concentrate. So that's in terms of cognition, how well we can think is affected by noise around us or sound around us. And finally, sound changes our behaviour. It changes what you do and what I do every day. There's a brilliant study actually, which was done some years ago by some academics. They had a supermarket with two gondola ends, French wine on one, German wine on the other one, visually identical. And all they did was to alternate the music. So day one, you had a bit of French accordion music, day two, you had a bit of German kind of unpar music. And they kept doing that for an extended period of time. On the French music day's French wine outsold German wine by five bottles to one, which may not be surprising, it does sell more in the world. So okay, we might expect that. But on the German music day's German wine outsold French wine by three bottles to one. Now that is a massive shift in behaviour and that's not people coming in going, ah, German music, therefore I shall buy a bottle of German wine. They weren't even aware of the music, most of the people who were surveyed. They hadn't noticed. So this is unconscious response to a sound situation. That's how much sound is changing our behaviour all the time. And so part of my message, part of my whole thrust and the difference I want to make in the world is to get people listening consciously so that we start to become aware of the ways in which sound is changing, our bodies, our emotions, our thinking and our behaviour. So we can start to take responsibility for the sound we consume and possibly even more importantly, responsibility for the sound we make with our voice. And you know, also willy nilly, inflicting sound on other people, possibly unkindly, which very often happens also.

Is there a counter argument for listening? (01:30:08)

Everyone listening to this podcast, you know, and I even imagine the title that will work best when we do our E.B. tests will be about how to be a great speaker. We've talked about why that is, why we all want to be heard more. It gives us a sense of significance, helps us to feel valued, which makes us part of the tribe and all of these things. But you, as we said at this very start at this conversation, you really are leading a crusade to get people to listen. Why should that be the title of the podcast? Why is that potentially even more important to the world? And if we all started to listen a bit more, why would the world be such a better place, personally and globally? Because I think with conscious listening, the result is always understanding. And that's what we need. Understanding in the world defrains conflict. It means that people can coexist side by side with people with whom they disagree. And we've seen the way that's not happening in the polarization of politics, for example, in America, where it becomes a hated thing for somebody to disagree with your views. You know, we're seeing such polarization in so many countries now. And that's all about this thing of being right and not listening to other people, not trying to learn anything, but becoming more and more entrenched in a set of opinions, which they may be useful to you. But is that true? Is that universally true? Would you brook any kind of antithesis to that? Any kind of counter view, any competing solutions to the world? How can you grow if you are stuck in a bunker and you're listening through a tiny little slit of an entrenched listening position that I'm right and everybody else is wrong, certainly on this issue? So to me, a passion for listening is about coexisting with people I don't agree with. I may not like, but they have a right to be here and they have a reason. There's usually a good reason for what people think or what people do often. And I'm not saying pity the mass murderer and so forth necessarily. You know, there'll be possibly reasons for that as well. We certainly need to understand them to stop it ever happening again. So listening even to people like that, I think there's things to learn. I mean, how could you ever become like that? And why would you ever behave like that? So if we just dismiss people that we don't approve of or people we don't like, then we don't learn very much at all. So I think listening is, you know, I said this, I did a TEDx talk in Athens, the cradle of democracy. And I went on stage and said, listening is the sound of democracy. Because without it, it's very hard. If I'm the minority, it's very hard to accept the majority view, isn't it? You're all wrong. And I'm going to fight. Well, that is just a recipe for anarchy, conflict, war, as we've seen. Whereas if I can say, okay, I can understand why you all think that. I'll try and change your opinion. But, you know, I'm not depersonalizing you. I'm understanding that you're human beings. You have a different view from me. And I can see why you got to that view. Then I can grow. You can grow. We can possibly come to some sort of synthesis. Thinking a lot about modern listening there and the tools we have to listen to each other, one of them being social media.

Social Media Concerns And Audience Queries

The problem with social media (01:33:40)

One of the things that's so tempting to do for all of us, which I've refrained, about two years ago, I made a very conscious decision to do this. But I used to just unfollow people that I didn't like what they said. So like, I wouldn't follow Trump, for example, or Nigel Farage, or like people that I thought were just idiots, or had ulterior motives, whatever. I would just unfollow them. And the problem with that approach, as I saw other echo chambers emerging online, is that I wasn't progressing in any way. As you've said it, I was decreasing the size of my information, my exposure, therefore my ability to have empathy or to understand people that didn't think like me. So I started following people who made me feel uncomfortable, so best way to describe it. Yeah, well, uncomfortable is a call for reassessment, isn't it? Yeah. And that's really important. But I do think social media has got a lot to answer for in the way that it's been abused by people with trolling, and particularly with shaming. There's a brilliant talk by John Ronson, who's become a friend of mine over the years on social media shaming. And if anybody hasn't seen that, I do recommend you watch it, because it is truly chilling to recount how a mob can beat somebody out of their job for what was originally quite an innocent post. So we now see slurs being unacceptable words being labeled on top of people who find it difficult to defend themselves, whether we're talking about racist, or we're talking about homophobe. At the moment, that person is labeled with that thing. It's very hard to get the stain off, isn't it? And then you get a mob who go on and start castigating the person without ever understanding what caused this in the first place. So I think we've got to be very careful about the way these things are used. And without listening to the person and what their views really are, it's all too easy to get into a kind of knee jerk mob, lynch mob kind of mentality, where we're being right. It comes back to that again, doesn't it? And that person is wrong and must be punished or shamed or cancelled or whatever it may be. So I think listening is really important. And as you say, to people who make us feel uncomfortable, well, that's a warning sign that perhaps we need to reassess or analyze or what is going on here. Why is this making me feel uncomfortable?

Question from Phoebe Smith (01:36:10)

Is it actually against my views or my values? Or is it against my social conditioning? Would my friends disapprove of me if I thought that kind of thing? I'd love to live in a world where we all, including myself, were much better at listening and also accepting ideas that made us feel uncomfortable. That's in part what I think we're trying to do here is to have conversations, to see ideas collide that help to move the world forward. And I know you started thinking about that the other day when we had a guest on called Africa Brook that maybe that's ultimately the net benefit of this is just fearless conversations in a medium where no one's going to be edited or will cut down and manipulate it that will hopefully push the conversation forward. And I'm not right. And my guests are sometimes, it's just all opinion. We do have a closing tradition on this podcast where the previous guest asks a question for the next guest. They write it in the book. Jack gets to see it. I don't get to see it until now. So give me a second to read it. They don't know who they're writing it for. And you will also be asked to do the same. I have been dreading this moment. Really? It's so funny that everyone gets really nervous now. Yeah. And I'll just say, you know, everyone takes a long time to answer, but then they also take an even longer map time to think of a question to write. Okay. Okay. This person wrote, so they've really given themselves away, but I have played sport for a living. I've presented. I've done acting and I've sang songs, but I would still love to do one more thing with my life. What's your one more thing? I think for me, I've resisted doing a lot of things that I know intellectually are really, really good for me. So I can probably crystallize that. We have in Scotland where I live. We have a thing called Munro's. These are a set of peaks. I think they're over 3000 feet or something like that. I can't remember how big they are, but they're, you know, sizable. And I saw an amazing story the other day about an 83 year old man, I think, who has just completed climbing all of the Munro's. There are a lot of Munro's. You're talking about more than a hundred. And he's just completed that. I mean, these are serious schleps, you know, and at his age, he's just completed. There was a wonderful picture of all his friends with walking sticks, forming a kind of, um, choreied off for him to walk through on his final complete. Um, I would love to take on doing at least one Munro a year as a walk.

Concluding Remarks

Final thoughts (01:39:04)

Jen and I've just got into serious walking where we live in Orkney. And we did an eight mile walk the other day and I was virtually crippled the following day. Move. So I'd love to get to the stage where I get my body used to that kind of thing. It is so beautiful to be out in the fresh air, to be in beautiful scenery, to be exercising my body in that way, to be losing weight, to be becoming fitter. I mean, there is just nothing but good from the whole thing. And taking it on to do it up on Munro, that would be a serious challenge for me. So one a year for the rest of my life would be fantastic. Amazing. And I'm going to find out if that happens. So me and Jen are going to stay in touch. Fair enough. Um, and maybe I'll come do a couple of the Munro's with you because I've got increasingly interested in like hiking. We love it. So do invite me if you do end up doing it. But um, Definitely. Thank you so much for your time today. Thank you, Stephen. You've given me so much from through your content and the videos, and especially the TED Talks. You've made me, it's one of those conversations that we've had today, but also from watching your videos where I start to reassess all of the, as I described it, like the unthinking I've done with sound. I just haven't thought about it enough. And through this conversation, I even thought about our little jingle at the start of the diary of a CEO, which we've always had since episode one. And to be honest, I've never really thought about it. It's just been there. And it's, and that kind of reassessment, because I completely agree with everything you've said about the importance of sound. But if I agree, then why aren't my actions and my, why isn't it such a high priority in the way that I'm thinking and designing the things that I create? So. And also everything you've said about conflict resolution and relationships and the importance that sound plays there. It's such an important conversation. One that I hope we can continue long after this podcast, but I just wanted to say thank you for your time today. Thank you for listening. That's a lovely way to end. Thank you for speaking and thank you for listening. It means the world to me. Thank you. Thank you, Stephen. I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. My girlfriend came upstairs yesterday when I was having a shower. And she said to me that she tried the heel protein shake, which lives on my fridge over there. And she said, it's amazing. Low calories, you get your 20 odd grams of protein, you get your 26 vitamins and minerals, and it's nutritionally complete. In the protein space, there's lots of things, but it's hard to find something that is nice, especially when consumed just with water. And that is nutritionally complete. And that has about 100 calories in total, while also giving you your 20 grams of protein. If you haven't tried the heel protein product, do give it a try. The salted caramel one, if you put some ice cubes in it and you put it in a blender, and you try it, is as good as pretty much any milkshake on the market, just mixed with water. It's been a game changer for me because I'm trying to drop my calorie intake and I'm trying to be a little bit more healthy with my diet. So this is where heel fits in my life. Thank you, heel, for making a product that I actually like. The salted caramel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is where my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one.

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