Catch Brenden Kumarasamy on the #PirateBroadcast
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Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:20
It's beautiful day for the #piratebroadcast. We're here for another episode to bring another pirate onboard and talk to #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. You know we love to do that. If you're new here to the channel and you want to check a few things out, you can always go over to RussJohns.com/piratebroadcast and check out, I don't know, 200 300 episodes, or YouTube, or Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter, wherever you want to hang out. We're there. So without further ado, Brenden, how are you? Good morning.
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:05
Very good. Russ. How about yourself, man?
Russ Johns 1:07
Excellent. Excellent. Now we met through kind of an interesting circumstance, I think we got together through a group of individuals looking to be speakers, and also guests on podcasting platforms. It was happen chance, but I caught your videos on YouTube, where you like to hang out, and your coaching style and some of the things that you're promoting and producing and the outcome and the people you're helping. I thought, I gotta get this guy on the show. Great pirate now. So, talk us and walk us back through the journey of how you got into this, and what your fascination and interest was to get to this result.
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:56
Yeah, absolutely. So for me, it was a bit more of a rocky story. When I was five years old, which dates me back, I guess...my parents looked at me and they said, hey, you live in Montreal buddy, which means you've got to learn the French language. So we're going to put you in a French Education School. Except one problem, Russ, I didn't know how to speak the language. So not only was I uncomfortable with presentations my whole life like everyone else was, I had to present in a language I didn't even know. So you can imagine me in grade one or grade two, just looking at the crowd and saying a bon jour. That was my life for the first 12 years of my education. Then what happened is when I went to university, I started doing these things called case competitions. Think of it like professional sports, but for nerds. So other guys my age, were playing football, or soccer or baseball or something, if people still play baseball these days. But for me, it was more about how do I apply that competitive spirit into something that I would rather do instead and an example of that happened to be presentations. So I did that competitively for three years. By the time I graduated, I started working in corporate Canada. I guess in my case, I just asked myself, what could I do to help the world? I noticed a lot of the public speaking content on YouTube is really bad. You hear advice like oh, you know, just be yourself, Russ, or picture everyone in their underwear, you're like that will get me arrested really quick. But the idea is, how do we create content that can help people who can't afford a speech coach, which is most people in the world? So I started making videos in my mother's basement, thought it was a stupid idea. A couple of things happened, grew a lot faster than I thought it would and here we are today.
Russ Johns 3:48
Wow. Wow. So you were speaking competitively and in a position where you had to learn. You have to. In order to compete, you have to improve. I know a lot in the States and I've attended several Toastmasters and Toastmasters International is an organization that really helps a lot of speakers. Tabletop discussions, a few things here and there. Are there organizations that you went through or a process that you kind of evolved to and gravitated to that allowed you to improve your speaking or what was your process for improvement? Because on your videos, you're pretty sharp and you have those pauses and you have the ability to speak and hold the attention and all of those little tips that good speakers always do. It's like this. This person's not real old, so it's like how did you go about the process of of getting so familiar with speaking.
Brenden Kumarasamy 5:01
Absolutely. So the first part of your question about Toastmasters, even if I wasn't a part of their curriculum, I do guest at a lot of their clubs. So I highly recommend it. I think it's a great, cost effective way to get you started with public speaking, especially if you're new and publicity isn't really your thing, which is most of us, I highly recommend that. But for me, what happened is I was in a very unique situation, Russ, actually most of the process and what happened, I was entirely self taught. So you can think of me being on a professional sports team, but for presentations, so I was like, I'm like the Michael Jordan, no one really cares about in the sense that I was coaching a lot of the best business students to fly out around the place to compete in these competitions. So to give you more context here, there's a lot of schools around the world that literally do this. They spend $10,000, to enter a competition fly out sometimes from Singapore, Thailand, Australia, all the way to Montreal or the states. Hotels, accommodations, everything is paid by the school, just for them to give PowerPoint slides. That's the kind of world that I was a part of, it's literally insane. I can give you some examples like the University of Florida, the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School of Business, Georgetown University in the States, all of these universities are case competitive schools. So they have really good students who do really well in these competitions. The reason I got better is because in that subculture, where nobody else cared about presentations in that small niche group of people, we were at people, I was running the world's biggest program at the time. Everyone only cared about presentations. So when you're having lunch or dinner with somebody, it wasn't about the sports game yesterday, you clearly don't watch those kinds of things. It was hey, did you see the University of Florida give that introduction? they sucked. It's like, that's it. That was my life, it's really intense. So every day that I wasn't presenting, because you could think of me as like the leader of that thing. So every day that I wasn't presenting myself, I was probably practicing two to three times a week. I was coaching another team during the days I wasn't practicing, even during the holidays. That's how insane it was. And that's how to your point, I was able to learn decade's worth of experiences of communication in the matter of a few years. So the unintended consequence of me doing that, that I never thought would happen is, I ended up becoming the youngest professional speech coach in the world.
Russ Johns 7:41
Interesting, that is fascinating. Again, this is why I love the #piratebroadcast. The opportunity to talk to people like yourself is because that when you pull on that thread, and you identify that there's a subculture of people doing presentations, where a lot of enterprise in corporate America has a hard time staying awake during presentations, for the most part. There's a subculture of people in college, working in striving to compete in the best possible presentation ever.
Brenden Kumarasamy 8:21
Right. And let me link that together. Actually, corporate america actually sponsors a lot of these competitions for that very reason. They go to recruit a lot of the best students. That's why we compete in the first place. It just became an obsession. I can give you an example. Walmart was a case sponsor. This was three, four years ago. So keep in mind, we're like 20-21 years old. The person who's giving the case for that specific competition, because it was an international one in Montreal, isn't a manager at a store at Walmart. It's the senior vice president of Walmart, Canada. So you got the president and then you've got him and we have to tell him what to do with his company. Yeah, so it was very interesting.
Russ Johns 9:04
It's insane. Yeah. I know how to exist because I'm in college, I actually took state in a competition in parliamentary procedure, and went to national competition. It was kind of niche. I mean, that's pretty niche. So it's like, I hadn't ever thought about it until you just said that. It was like, I could see how that could happen. I didn't play sports or anything like that as a musician and I just happened to get inside this little group that practiced parliamentary procedure. We won the competition and went on to nationals. So interesting. So you're doing a lot of coaching now for your clients and a lot of its virtual now, and you have a lot of YouTube presence. So what do you see the roadmap for presentations? With AI and some of the things that are going on, let's shift gears and talk about the future. What do you see unfolding in the future of presentation?
Brenden Kumarasamy 10:29
Absolutely, so definitely a couple of things, the first thing that comes to mind is this idea of a hybrid approach. So because of COVID, the rise of online presentations has skyrocketed, and being on camera has never been more important than it is today. That trend will not change in my opinion, even if when we go back to in person events, which will still be very much needed, because we all crave connection, that in person touch that will always exist. But the online presence, the net will be much bigger than it was pre COVID. That's just personal opinion. So then based on that, as speakers, as presenters, we need to be a lot more versatile in the way that we communicate and the mediums that we use to communicate, which of course, you've done very well with everything you're on and all the platforms that you're a part of. But for everyone else, the key is thinking about communication as a multiplier effect. So today, you might say, you know, conversations, Brenden, come easy to me, like something like this. But if it's recorded, I don't want to do that. Or if it's me alone on a camera, I don't want to do that either. So we need to realize it doesn't really matter how good you are as a communicator, because I was terrible. Remember, I presented in a language I didn't even know for most of my life. It's about thinking about which one of those verticals are the most important? Is it presentation skills? Is it conversational skills, that is going to add the most impact. Then based on that, we focus on those specific lines of thought. Then over time, my expectation is, once again, my opinion here is I don't think AI is going to make that big of a dent in presentations just because communication is something that's very hard for an algorithm to figure out. It's probably going to take a lot more time. So that's why I think communication, the way that we need to think about it is more in terms of what is the quick win that I can get? How can I shift my mindset as quickly as possible to believe that I can be a great speaker. If we can achieve that mindset change, we have a couple of extra days to do that. Then after that, you'll feel that you can conquer the world.
Russ Johns 12:41
I totally agree with you. As long as I've been speaking, as long as I've been presenting and teaching, I still know there's huge gaps in in some of the things that I do, some of the fill in words that I use occasionally. I forget, and it's like, okay, I used that 20 years ago, and it's coming back, it's like, stop it. All of the little nuances in your language, and the pauses, and some of the things that you really speak to on your YouTube channel, I think it's really important for people to understand that you can do it, you have the opportunity and the skill to do it. You have a reason to do it. Because now more than any other time in history, we're shifting to an online presence where getting comfortable with the camera is power. It's a skill that's necessary, getting comfortable with the technology that allows you to be on camera. It's a skill, it's a technology, it's necessary. And all of these things come together to really bring it home to what we're talking about today. So I just want to remind everyone that Brenden is now a pirate, so reach out, connect with this young man, and follow him on YouTube, go track down his YouTube channel and be amazed like I was, and follow him and get a couple of tips that are going to help you. Let's start the conversation. Because as we all help each other, and we all help each other grow. Life just gets better. You have a resource you can tap into, you have a conversation that you can start. Even if you're in the grocery line. It's great to have an opening line that asks a question that starts a conversation. It breaks that comfort zone, that barrier that you see or perceive that isn't necessarily there all the time and just start a conversation with people. So what has this presentation skill, this superstar presentation skill, what have you received from it in terms of your business life, your career and everything else? I mean, it has to have an impact on your day to day activity in group conversations.
Brenden Kumarasamy 15:12
Yeah, absolutely, Russ, I think the idea that people need to realize is public speaking is everything. It's not just about the presentation you have to give in the morning or to your boss or something like that. It's the tough conversations that you have with your family, your kids, if you have any, your partner, your family, the people around you, your friends, th0se long dinners where you haven't seen people, that weird feeling that when you go to a country and you don't know the language, but for some reason, you still understand them anyways. That is what communication is all about. So the question that I have for people to help you think about how communication can make your life better is the following. How would the world change if you are an exceptional communicator? You're one of the best communicators in the world. How would the world change? And if your answer to that question is like, I can get it like a job promotion at work, not the right way thinking about it. But rather, if you say, hey, you know, me and my family argue most of the time, because we don't understand each other. So if I'm able to clearly communicate what I'm trying to say, my life will be better. That's true with everything else on the business negotiations that you have to do, to the way that you borrow books at a library, it's all the same thing at the end of the day. The better we get at those interactions, the better and more fruitful life becomes.
Russ Johns 16:44
I think also the journey with the #Piratebroadcast, and, and having these conversations for myself, anyway, have allowed me to bring a little clarity to what I'm thinking, and what my opinions actually are. It allows myself to think clearly about what I want to say and what I want to share with the world. Because I think that's also a big part of it is I don't necessarily want to have a conversation with everyone. I just want to have conversations with #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. It's not that anyone can't be interesting, because I think everyone has a gift, everybody has a message to share. I think that the ones that are able to communicate what they're doing, what they're focusing in, I think that brings it front to center to what they're talking about, what they're doing, what they're passionate about. That's what makes it easier, that ability to communicate, like you said, it just really highlights that conversation and puts it up front. I think that's the difference. That's the difference because some people are shy about talking about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it.
Brenden Kumarasamy 18:07
I love that. I find one way of thinking about this, Russ, Garry Tan is one of the cofounders of initialized capital has this great quote that I'd love to share. He always says, that having the breakthrough is only half the battle. Just because you have a revolutionary idea and it works, it's exactly right and it's on the money. You're only halfway through. Because if you're not able to communicate and share that idea to other people, it will spread. So the question or rather, the thought process that I want you all to reflect on today is it doesn't really matter what the idea is, as long as it impacts one person, which means, by my definition, everyone has an idea worth sharing. If you hone in on that you really focus in on that. it'll be much easier for you to go well, if I don't communicate my feelings to this person or if I don't do this thing for that goal, then I'll miss out on making my ideas heard. I think with the short life that we all have, we might as well share what we believe is true.
Russ Johns 19:12
Absolutely. Absolutely. I want to share a few people in the the pirate community here and highlight them. Good morning everyone. Gabriel says Happy Friday morning pirates. Ahmad says hi. Hiett Ives says, Good morning pirates. There's Simon. Good morning, Russ and Brenden. Thank you so much for being here. Gabriel's in the room. Good morning, Simon. Cathi Spooner. Cathi's gonna be on the show here pretty quick. I love that. I love the opportunity to have these conversations with pirates. Gabriel Good morning, Simon says back this is what we have here. Brenden is...these conversations go on between each other. Cathi Spooner, good morning. Cathi. Good to get you on my show. Gabriel does shows in the afternoon, he does them at, I think around seven o'clock in central time in the evening, and I do in the morning. So we go back and forth and share it. Sandy makes things more interesting. I love that. I do love that. So Cathi says, the focus on communication and nuances of body language remind me of the way in which our neurobiology influences behavior and interpersonal dynamics.
Brenden Kumarasamy 20:43
Well, I can see why a lot of people want Cathi on the show.
Russ Johns 20:46
Yeah, absolutely. And Gabriel says, where do you come with ideas for creating content in regards to public speaking engagement? That's another question. Let's talk about that. Then we're going to Cathi's statement, I want to expand on that.
Brenden Kumarasamy 21:03
Yeah, absolutely, Gabriel. It's a great question. So there's two parts, one is video content creation for the YouTube channel. The other one is content creation for when I actually go out and speak at events. Let's start with the first one. YouTube. YouTube's very tricky, especially in my niche, because there's only so much you can talk about in public speaking, ums and ahs, silences, what else do you talk about? So the key is, you need a very good workflow so that you never run out of videos. So what I do is I only post once a week, and I know I'll never post more. But I write my content years in advance. So I'm never stressed. COVID has helped me accelerate that. So as of today, just because I'm very focused on what I'm doing, I'm wrapping up my content for 2023 at the moment. It's my goal before COVID, is actually over, write my next decade of content so I don't have to worry about it. So the key is workflow, especially if you're doing a solo show like I do, you just write everything in advance, be very thoughtful about every script, and you'll get better over time. The other part though, is speaking engagements, that's actually a lot easier. Speaking engagements means the following. The best speakers in the world generally only have one or two topics, max. Tony Robbins is a good example of this. He's been presenting mindset, personal development, how to make a change in your life, the same seminar for 30 plus years, if not 40 years at this point. So imagine we go to the seminar, and then Tony comes up to Russ and goes, hey, you know what, Russ, I've been doing this mindset thing for 35 years, you want to talk about porcupines this weekend? You're going to look at him and say, well, no, Tony, I spent $2,000 to be here, can you talk about the same thing that everyone else got, because that's what I'm paying for. In addition, what I mean by this is, it's not only that we want them to hear, we want to hear the same thing, we really want them to say the same, that's why we pay them, because we want them to deliver the same result over and over again. And the same way people don't hire me to talk about porcupines, they hire me to talk about communication. So that's why Gabe, it's a lot easier to actually figure out your speaking engagement, because all you need is one keynote and you can present that keynote so many times that you become exceptional at it. The way that you figure that out, is by asking yourself the following question or scenario. Let's say it's your last presentation ever. After you present, you'll never get to present again. In that 30 minute presentation, six hour presentation doesn't really matter, no one's going to remember your name, your title, or even your content. But they'll remember one sentence, what do you want the sentence to be? If you ever figure out an answer to that question, that is going to be your keynote. For me, that one sentence is simple. I believe that we can live in a world where nobody is scared of public speaking. I just think that 100% and the reason is because if I could do it, why can't you? I'd spoken French my whole life, I still struggle with the language and I was able to go back to English and present like this. So imagine what you could do with your life and your communication skills. So that's my one sentence. So figure out yours and then ask yourself, how do I communicate that idea in a way that gets people excited to talk about it?
Russ Johns 24:34
Yeah. That's, that's brilliant. What that does for me, is creates focus. Anything that doesn't contribute to that focus is unnecessary and you can edit down to the essence of what the message and the communication needs to be. I had an executive...one time I was presenting and I was speaking a lot, saying nothing and she just stopped me. She goes, Russ, cut the embroidery, get to the point. What are you saying? It's stuck with me. That's great feedback. You don't need a lot of words to say what you mean. That's communication. For myself anyway. I thought it was really great to be able to pull that together and bring that to the table and that stuck with me. So it's obviously been something that I continue to work on and not ramble. So going back to Cathi's point, focus of communication, nuances, body language reminds me of the way neurobiology influences behavior in interpersonal dynamics, because speaking is one piece of the puzzle, and your hand gestures, you're leaning in, you know, the way you stand, and all these things all add to the impact of the communication. Sometimes communication is about your positioning, as much as what you're saying, Would you agree?
Brenden Kumarasamy 26:25
Absolutely. And just to build on Cathi's point a bit further here to make things a lot simpler for the audience, is this idea that what you say, is part of the entire package of what you're actually saying. So speaking out the words is one thing. But if you're not looking at the person directly as you're speaking to them, the other person feels that you're not paying attention to them. So it's all about understanding the social dynamics around public speaking, not just what you're saying, but how you're saying it. If I came up and I was super aggressive in the way that I was speaking, I was like, whoa, what's this guy doing? But instead, if I mirror the energy that you have, Russ, because you're a really calm guy, and I talk to you in that way. You might say, oh,well, Brenden really understands me, even if I don't really know why. So it's these hidden components of public speaking. But the short story is, I wouldn't worry too much about it in the short term, I would focus a lot more on the things that are very objective. They're easy to control, ums and ahhs, silences, long pauses, all that stuff. Then as you get better as a speaker, you'll start to see things that a lot of people can see through social dynamics, then you can figure out the rest.
Russ Johns 27:39
Yeah. I love that. Thanks for sharing that. Wendy says, good morning pirates. Brenden is rockstar and his message is so important. Thank you so much, Wendy. She's awesome. Gabriel's here, there are many things that I've learned from doing a live interview show that has taught me the importance of communication and understanding as an active listener. In presentations, it's not as much about active listening as it is about delivering the information very systematically. So how do you find the difference when you're coaching? Or how do you teach the difference when you're coaching?
Brenden Kumarasamy 28:20
Right, so the question was about active versus passive. Did I get that?
Russ Johns 28:24
Well, it's more about if you're presenting, it's a delivery, you're delivering information. When you're communicating when it's a two way conversation like this interview, there's an opportunity to ask good questions and get feedback and go back and forth. That communication style is a little different than just a presentation.
Brenden Kumarasamy 28:56
Gotcha. Absolutely. That makes perfect sense. So the idea is, I don't want people to be bogged down by the details here, oh, we got to understand the differences about all these things, but rather understand the following. The better you get at one makes you more efficient at the other. So let's say you're somebody who loves having conversations like this, and it's easy, because Russ is the host in this case. But you're deathly afraid of presentations. You need to bring the conversational skills into presentation. So I'll give you an example to demonstrate that. When most people think about presentations, Russ, it sounds more like a drive thru than anything else. How do I get in this thing, get my stuff, present what I need to present and get out of there. Right? Whereas someone like me, and most likely yourself, it's more like a long dinner. Hey, we're taking our time. We're spending a moment that matters and let's share it in a way that's meaningful for everybody. So you're not going to increase your pace. You're not going to speak too fast in the same way that if you had a dinner with somebody that you haven't seen in five years. You don't want the dinner to end. You're gonna look at this guy and go, hey, actually, buddy, I know we haven't seen each other five years, but I got five minutes. You're like, no, but we do that in presentations. So we need to start treating our presentations more like coffee conversations with the people that we love, like with dinners, the people that we enjoy spending time with. But the opposite is also true for really good presentations, which is not very common, but if you're really good at presentations, and not very good at social skills, you need to apply the same logic, what made you successful in presentations? What is it about presentations that you like? About social interaction that you don't like? Then somebody might say, Brenden, sometimes when I talk to people, I just can't relate to them and I struggle with that presentations. Well, I don't really have to interact, because I just need to talk and then I can walk away, say go, okay, perfect. So now what you need to do is talk to people that you find really interesting, similar to your show that it's easy for you to build a relationship with focus on those people first, get the easy win. Talk to Russ, he's probably the easiest guy to talk to in the world, and then work your way up. So the key is not one or the other. The key is, are we willing to learn from the other because there's one that we're always better at, whether it's presentations or conversational skills, and understanding this idea that as we get better at one, we all of a sudden become a master of all.
Russ Johns 31:36
Brilliant, brilliant. I love that. I want to just highlight...I know we're wrapping up here, Brenden, and you probably have a busy day. So tipping point by Malcolm Gladwell stresses these points. He has a number of points that he brings to the table. Adam says Good morning. So Deb says this is my first time checking out the show. Amazing. Well, welcome and welcome to the pirate community and join us again, thank you so much for being here. Cathi. Gabriel. Charles Ash says, great topic. Thank you for the discussion. Much appreciated Charles. Then we have if we could communicate, we can build. If not, you know, unscripted. Unscripted is my jam theme. The C's read the audience. And Gabriel says yes, this is real show in conversation. Howard Kaufman says, awesome. Thank you for bringing everything to the table here,Brenden. I love this. Brenden, I will be reaching out to you because I need to have you on my show.
Brenden Kumarasamy 32:48
Russ Johns 32:49
Hiett Ives says, the more specific you are consistently, the more in demand you become. All right. Very cool. Gabriel says he already sent you a connection request to Brenden. Brenden, it's a pleasure. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas, concepts, tips and just yourself. You know, there's so many times where we can just have a conversation. Somebody can listen in, just happens to be a few people and enjoy the time together. Just like a fine meal. I appreciate you, I appreciate what you're doing and thank you so much for taking time to join us on the #piratebroadcast.
Brenden Kumarasamy 33:36
Pleasure is absolutely mine, Russ. Thanks for having me.
Russ Johns 33:38
Well, as always everyone. If you can share, like comment, join us on the #piratebroadcast five days a week 7am Arizona time. As always, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. Until next time.
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