Andrea Sampson

Be the next TEDx speaker

Be the next TEDx speaker

Andrea Sampson

Co-Founder & Executive Speaker Coach

About Andrea

Andrea Sampson is a former Strategist and Consultant who worked in marketing and advertising for over 25 years, presenting and building strategies for Fortune 100 companies. Andrea is sought after to help teams and executives build presentations or pitches because she has a natural gift for creating interesting stories and persuasive information.

Andrea’s passion for ideas brought her to TEDxToronto four years ago, where she first contributed as a Speaker Coach, then as the Director of Programming in 2015, and finally as the Conference Co-Chair in 2016. Talk Boutique, a speaker management, development, and representation company, was founded as a result of this volunteer work. Andrea was the 2017 Singularity University Canada Summit’s Co-Director.

Take home these learnings

1) What does it mean to be an introvert?
2) Why being an idealist is more important than being a capitalist.
3) The three important lessons of life.
4) Explaining how Andrea works with TEDx speakers.

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Episode Transcript:

Doesn’t really matter what you do, where you are, what you have….what matters is the impact you are creating in the world, and the values you are living from… From what it means to be an entrepreneur, to finding expressions…from dealing with your feelings, to finding a way that could possible help your audience to believe in you….we are going to have it all in this episode… Welcome Ladies and gentleman, welcome to another episode of the podcast The xMonks Drive and this is your host Gaurav Arora. Our today’s guest is Andrea Sampson. Andreas is a Coach to the TEDx Speakers, an entrepreneur, and a Mentor. If you dream or aspire to be a TEDx Speaker, you can’t afford to miss this episode I promise you…from finding your core idea and structuring your talk, to presenting it to your audience….you are going to find it all in this one episode…so…let’s take a dive… I can’t even imagine how the last 50 minutes flew by so quickly… What’s left with me is a statement and a question: - The question is….Your feelings do matter wherever you are… - And the question I am left with is… How can I create a different narrative in the world and build a social infrastructure which is in alignment with who I am? Hey… btw what’s your key take away. I would love to hear from you… please do leave a review and rate this podcast. And I look forward to meeting you again next week with yet another interesting episode at The xMonks Drive Podcast… Till then take care… 00:03 So welcome, Andrea, thank you so much for joining us on the show The xMonks Drive, such a pleasure having a master on this show. Andrea Thank you so much. I so appreciate being here. Thank you for having me. Gaurav So, Andrea, let's jump into directly to know about Andrea, the master coach, who trains and coaches people who step on the platform of TEDx. Not an easy job to do, I'm sure. Before we even get there, I have a question. I've heard you saying that you are not at all an extrovert, you have learned to be an extraversion? What does that mean? 00:45 So, you know, I'm an introvert I am when I do any of those personality profiling tests. What always comes back is that I am as far an introvert as you can possibly be. But no, when you look at me, here, I sit before you with pink hair, and you know, big glasses and lots of gregarious features. 01:07 I look like an 01:09 extrovert. And truthfully, most of my life, I have been in roles and jobs, where I have had to be an extrovert, you know, where I am the go-to person where I'm the storyteller where I'm the one on stage. And, this is not an easy place for an introvert because you know, when you think about introverts and extroverts, real biggest difference, you know what most people think it's like, "Oh, well, you know, extroverts the life of the party, and an introvert is the one in the corner shying away from everything." And while that may be a little bit true, but actually more true about introverts and extroverts is it's the way in which we think and when I first understood this, it made so much sense. You see, extroverts think out loud, extroverts have that verbalization of everything that's coming into their brain comes out of their mouth. And that's the way in which they process whereas an introvert, we take in, we take in, we take in, we take in, we say very little, and then when we speak, we speak in full sentences, and full thoughts, or full strategies. And so, what would happen, I mean, my background is advertising. So, you can imagine I would be in a room full of people who are all highly creative, who are all motivated and driven and strong personalities. And we would be doing things like brainstorming and creative, you know, creative problem solving, and everybody would be jumping in with an idea. And I'd be sitting in the back with no input until the end of it. And then I would take what everybody else has said, and turn it into something usable. And, you know, it used to be that I would sit in the back of the room and go, "Oh, my God, I have nothing to contribute, oh, my God, I've got nothing." And it was really difficult. And it wasn't until I really understood that I had to work with my way of thinking in order to be of service in that room. And so, I started to learn how to work with extroverts. But then I also learned how to act like an extrovert, I still am not a verbal thinker, I don't think out loud. What I do know is that I can work with those who do in such a way that I can take their input and help them. So, it's not that I'm taking what they're saying. It's that I'm repeating what they're saying in such a way that they hear it differently. And I hear it differently, and so does the room. So, that’s a learned behaviour. Another learned behaviour was being on a stage. You know, I don't like being on a stage. I don't like being the person that everybody is looking at. But I know that in order to deliver the value that I have, the mastery that I have, that's part of the role. And so I step into it, and I find the persona. So for me, part of what I do if I have to be on stage or be anywhere, is that I've got that part of me that I can step into, you know, there's a great book and I'm trying to remember the author, but it's on this idea of problems, an archetype stylebook, and it's completely escaped my brain. But the idea is to create your alter ego, that's what it's called "Alter Ego". And so, I have an alter ego and when I step on stage, that's who I am. And you know who like there's some very famous people who do this Beyonce as an example. She has her alter ego of Sasha Fierce. Now, you know, Beyonce, is in fact, another introvert, would we believe she's an introvert? No, we don't, because look at her. She's Beyonce. But when she's performing, she's not Beyonce, she's Sasha Fierce. And so that's what I do. 04:57 Gaurav Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you so much, Andrea, for sharing that. Andrea now, so, you drive Singularity University in Canada, you're a part of TEDx community in Canada, you run your own organization, you work with leaders to become better communicators, there's so much that you're involved in, there's so many projects that you're involved in. So, if you were to let people know, what do you do? How do you position yourself? Andrea 05:26 And I'll also say thank you for all of those incredible compliments, but I'm not quite that great. So, singularity, I'm part of that team and TEDx Of course, there's so many different TEDx within Canada, I run my own TEDx Corktown. And then I've also been a part of TEDx Toronto. But, you know, when people ask me what I do, or, you know, sort of like, what is it that you know, that you're really the, I guess, the master of and really what I am is a storyteller. I'm an expert storyteller, and I'm a translator. 06:01 And what I mean by that 06:03 is that I help others translate their ideas of who and what they are and what they want to do. And I have to translate that in a way that others can understand it. And I learned this about myself many years ago, when I was in advertising, you know, I've always sort of straddled two worlds. So, if you think of TEDx or even singularity, these are worlds that tend to encroach upon, you know, technical, scientific academia, right? They're highly technical worlds. And, and yet, it's mainstream, right? They've been really good at being able to take these technical things and bring them into the mainstream in such a way that we understand it. Well, that's sort of what happened for me early on in my career, I was working in advertising, a creative industry. But you know, advertising has become highly technical. And it started to happen in the mid-90s. And I was working in advertising at the time. And I had a real penchant for technology. And I love tech, you know, in the early, early days of tech, like I'm one of those early adopters, I've been on the internet, whatever it was, in those days since the mid-90s. And so, what happened was, I was delving into the area of data, and understanding the power of data. In fact, at one point in my career, I owned a data company. And then with that, I understood the technologists, who were, in fact, working on the data. But I also was probably creative. And I worked with creative people and so, what I became was the translator between the data and tech guys, and the creative teams. I could speak both languages fluently and I could help them understand what each needed from the other. And so, this translation ability, which just came natural to me, kind of evolved over time. And when I got involved in Ted, that's when I started to understand that it was, he was translation. It was also storytelling. Yeah, because that's what I was actually doing. I was telling stories to either group in language they could understand. And so, the translation piece is really, really interesting. 08:26 Gaurav I love it when you said that I can understand it, you can understand it, and others can understand it. Yeah. So, before I, before we dig deeper into your understanding of the way you chisel and you carve, the speaker out of an individual. Just curious, you said that you used to work with advertisement, right. And from advertisement to also what I know is that you were at one point in time you were a faculty, right? you were teaching students who were older than you and then from that space to now leading an organization Tell me more about that. What is that? What are those two missing chapters that I'm not able to connect? 09:08 Andrea How did I go from sort of being the employee, the lecturer to the business owner? 09:15 Gaurav Yes. Yeah. 09:16 Andrea I mean, that's an interesting process. I think, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. You know, I didn't grow up going "I can't wait to own my own business." In fact, for me, owning my own business seemed terrifying was not something I ever really envisioned myself doing. But it always seemed to be around me. When I was married, my ex-husband had several businesses, which I ended up getting involved in in a peripheral way, even while I was you know, working full time. And then, you know, when I went out on my own and started working, I was still working inside of agencies but was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with what I was able to do because here's The thing, while I never saw myself as being an entrepreneur, what I did always see myself as was making a difference in the world, that was always really important for me. And I thought that advertising was such an amazing way for me to make a difference in the world, here's a medium that has math, awareness, that's what it does. And I'm working with some of the largest brands in the world, those brands who have money and clout and, you know, recognition to be able to put forward a message that while yes, they were trying to sell more of their product, they could also do some good in the world. And so, I had this belief that the idealist inside of me had this belief that I would be able to make a difference through the lens of my clients. And so that started to not be true for me anymore, I started to realize that that wasn't going to get realized that the impact I could make in advertising was always only going to be very minimal and it really wasn't profound enough for me. And so, I started looking for other ways in which to satisfy that desire and so, I started volunteering, and by chance, ended up volunteering at TEDx Toronto. And, you know, at the time, and they hired me, Vollen hired because he still had to go through this whole interview process, but it was a volunteer position. And then Vollen hired me as a speaker's coach, I didn't know what a speaker's coach was, I had never heard of it. But I thought, well, I mean, I present every day, I sometimes was presenting five times in a day, so I knew how to present wasn't an issue. But doing it, that style was a new, a new process for me. And well, what happened there was that two things happen. One was that I learned that everything I had done in advertising as a strategist, as a, you know, sort of the planner that I was, which is the underpinnings of all creative strategy, that's what I did, prepared me to be a TED speaker coach perfectly because every talk has a core idea. And every one campaign has a core idea. And there was actually no difference between how it came to a core idea on an ad campaign than with a speaker. So that was really interesting for me. But the second thing that happened was, I started to realize how deeply unhappy I was in advertising, and that I needed to do something else. So, during my tenure at TEDx Toronto, I started to understand that I needed to leave advertising and do something that gave me the opportunity to make a much more direct impact in the world. And the work I'm doing at TEDx Toronto, at that point in time, has given me that feeling. And I had this like desire of like, I wonder, when could I do this and get paid for it? And one of my colleagues at the time, who was volunteering as well at TEDx Toronto said, "Well, we could start a company." And I was like, "No, no one would pay for this." And he said, "Yeah, they would, and they pay well" and I'm like, "Really?" And so, he and I started Talk Boutique together. And that was in 2016. He has since left 13:22 the company, but we started this company with this idea that we could actually create deep impact in the world, by helping those who have complex messages that the world needs to understand and hear. And so, think of TED speakers think of singularity faculty, but also think of the hundreds of 1000s of people out there, who were doing the work to impact the world. They've got their head down. Some of them are in science, some of them are in academia, some of them are in medicine, some of them are in technology, but they're doing the work. They're just not telling anyone about it, or if they are, no one understands. And so Talk Boutique is really about being able to take those experts, and what I call changemakers, and transform them into thought leaders by helping them to become storytellers. Because ultimately, what that is all about is finding the idea, wrapping it in story, and sharing it in a way that people enjoy. Oh, you're on mute. 14:37 Gaurav Thank you, Andrea. Now, Andrew, there are two questions that I have. You know, I remember during our initial conversation, you mentioned that "I was an idealist in the capitalist world." that is one question. Because that is where when you're talking about making a difference and directly impacting people who are doing some really good work and meaningful work, that's one. The second one is what's the process that you follow when you work with an individual to identify the core area and convert that thought into a story into a storytelling format that sells on the TEDx platform. So, these are the two questions for you. 15:16 Andrea So yeah, so that idea of being the idealist in the capitalist world, you know, I think it's something that you know, who that Steve Jobs who said, you know, you can only connect the dots in retrospect. And I think that's what it's been for me, as I look back on my time in advertising, here I was, you know, this idealist I was always trying to play by the rules, I was always trying to make a difference, but live in all of the rules that were set out for me. And, you know, the world didn't want an idealist what that world wanted was a capitalist, you needed to, you know, not do the right thing, but do the right thing as long as it made money for somebody. And I wanted to do the right thing. It didn't matter to me if we made money. And you know, hence, not ever wanting to be an entrepreneur, right? Like, there, there it is, right there. Right? The idealist is like, I don't need money. Well, that's not true. Of course, we do need money, money is the way in which our world works. That said, there's a way of doing it as an idealist. And you know, so I had to learn the hard way that I needed to step away from that capitalist world. And I needed to really delve deeply into what it is to be an idealist, and how being an idealist can be of service in the world. And be also be able to make money in the world, that it's okay, you can have both. And so, that was a big learning for me. 16:55 And you know, truthfully, 16:57 I think I learned that every day, it's not something that you learn once you learn it. Every day. You're on mute again. 17:06 You're on mute. 17:08 Gaurav You know, interestingly, Andrea, you use the word entrepreneur twice in the conversation. And the first time in us when you use that word, you said I was not an entrepreneur. I'm just wondering, what was the sense that you were making, from the word, being an entrepreneur that didn't allow you to embrace that word fully and completely? 17:32 Andrea Yeah, so what, as I look back, so when I would think to myself why I'm not an entrepreneur, it was because of the risks, right? Like, for me, having grown up in a world of in the corporate world, I mean, I had spent my entire career in the corporate world, I was used to every two weeks, there was a paycheck, that was deposited into my bank account. And I knew how much money I was going to make. And I knew the process, I knew how I could get promoted. Or if I wasn't going to get promoted, I could go and get another job. And the risk of not having that. I couldn't imagine it like to me, wow, entrepreneurs, were the bravest people in the world. I never saw myself as being that brave. And yet others did. Which was, it always fascinated me. People used to say to me all the time, you know, you've got such an entrepreneurial spirit. And I'd be like, what do you mean, like? Yeah, you know, but in retrospect, again, this is that dot connecting it's that I can look back. And I can see that I had many of the attributes of an entrepreneur, like, what it was very risk-taking, like, I took lots of risks in my business, like in the work that I would do. I was always out on the leading edge, I was always the one pushing the boundaries for my clients, like, Look, you know, we were doing email, before email was really out there. We were doing full-on campaigns and the 90s. 18:53 Like, and there wasn't even an email 18:53 then, you know, I was working with, with companies where we were doing, you know, variable landing pages in the 90s. Gaurav Wow Andrea This is crazy stuff, right? That's what I was always pushing boundaries and getting my clients to follow me. And so, people saw that kind of tenacity and saw it as bravery. I never saw his bravery, to me, it was like, "Well, you've always got to be looking at what's coming. And if you're, if everybody else is doing it, you're too late. Because it's done, you got to be ahead of that curve." And I guess that's an entrepreneurial, you know, attribute as well. So, I didn't see those things in myself. So, I think it was the risk-taking that was terrifying for me. And also, the other piece, I think that I can own now, but probably wouldn't have said then, is that the idea of actually being the one in charge was terrifying. Because I always even though I always I was always in senior management, like I in advertising, I almost entered the career at senior management level. And I was never afraid of taking on responsibility. But being the leader is a very different thing than leading a team. Right. So being a CEO, being a, you know, being the because, you know, there's, you've got to be in front of the public, you've got to be the one that's actually making all of the decisions, there's no one else to help you. And so that became that was another piece for me. And I would say that that is something that I've only that, in the last year, really, I've gotten over, as I've taken on Talk Boutique my business solely. Because I, you know, my partner left the business last year, and I took it over fully, and which was, I was ready for, I was finally ready for it, but it took me that long. 20:58 Gaurav So, what shifted in this journey for you? 21:01 Andrea It really is trusting myself, trusting that my instincts are good that my creativity is solid, that I am able to fully make decisions and good decisions. And it the way that that has come about has been by allowing myself to truly reflect upon the last 45 years of my career, and see that I actually have always made good decisions and that I am a good leader and always have been and just it was me in my own way. 21:43 Gaurav Just curious, Andrea, how has this complete journey changed your relationship with feel risk-taking decision making? That you're really happy about? 21:59 Andrea Oh, you know, I think I am now much more comfortable with all of those risk-taking, decision making. Those are things that I had to understand that I could do and so 22:21 with thinking, 22:22 like I said, it was such an interesting thing with we're layered as humans, right. And so, I always saw myself as a risk-taker. As an entrepreneur- when I became an entrepreneur. And when I started Talk Boutique with my ex-business partner, what I saw in myself was I started taking less risk because he was very out there risky. And I started to become the risk-averse person, which was like, wow, that's not me. I've never been risk-averse. But it was important. And it was an important lesson for me. Because what I needed to understand was that there is a threshold within which we especially as entrepreneurs need to live. If we're all the way out there taking risks, unnecessarily, what happens is we put ourselves in a very precarious position. But if we don't take enough risk, we don't grow. And so, I learned that lesson, and I learned my own threshold for risk. And so, I am not as risky as I was with other people's money, interestingly. But I'm more risky than I ever have been in my own business, I am taking risks, I am understanding the direct correlation between risk-taking and growth. And that was a really important lesson to learn. 23:54 Gaurav So today, as you stand on that Wantage point, and look back, what are the top three lessons that you've learned for yourself? 24:05 Andrea So number one, take care of yourself. And I think this has been a hard lesson for me. You know, I have always taken care of everyone else, taken care of the business, taken care of all the things that needed to be taken care of. And this past year, with all of the challenges that we've had with a global pandemic, with changes in the business environment, with, you know, impacts at a, you know, diversity, equity and, you know, inclusion standpoint, with sustainability. What I've learned is that if I don't take care of me, there's none of me to be able to give to all of those things because I have a lot to give in those areas. So, you know, having a consistent routine that includes things like meditation and writing and You know, looking at myself through the lens of truth, and meanness, those have been incredibly important, and the payoff on them is massive. So that's number one. Number two, 25:13 I'm a good leader. 25:14 And, you know, I lead with heart, I lead with, with strength, and I lead with vision. And, you know, those are the pieces of integrity, that I think are really important. Integrity is one of those words that people often misunderstand because integrity simply means that I aligned to my own values. And so, I have had to learn what my values are. And then to align to them. And I can truly say that I have, because I do believe in all of the things that I've said today, and my actions and my intentions align to those values. I love it when you say it “attention and intentions are aligned with your values”. And it has to be right. And then the third thing that I've learned, so what would be the third thing I've learned of this past year, I've learned that you have to be flexible. You know, flexibility is incredibly important. And of course, we've all had to learn that this year. But I think even you know, flexibility is one of again another word that I like to play with because I think flexibility isn't just in Oh, we all pivot it. Flexibility is I have to really learn so much of what I've known for my entire career. And so, I have to be flexible enough to be curious and I have to be flexible enough to be open and I have to be flexible enough to say, "I don't know the answer." And those are really hard things. But they're all part of the flexibility that I have to have as a leader in a world in massive change. 27:06 Gaurav The first one is when you talk about his self-love, then you are a good leader. And you know that and the third one is flexibility. Yeah, you know, as a coach, too few of the best speakers, and you work with corporate executives to handle media, you train and coach people on how to handle conversations, how to be a good storyteller. What does expression mean to you? 27:36 Andrea What does Sorry? What does expression mean to me? Yeah. expression is, so that's a really layered word, right? Another word like I love language, right? Because language, you know, language is one of those things that really defines our culture. And when we do we start to deconstruct how we use language, right? And so, expression is one of those words, that has so many layered meanings. So first of all, it's how do you express how do you actually speak? So how are you expressing what it is you want to convey in the world, but it's also expressing how you feel. So, there's the what you mean. And then there's the how you feel. And for me, true expression comes when you can create, again, an alignment between what you're saying, and how you're feeling. When I'm working with, you know, speakers and senior leaders, this is the piece that really is the difference between somebody who's good and somebody who's great and what I mean by that is that, especially in the corporate world, so in the corporate world, we're taught, your feelings don't belong at work, which, by the way, is the biggest load of BS that anyone ever set, because your feelings absolutely do belong, no matter where you are, yeah, because they are the guidance system that allows us to traverse a very multi-layered world. So, when I'm speaking with a corporate executive, what I'm helping them to do is to use vocalizations and language that matches what they want to express from a feeling standpoint. But what I'm also doing is getting them to feel it. And so, I'll do exercises with them where I'm taking them dropping them into their body and then dropping them into their heart so that they can feel it and it's not comfortable because they've been trained to not do that. You know, so many of our leaders are really just a whole lot of talking heads. Like they're literally heads without ease, right? Because they live in their brain. And so, 29:52 Gaurav And when the speaker does not land, you know, it's like I know what you're saying you're speaking some English blubber but yeah, I've not been able to connect to what you're talking about. Andrea you know, I 30:07 read a lot on this subject and you know, one of the things about language that I think is so interesting, I worked with a semiotics professor semiotics being the study of language a few years back on one of the TED events that I worked on. And he did this entire talk because that was fascinating on the origins of language, and the thesis of his talk, was that language is a failed human experiment. And it he gave us, he took us on this journey from cave drawings, you know, millennia ago, the cave drawings that we found, all the way to the present day, emojis, and he shows how we are returning to cave drawings, and what he was talking about with the fact that you know, why humans began to, to create these drawings or create, you know, put something down, was to codify what they were, what they were experiencing, and what they were feeling, right? because that's really what the cave drawings were, they always had, it was a picture, but it was a picture of a hunt, or of a ceremony or something. So, you got the sense of emotion, right. And as we became more verbal, what happened is that the emotion started to leave our language. And especially, you know, when we went into writing because writing became very, the emotion like verbal, we could still put emotion with it, but writing, suddenly, that's where the emotion started to get cleared out of it. Now, there's lots of emotional writing, don't get me wrong, but it's the place where we started to really strip emotion from it. And so that emotional piece is we've been trained for hundreds of years, who keep just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. And that is, again, one of the worst fallacies in our culture. Because it's not just because I could be speaking to you in one language. And you could be speaking in another. And we may not understand a word that each other says, but we could make ourselves understood, how? because it's actually the emotion that we're listening for. Not. And, you know, who was it somebody that was listening to something recently, and it said, 32:34 you know, like, 32:35 if you watch, it's actually friends, friends, is it really, you know, do you know the TV show? Friend? Gaurav Yes, yes. Andrea So, it's a great example of using emotional cues. So, you could literally turn off the sound on friends and just watch them. And you would be able to understand what was going on in those scenes, Gaurav The exchange of emotions. Andrea Because they're using such physical language, right? They're all their expert, expert actors at physical communications. And so, they and they're using, because it's acting, they're using actually exaggerated forms. And so, you could and often people do, like in different languages still understand what is being said. So, that emotional conveyance happens through body, not through words. And so, when I'm working with senior executives, or with speakers, that's what I'm working with them on, is where's the alignment, the congruence between the words you're saying? The voice, you're using the tone, the pace, the inflexions, and the way in which you're using your body? Because when you have a congruence between those two things, that's where your audience believes you. Because that's what we're talking about, because that's authenticity. Right? We naturally are congruent in all three of those things. When we are just telling a story or being ourselves, as soon as we're put into an artificial situation, like a stage presentation, or a boardroom presentation, or the corporate, you know, sort of earnings call, we go into this artificial place of "I have to be this other thing." And then we have to learn how to bring the congruence back. Because there's the fear that if we express incorrectly, that others won't believe us, right? But when the congruence is there, you don't have to worry about that. 34:41 Gaurav So, since you're talking about congruence, and you're talking about alignment, and that's a question that I asked you, in fact, what is the process that you follow when you work with TEDx speakers? Also, because you spoke about you help individuals identify their core message. So how do you help people to go through that complete process because You know, eight out of 10 times, you might come across people who are not even clear about their core idea. 35:05 Andrea I would say 10 out of 10 times, they're never clear on their core idea, it's the hardest thing to actually do. Gaurav What's the process that you follow to? Andrea The process that we follow. So, over the years, I've developed something that I call the talk Canvas, which is a framework to build out a talk that uses a combination of story narrative, idea and messaging that supports it. So, when we talk about a TED talk, you know, I think we can all agree that what a TED talk is, is it's an idea wrapped in a story told through the lens of support and fact. And so, the first thing you have to do is come up with your idea. Well, an idea is really three things. An idea is comprised of a point, activation of that point, sorry, the topic, a point and a passion. Okay. It's a what a how and why. So, the What is your topic, it's the thing you want to talk about? So, from an idea’s perspective, what is the idea that you want to talk about? Just topically 36:21 Gaurav Yeah, it could be any idea. It could be robotics, it could be artificial intelligence, it could be genetics, it could be anything, right? Okay. 36:29 Andrea And, you know, if I take a really easy example, that probably most people know, it would be the Dr Martin Luther King, 'I Have a Dream' speech. Yeah. So that, that talk, the topic of that would be freedom, is that's what Dr King, he said over and over again, "I have a dream." But what he what his dream was freedom. Right. That was what it was. And so, his topic was freedom. His point, the point, the point is the activation of that, how do you create? How do you activate that point in such a way that others will want to work with you or be a part of that? Yeah. And, you know, so in that regard, that it's the verb, so where the topic or nouns, the how, the point, are verbs. And so, you know, if we think of Dr King's talk, it's, you know, what is it that he had a dream of, right? he had a dream of freedom. But what was it was that "All people were seen as equal". Gaurav Equals, yeah. Andrea Okay. So, I have a dream that all people are seen as equals. So, like, I want freedom for all people equally. But then what's the passion on that? The Why? What's the impact that that would make? Well, you know, so and this is where. So, your point your topic or sorry, your How your point is, often the thing that is unique to you, that is your belief, right? So, your topic can be general freedom, that the How is more specific to you. And when you put the how, and the why together, you get an idea. And for Dr King, that was his idea. It was very clear, and he could have stopped there. But to start with freedom and the need for equality for all. And that is a good idea. We can all agree that is a good idea. And it's but it's also a very head focused idea. Yeah, when you put with it, a Why, which is the impact you want to make in the world, this is where you as the speaker, and the audience, as the listeners Connect, yes, this is the place where you both come to a place of agreement. So, for Dr King, of course, it was to create a world in which all had freedom, right? So, it was like to create the utopian world. That's what he was trying to get us to, you know, to that place. So, so when you put that all together, so if he started off by saying, "Imagine, where we all live freely and equally because what I believe is that when we choose freedom, where everybody is equal, and free to express themselves, we have a world where, you know, we're life is better" than it is you know, so the idea there now that that was kind of rambly and not very distinct, and if I was if I had been working with Dr King, although he did not need my help, he was an amazing orator. We would have come to a very succinct and literal idea. Because here's the thing about crafting and creating an idea when you build out your what, your how, your why. What you want is for it to be crystal clear, you don't want it to have metaphor or any form of rhetoric inside of it, because it needs to be really clear, clear for you. And it's clear as a foundational piece for your talk. Once you have that, then you build on top of it, then you build all the story, all the metaphor, all of that, but you need to have the idea of very, very clearly defined first. 40:30 Gaurav And I'm sure at times, it will take a little longer time than you would have expected to extract that idea from the individual that you're working with. 40:40 Andrea When we're working with TED speakers, honestly, that is the thing that takes the longest, you know, it's not unusual for that to take three or four sessions, you know, you know, before we get to the core idea because sometimes it's very complex. And it's a, it's a deconstruction process, right? And so, we're coming at it, coming at it, coming at it. But once you have that, everything else speeds up, it's very fast. Because once you have that "Aha" moment of that's it. That's the idea, 41:13 Gaurav then you can construct everything around that. 41:16 Andrea Well, and now we can go to the story because that's what everybody wants to start with a story. And when you give the talk, of course, you start with the story. But that's not where you write a talk. When you write, start writing a talk, you start with your idea first, and then you build the story around it because the story can be so powerful. You know, I was working with a speaker this past week, and she is a city builder. And she works in the area of she works with technical experts. So, engineers, architects, people who are, you know, really deep technical experts in the area of cities and infrastructure. And one of the biggest challenges in cities is that we build these beautiful cities, but people don't use them in the way that they were constructed or intended. And why? Why are cities not used? Why do we build parks that no one goes to? And why are there you know, green spaces that are overused? Like, what is it about that? Well, what her argument was, was that we need to build social infrastructure before we build physical infrastructure. Now, that's a complex idea, right? What is social infrastructure? Well, you know, to a technical expert, social infrastructure actually has meaning. But to the rest of us, it doesn't. And so, we had to break that down. And what is social infrastructure? social infrastructure is building relationships with the people who live in the cities before you decide on what you're building for them. You know, because why build a park? When I'm busy? I say, isn't that amazing? Great. Yeah. So, you know, and I'll give you the example of like, why build a park, in a, you know, in at-risk neighbourhood, when you know, there's dumpsters in front of their building. And every time they walk into their, their place of, you know, where they reside, they're confronted with the fact that garbage sits in front of their door, are they going to accept a park from you? No! get rid of the garbage first, do the fundamentals. Have the conversation with the people who live in those in those neighbourhoods to say, what's most important for you. And, you know, if they say, "Just get rid of the dumpster at my front door", do that first, then come back to them and talk to them 43:43 Gaurav You know this is really interesting, because last time during our conversation, you spoke about social narrative. And right now, when you're talking about social infrastructure, that's one form of social narrative that you are creating in the society that we are a part of. And you also mentioned, one of the reasons why you love working with TEDx speakers, and why you really loved working with Singularity University, because somewhere or the other, you are contributing to change the social narrative. Tell me more about that. Because that was the most fascinating idea that I got from the last conversation. 44:22 Andrea So, when I started working with TED speakers, and again, I was still in advertising at the time. And, you know, I was living in a world where we were, in fact, impacting the social narrative. At the time, I wouldn't ever have said that. But in retrospect, I can see that now. And, you know, so you're living in a world of fact, whatever fact means. But I started working with TED speakers, and I started to see this other world that I had actually no idea existed. You know, here were scientists, academics, technologists, who were doing the work that was actually changing our world. You know, I remember working with this one gentleman who was working on the worldwide, the Human Genome Project, which was the project that was looking at resequencing and using the gene human genome. And But first of all, I didn't even know that existed, I had no idea that you know, that here, we had this human genome project underway. And, and then, as he started to explain to me what it meant, you know, it felt like, first of all, science fiction. And then as I started to understand how close we were on some of this stuff, I was blown away with what they were doing. And you know, why don't people know that, like, I'm pretty connected, I'm always out there on the leading edge, why don't I know this stuff and if I knew this stuff, I'm going to feel differently about the state of the world. So, what I started to understand was that there was this whole other world that I had no idea about, and if I had an idea about it, I might make different choices for me as an individual, and as a contributor to society. And I started to understand that our media gives us a very biased view. And that this was many, many years ago before we had the world of fake news and all of that. And I think all of us have become much more aware of this concept that media, mostly are giving us a very biased view of what's happening. Gaurav It's creating a 46:28 space so that we can start to believe in what they are asking us to consider. 46:33 Andrea They're giving us a false narrative is what I'm doing. And so, what I started to see was that there was a need to create a different narrative. So, if we've got one narrative that's being controlled through media, who, by the way, are often controlled by other factors. Because there's lots of other factors that play into media? What if we had an unbiased and this is where Ted came in? It was like, wow when you start watching TED Talks, you do see a different world. Yeah. And it was like, "What if we could do more of that? What if we could create a bigger social narrative? What if we could create the good news network? What if we could create the, you know, the TED version? The, you know, the good news version of CNN? What would that look like? And what if we could create that in such a way that people really started to see all the good that was happening? What would that do to the world in general?" we start dreaming a new dream. Because, you know, we're living a life of story. That is what we are. We're This is a story. We're all creating a story. So, if you get to create your own story, which we all do, by the way, what story are you going to choose? are you choosing the, you know, the false narrative that's being given to us? Or are you choosing to see all these other amazing things that are happening in the world and constructing? So, I wanted to be able to create that other thing. 48:00 Gaurav And how is it connected with the Thought Leadership Academy that you're working with now? 48:04 Andrea Yeah, so. So, this is where it sort of comes full circle, because I started Talk Boutique, which is a speaker's bureau, a deep subject matter expert, who are storytellers, telling us about the work they're doing similar to what we see with Ted. Then I started, you know, working with, you know, again, coaching singularity speakers, TED speakers, but also corporate executives in this model that helps us to bring that really important message forward. And then I started something called the Thought Leader Academy because what I started to understand is that, first of all, we all have an idea. And secondly, we are all thought leaders within our communities. So, how do we choose to step up and create the narrative we want? And so, what I've done is I've created an academy of those who want to step into being a thought leader, and a thought leader who has a message that can help us construct a new narrative, a narrative that's more hopeful, a narrative that brings us to a place of joy, and a place of hope. And that's what I want because that's the world that I see. 49:14 Gaurav And that's where we will be able to tap into the unique gifts and the talents one is born with. 49:23 Andrea Yeah, yeah. So, I mean, this is where it is. It's a common so the thought leader Academy, what I help people to understand about themselves, number one, everybody has a message and so let's, let's codify that, let's bring it down with you, your what, how, why, let's get that idea for who you are, or what you want to say. Then, let's find the story to wrap it in. So, I teach people the narrative construction process of what it takes to do a TED talk and how to use that TED talk in a boardroom or on a on a stage or in a virtual place. So, it starts there, then it goes into the performance skills. How are you performing that? So, what is your body language? What is your voice thing? You know? How are you using your stage presence, your, you know, eye contact all the parts of your body that show up in such a way that you're congruent with what your narrative is saying. And then we will do you have visuals, you should you have visuals, what should they look like? How can they support? Because you're the star? But how can your visuals be the supporting cast? And then we start looking at things like, who are you? What is your personal brand? What community are you speaking in? And how are you commanding that community? 50:41 And all of that comes 50:42 together for you to create that thought leader within 50:49 Gaurav Yeah, so you know, what I'm really fascinated about is that on one hand, you're working with robotics. On the other day, you might be working with technocraft techno-, yeah and the third day, you might be working with an artificial intelligence specialist and the fourth day, you must be working with an academic it can make, right? How do you switch gears? 51:12 Andrea It's a very good question. Um, you know, I just become good at it. I think when in the early days of Talk Boutique especially when we first took on Singularity University, it was difficult because I was sometimes bouncing, you know, between robotics, AI, Bitcoin, you know, neurobiology neuropsychology, nanotech, future of food, future of work like those, sometimes that would be a day for me. And so, your brain starts to explode. What can happen I guess from that is I've just gotten really good at it, I have, what I think I have is, I have a really good peripheral knowledge set. And so, no matter what speaker I'm working with, I'm coming to them 52:01 with nothing. 52:03 First of all, I come to them as a blank slate, I don't do any work upfront. And it's important for me to not do that. Because I need to come as an audience for them. But I've got such a broad and deep peripheral knowledge set that when I show up, no matter where they are, I have a lot to bring to that conversation so that I can guide them. So, I've got obviously the skills of being a speakers coach and understanding how to build that. But I also have peripheral knowledge and wisdom that can help them even in their talk. So, the shifting of gears is about me actually always showing up as that blank slate, and allowing the speaker to guide the process of what they need, and then I show up from there. Gaurav Yeah, yeah. So, 52:57 you know, if you were to give a piece of advice to yourself, that will allow you to extract the best out of any subject that you might not even be aware of, what advice would you have to offer? One is you show up as a clean slate, and then each need to have an understanding or knowledge at the peripheral, right? What's the third piece of advice that you offer to yourself 53:20 Andrea In terms of being like being of service being so, leave my ego at the door. You know, it's not about me, it's never about me. It's, you know, I show up, as I'm a vessel, you can't hurt my feelings, you know, I am always there in support of the person I'm working with. And so, that allows me to really leave that ego out of it and to recognize that everybody is going to have a different experience of me and to be curious about it as opposed to having any form of opinion about it. 54:08 Gaurav So, being of service, right? and also you spoke about being of service does not mean serving. How do you juggle with these two words together? On one hand, we're talking about being a service. On the other hand, we're talking about it's not always serving, right? Andrea So, I think one of the misconceptions around being of service is that you need to be a subordinate. Serving puts you into a subordinate role. And that's not the case at all. When you are serving, what you are doing or being of service, especially at the highest level of being at service is you are reflecting back to that person all of what they need to hear or be or see and so, sometimes being of service or having difficult conversations, sometimes being of service is doing things that you wouldn't do normally. But it's understanding that you need to be of service in the highest version of yourself, you are not subordinating yourself, you step into all of your power and you show up in service. 55:22 Gaurav You know, this reminds me, I was working with one of the leaders in India. And this gentleman who's the chairman of one of the conglomerates in the country, he said something so beautiful, he said, "Kindness does not always mean that you will speak to the other person politely, at times, you might have to challenge him or her. That's also kindness." 55:45 Andrea Absolutely, you know, I mean, that is, that is absolutely true. That, you know, you know, there's a song "Have to be cruel to be kind." Now, you don't always have to be cruel to be kind. Sometimes you do. And, you know, and I mean, for me, I try never to be cruel, because I think you don't have to be. But what, what that's really saying, is that being in truth, or whatever, because, again, truth is subjective, but my truth, or what I'm hearing. So, you know, as an example, would it be kind for me to allow somebody to go onto stage who wasn't ready? Would that be kind of me? No, it would not. And that person might think they're ready, and that person may believe that they have something that they need to share. And if I, in my professional opinion, listen to it and say you need work, I need to say that to that person and give them enough to be able to go into that stage with confidence that they because a person who is walking out onto a stage becomes very vulnerable. And if they're not ready for it, 57:01 that can be 57:02 devastating. And it'll take them a long time to come back from that. So, sometimes I've got to pull them back and go, you're not ready for that. Or, here's what you can do in this moment to be ready in that ticket. But you're not 100% yet. So, let's be clear that you know, this, we're going to go out, you're going to do this as a pilot, you're going to approach it as a learning experience, you know, the audience will react, how the audience is going to react. It's okay. Okay, I'm here with you. We're going to deconstruct it afterwards. And we'll figure out how to get you to the next step. 57:42 Gaurav Precisely! So, as they say that, gifts might not always appear like gifts. So here's the last question, Andrea. Now, just imagine that everything is taken away from you, all your skill sets, the name that you've earned for yourself, the reputation that you have, the authority that you have, and above all, even your name has been taken away from you. How would that be for you? 58:12 Andrea Big question. I mean, it's hard to even imagine, right? Because you take everything away. And I think, for me, you know, at the core of who we all are, are a set of values. And really, that's all we have. And so, no one can ever take your values away from me. And so, you know, I truly do believe in making a difference in the world I believe in helping, supporting, you know, I believe in creating and building, you know, and being intensely curious, and those things would still be true of me, doesn't matter what my name is, it wouldn't matter what my you know, what my experience was, I would probably still be asking questions and probably annoying people, quite frankly. Because I would be asking way too many questions. And that's who I am. And that would always be true of me. 59:19 Gaurav Thank you! Thank you so much, Andrea! You're saying that you will always be true to your values and that will remain true for you always, irrespective of the name, the fame, that authority. Anything that you have is even if that is taken away from you something is lifted essence that we all operate from. So I think it is a fantastic conversation with you Andrea, loved every single minute. I think the complete session was the the complete conversation was full of wisdom and experience coming from you and through you. So, thank you so much for being our guest and look forward to our interaction. So. 59:58 Andrea thank you So much this has been really, really an honour and so much fun. 1:00:05 Thank you

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