This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Richard Newman. Richard is the Founder and CEO of Body Talk, the global leader in evidence-based training on the psychology of communication.. Since 2000, Richard and his team have trained over 120,000 people worldwide, with clients ranging from CEOs, Vice-Presidents and leadership teams across many industries, including Virgin, Expedia, NYU, Microsoft and 3M in 46 countries.
Richard is an award-winning author and in-demand speaker with expertise in leadership communication, storytelling, mindset, and personal impact. His latest book is called Lift Your Impact: Transform Your Mindset, Influence, and Future to Elevate Your Work, Team, and Life, reveals. The book details the small communication changes that can create a massive difference in the way you are perceived by those around you.
Effective communication is one of the most, if not the most important skills in life and business and Richard can teach us a lot about how to be our best in this area along with how to better tell our stories and improve our presence.
From a very young age, Richard realized he was not great at communication. He was called a shy child and was introverted. Many years later, he also found out that he was slightly autistic. When he was 18, he decided he wanted to something more meaningful and adventurous that did some good. He got the opportunity to go to a monastery with Tibetan monks and help teach them English. He thought they would already have some proficiency in English. He was wrong. At 18, he flew to Delhi by himself, then had a 2 day train journey to get to the monastery. He found himself in a little town and the monastery they took him to ended up being the wrong one. There was actually 7 monasteries in this small town. It took 5 different monasteries to get to the right one. But, to his surprise, they did not speak any English and Richard did not speak Nepalese and Indian.
After sitting with them for a little while, they started to communicate through body language. He realized that he had to make sure his body language and tone of voice matched, and he could communicate. By the time his 6 months was up, he had learned some of their language and had gotten them to where they were pretty proficient in English.
He came back to the UK fascinated with communication and studied acting for 3 years. He took what he learned and started teaching effective communication as a hobby in local community.
He started to get referrals and this is how his business was born.
Were they any other unexpected life and/or business lessons that you learned from spending time with monks at 18?
- It was an amazing opportunity.
- Because he was sort of on his own, he found himself spending much more time in thought.
- He would go on the roof of the monastery where he would go and think. It gave him the opportunity to think about his true place in the universe.
- First, he spent a great deal of time thinking through his values. He decided what kind of human he wanted to be.
- He also decided what life he wanted to live – an extraordinary future. His true north.
- He decided that by the age of 30, he wanted to be running his own acting skill to teach others how act and express themselves empowering them.
- And by 30, he was doing it, but instead teaching adults how to use skills of acting to better communicate.
- He credits his success to the time he spent on that roof thinking through who he truly is and wanted to be.
What are the pillars of great communication?
- It’s not about others, it is about you.
- You need to work on you and your behavior when it comes to communication so you can work best with others.
- You have to look at your body language, voice, and words.
- Always think about what you target is. Think of how you want people to feel after leaving the meeting or conversation with you. Don’t focus on how you feel – focus on how they will feel.
- Think of what the win-win would be for them.
- At the 17 min mark, Richard gives some great examples. Your tone of voice and body language need to work in tandem.
- You must also ask effective questions to engage appropriately. You want to listen through multi-levels. Not just what they say, but how they say it, tone, and their body language as they do.
- You must use the structure of story-telling that resonates with every human being.
You say most people in business are telling their story wrong. How do we tell a better story?
At the 25 min market, Richard does a great job explaining this, so it is best to listen.
- The science of story-telling tells us that there is a certain way the human mind wants to receive information.
- There is a structure to it.
- The key thing to know is “who is the hero of the story.” It’s the same every time. The Hero of every story is the persona you are speaking to. That is how people view the world placing themselves at the center of a story.
- Every human being has challenges and every human being has goals. They go on a journey to overcome challenges and reach goals.
- When speaking to someone, they care about their challenges and goals – not yours.
Tell us more about how to have better presence when speaking or leading others…
- Before you walk into a room, take time to get a present state of mind.
- The first thing you need to work on is to be thoroughly present in your mindset – you have control over this.
- Remind yourself of what your values are to prime yourself to be the best version of you.
- Don’t seek validation from others or fall prey to this.
- You also must have gravitas. Don’t ship your weight from one hip to another. Don’t put yourself in a place of being off balance. You want to be centered and grounded in how you stand.
Anything else surrounding mindset that you feel is important for us to know?
- Ask, who do I need to be and show up as in life.
- Beware labeling who you are and limiting your potential.
- What you have been is not what you have to be going forward in the future.
- Richard uses an example of how changing a clients way of communicating to present like he is presenting to his daughter, shifted everything and energized his team where they became more engaged.
- There are also story-telling architypes – we can all tap into them. A few are common.
- Example: The sovereign is akin to the king or queen – it’s the part of you that you access when you need to make big decisions and be decisive. The opposite is the sprite – which is the playful, less serious type. Again, what part of you needs to show up to go where you need to go?
Talk about how you almost lost your business, but brought it back to be even more successful…
- Pre-pandemic, 70% of Richard’s business was done through face to face events, sessions, and meetings.
- When the pandemic hit, everything stopped abruptly, and the revenue was gone.
- Every source of income was gone. The conversations were around how to handle bankruptcy.
- He looked at all kinds of things from not paying taxes to taking big Govt loans.
- If that wasn’t enough, he had a group hack his systems and start to try and steal his business, so there was big lawsuit.
- There was even a time he got to a dark place and had suicidal thoughts.
- He went back to mindset and his north star.
- At 6am every morning, he would meditate and visualize for 45 mins on how we could change his business to succeed. He would then exercise.
- He took decisive action every day pivoting the business.
- As a result, the business came out having it’s best year ever and being even better, providing even better service.
- Mindset first was the key…
Best Quote: We don’t get very long on this planet. Commit to doing something that feels worthwhile to you.
Richard's Misfit 3:
- We don’t get very long on this planet. Commit to doing something that feels worthwhile to you. Take time to figure this out for yourself. The most worthwhile things tend to be the things you do for others that have a lasting impact.
- Eat a plant-based diet. It helps your health and the planet.
- Remember to tell people that you love them. Let people know how much they matter to you.
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