Leadership Unfiltered | L.A. Tribune TV with Jessica Abo
In a recent episode of Leadership Unfiltered, Jessica Abo sits down with communications expert Majeed Mogharreban to discuss the importance of storytelling in communication and how it can be used to generate income. Majeed shares tips on becoming a better storyteller, such as making the story relatable and engaging the audience’s senses.
Jessica Abo: Majeed, you have made millions from speaking. How have you done it?
Packaging and selling my knowledge in products, programs, and online courses.
Tell us some ways that other people could go out there and do that.
Doing what I did, like packaging and selling your own knowledge. Or you can use speaking to sell someone else’s products or programs or you can even use speaking to raise capital for investments or helping companies grow.
At the core of everything you believe, we will find great storytelling, but what does storytelling mean to you in the first place?
Great communicators are great storytellers, and before we had the internet, even before we had television, we had stories. It’s like a technology to transfer knowledge. It’s what makes people understand each other.
Can we become better storytellers? And if so, how?
Anyone can be a great storyteller. It’s not a genetic gift. I’ll give you three tips. Tip number one, tell a story where we can feel the scene, make us smell it, make us touch it, make us taste this. Bring us into the scene. Number two, tell the story in the present tense. There I was standing outside, the car pulls up to me, I hear the wheels screeching. And tip number three is don’t just tell the story, relive the story. Something that I heard a coach say one time is when you share a story, the story might be about you, but when you’re on a stage, it’s not about you, it’s about your audience.
How do we tell stories that are about us that come from our childhood or from a work experience and still make it be about the audience?
You make your story relatable. You talk about how you grew up with challenges just like everybody else. You talk about how sometimes you felt like giving up just like everyone else. You tell people’s stories that make them like you and trust you because they see themselves in you.
And when it comes to the work that you do, how do you help people either craft their story or tell their story?
Facts tell, stories sell. So I help my clients turn all of their facts into stories so that they can be more relatable, more connected, and more emotional. Because ultimately people buy with emotion and justify with logic, even if they’re not selling something that’s requiring money. As leaders, we’re always selling people on why they should buy into our vision.
That makes a lot of sense. And you’ve actually written an entire book about this topic. It’s called Expert Speaker, and it covers five important steps for the person who has a talk ready to go. What are those steps?
Step one: Audience. You got to know who you’re talking to, what their challenges are and what their dreams are. Step two: Offer. You get to create a solution to their problem. Step three: Speech. Build a signature speech that tells your story and shows the audience how to solve their problem. Step four: Stages. How to get on the right stages with the right people so that your speech really has a big impact. Step five: Monetize. Turn every speaking opportunity into a money-making opportunity.
So after someone has worked on their talk and they feel ready to go out there and share it with the world, how do they find opportunities to get on stages?
Your speech will have the highest impact when it’s for the right audience. Once you know who you want to talk to, you can actually talk to those people and ask them what conferences are they attending? What podcasts are they listening to? What newsletters are they subscribed to so that you can put your message in front of the right people and you can even ask for introductions to who’s organizing the conference and who’s running the podcast. And that’s how you get on stages.
Majeed, when we were preparing for this interview, you actually told me something that hit me so hard and resonated with me so much that I’ll be thinking about it for the rest of my life and it has to do with the work we do and the rewards that we get to experience. Can you share what you shared with me and bring it into the context of speaking?
The work is the reward and your job is sales and marketing. What that means for a speaker is giving the speech is the reward. The job is marketing and selling yourself as a speaker and as a professional speaker for 15 years, I can tell you that a very tiny percentage of the time is actually on stage delivering the talk. The rest of the time is marketing and selling myself as a speaker and an expert to get onto that stage, to earn the right to give the talk. The talk is fun, the talk is easy. That’s the reward for doing the job of an entrepreneur, which is to sell and market your services.