Interview – Empowerment Radio Show

August 19, 2015

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Randi Goodman of the Empowerment Radio show interviewed me last week.

We talked about everything from my upbringing, working in Hollywood, and getting known as an expert in your field. Listen to the episode here


Hello everyone, this is Randi Goodman here with Empowerment Radio Show and my special guest, Jason Reid, a past story editor for TV, now a Speaker and Trainer!

I want to give a warm welcome to my podcast guest, Jason Reid!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing?

When I was 8 years old two things happened to me. I was diagnosed two chronic illnesses and my parents moved to the suburbs, in a place called Brampton Ontario. I had been a really active and social kid, but when I got ill that all changed. It was compounded by the fact that I was suddenly in this new townhouse development which seemed in the middle of nowhere. And as a result I really didn’t have a lot of friends or do a lot of things outdoors.
Now this is not to say I had a sad childhood, I remember being pretty happy for the most part. I just spent a lot of time by myself.

My windows on the world were books, and magazines and TV, and I was really interested in all of those things. I loved the concept that someone could have an idea or an experience and put it on paper or film and other people could experience it. It seemed really cool to me. Just to give you an example of how things were different. A lot of kids on my street loved playing baseball. Me, I used to watch a game on TV or listen to it on the radio, then go to my typewriter and write an article about the game. I wish the internet was around there. I’m sure I would have had my own blog at 10 years old.

2. What did you choose to study and why?

Well, it’s probably not surprising that I decide to study journalism. In fact, it was the only thing I wanted to study. When I applied to Ryerson’s journalism program it was a very tough program to get in, but I didn’t appy anywhere else. I think the Dean of the program liked my confidence and commitment to get in the program so I was let in.

The cool thing about University for me was the fact I was feeling better physically and I was much more social. It was really in my element. Our campus was located right in downtown Toronto where the action was so you could cover court cases, city hall, the police beat. You could sink your teeth into everything down there.

3. Can you tell us a bit about that journey and where it brought you to today?

Well there’s no doubt that my journalism training honed my love of stories. I realized that stories were by far the best method to communicate anything to anyone. But the other interesting part of my journey came as a result of graduating into a terrible job market. It took me a long time to get my first full time job.

In fact, I may hold the record for most rejection letters ever received before getting my first full time job. That was back when they sent rejection letters of course. I counted and I received more than 200 of them. Every day I’d go to the mailbox and there would be a handful of envelopes and I’d open them and read the first sentence.

We regret to inform you

We regret to inform you

After a while I thought that was my name.

But looking back it was one of the best things to ever happen to me, because I started exploring other areas of writing. I became a joke writer for a Canadian television show and I started writing screenplays for feature films. One of them was pretty good and it got me a Hollywood agent. Now I was still living in Canada but every once in a while I’d go down to Hollywood and I’d have to pitch my script ideas to producers – which is probably the most high pressure sales environment you’re going to get.

It’s really nerve wracking for most people because these producers are really impatient and you have to get to the point immediately and get their attention in a big way. It was like an intense version of Dragon’s Den before it even existed.

Unfortunately, I left Hollywood before I became a famous screenwriter, because my journalism career started to pick up. I was able to take all the craft I’d learned from screenwriting and put that into my journalism career. I moved up the ladder from writer to producer to executive pretty quickly, but my speciality was always crafting stories that grabbed people’s attention.

What was even more satisfying was I started teaching other people to do the same. In fact, my news team went from being totally unknown to winning national and international awards in less than a year, once I got them focused on telling great stories.

So in some ways it was only natural that I become a speaker when I left TV to pursue my own business. The skills I’ve learned over the decades has really given me a huge advantage in being able to grab people’s attention from the stage and get them to hire me.

4. What would you say are the most challenging issues that people face when it comes to business?

The biggest challenge is visibility. I’ve been a solopreneur now for five years and there are just so many more people out there looking for business. I mean we’re bombarded with information on social media, emails, events. It’s really hard to get known and stand out.

5. What kind of help do you suggest they take with this?

Getting up in front of a group and speaking is by far the best way to get attention. Firstly, you can connect with a lot more people than you can with networking alone. Secondly, if you know how to create a talk that has the right elements, you can really influence quite a lot of people in a short period of time. And get a LOT of clients very quickly.

6. How do you get more exposure for your business so you can take on more clientele?

Well to be honest, I got kind of lazy for a while. I was speaking at three or four big events a year and I was getting so many leads that I didn’t bother doing more. Now I’ve built a better system to keep track of those leads and have a couple of people on my support team, I can handle a lot more.

What I’m doing now is putting together a real strategy around my calendar. A few months before I start a new coaching program I’ll do some speaking events to get the buzz going, then I’ll do a free webinar, followed by a paid one day workshop, and finally the program itself. So it’s all about getting new people on my list, getting them excited about what I can do and then extending the offer to join me.

7. You can be quite influential, How do you influence and inspire people when you speak to them?

Over the past thirty years I’ve learned again and again that influencing and inspiring people can only really happen when you connect to people on an emotional level, and that’s what all great speakers do.

In the end, it’s not about your product, your idea, your information, it’s about people and their struggles. We all have struggles no matter who we are. They could be struggles around self worth, financial security, status, being a good parent, whatever it is we have these drama’s going on in our minds and in our lives every day. And these are very important to us.

You have to find a way to tap into those personal struggles with empathy and honesty so that people will connect you or your idea to something that’s important to them.

Now the best way to do that is by sharing true life stories, either about yourself or your clients.

In my talks I’ve told stories about being sick, broke and unemployable in my early 30s and losing my wife, my job and my condo – and I how I had to make major changes to my life to become successful again. People relate to that, and more importantly know I can relate to them. Besides everyone loves a story about an underdog that becomes a winner.

8. How do you get people to take action and work with you once they are inspired by you?

Well once the inspiration is done, the best thing to do is take people on a clear and simple path. People want to know what to do next so you have to make it easy for them, and you’ve got to take them through each step.

Anyone who’s ever been live on any of my webinars knows that I have one simple button for them to take their next action at the end of the webinar. And I ask them to press that button right there and take them through the process of what to do next. It’s the same for when I speak in person. Clear and simple, because a confused mind never buys.

9. What kind of results can people expect when they go through the coaching process with you or take one of your programs?

They can expect two things. Number one they’re going to wow their audience, because I’m going to show them how to create a talk with IMPACT. Secondly, and most importantly, they’re going to see a significant increase in their conversions. These are people taking advantage of their call to action. I’ve had experienced speakers take my program and get a 50% increase in their conversions.

And it’s even more rewarding for me when someone new to speaking gets big results.

I have a current client who just spoke at a conference and made more than $20,000 in new business after a single fifteen minute talk. It was just amazing hearing her voice and how excited she was about that.

I spoke to her yesterday and she’s got even more business coming in as a result of her talk. Her challenge now is that she’s got potential clients on a waiting list because she’s got so much business.

10. What makes you so passionate about sharing information with people?

You know, being involved with entrepreneurs I see so much talent out there, so many people that deserve to be successful, but the truth is, it can be really tough to get clients. So when I see people who are becoming successful because of something I’ve shared with them. That’s about as rewarding as you can get.

11. What would you tell people about trying to get into this industry, is it difficult, are there any tricks to the trade?

Well the big thing I’ve learned is that you have to spend a lot of time marketing and selling yourself, especially at the beginning. It’s not a matter of just putting out a shingle and getting people to walk into your office. It’s noisy. The four words of wisdom I’d share are these.
Get Help. Have Patience.

What an incredible journey Jason, it was an honour to speak with you today.

Thank you Randi.