Happy Vs Flourishing episode 24 with Nigel Risner. It is easier to name the countries that Nigel hasn’t spoken in than the ones he has. He has a unique communication style that is sometimes described as marmite, which some people love and some are less than keen.
Some of the topics discussed:
Internal communication – how we talk to ourselves
Become a “zookeeper”
Regularly speaking all over the world
“I’ve never done a perfect presentation”
What can you do to make your life 5% better
“when I stopped being applause orientated and became…”
Connection between Chinese food, Indian food, Nigerian food and speaking
Speaking in Iran
Coaching vs Speaking
- Chief executive groups
A book Nigel recommends:
“No one could go back and make a brand new start. But anyone can start right now make a brand new ending? Carl Rogers
“Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies”
Habits & Health links:
Tony Winyard 0:00
Happiness versus flourishing Episode 24 Welcome again to the podcast where we give you some ideas on ways you can improve aspects of your life. Today my guest is Nigel Reznor, who is a motivational speaker speaks literally all over the world he spoke spoken in, not many countries that he hasn't spoken it. And we get into many different topics today, your internal communication that you have with yourselves, how to be a zookeeper difference between coaching and speak in and many other areas. So that's this week's episode, which is coming up very shortly. If you do like this episode, why not share it with anyone who you feel can get some real benefit from it? Please do subscribe to the podcast and leave a review that lets people know your thoughts and makes them maybe more likely to take a chance if they weren't sure just from the title. Hope you enjoy this week's episode.
Tony Winyard 1:08
Happy versus flourishing. My guest today, Nigel Risner how are you?
Nigel Risner 1:13
exceptionally well, after a couple of medical issues last year, I'm 99% better, feeling healthier my diet and started walking a lot more sunshine today, which is always good news. So feeling good today.
Tony Winyard 1:28
We've met a few times and you have a really good outlook is; how you come across to me.
Nigel Risner 1:35
I've got a great outlook. I just think moaning or being proud of what I call the BMW Brigade, the bitching moaning and whining people that you've got one life. And this isn't a dress rehearsal. So let's make the best of it. And complain if you want, but make sure it's gonna get you somewhere. You know, there's a phrase that says a lot of people would much rather be right than happy. I've given up on it. I used to be that way, you know, I'd want to win the argument I'd want to be right. If I was in a restaurant, I'd wanted the food sent back. Now, not that I'm a bit older, but I just want to appreciate where I am or what's going on in the world for some esoteric reason, but I just want to just have some fun, and just relax and get stuff down.
Tony Winyard 2:22
Yeah. Well, and for the people listening who maybe aren't so familiar with you, tell us what it is that you do?
Nigel Risner 2:29
So I'm a I'm gonna say I'm a leadership motivational speaker. But I specialise in communication, but with a slight twist, because I specialise in internal communication about how we talk to ourselves, as well as how we communicate to others. Using a model that thinking that everyone in your world is a different animal. And your job is to become a zookeeper. And the zookeepers role in life is to feed the food, the animals need, not the food that you've got. So all of a sudden, you're thinking about the other person and their needs more than just yours. Now, I've spent 23 years now, speaking literally all over the world, as well as in London, but doesn't happen very often, where I'm from inspiring, empowering people to be the best they can be with what they've got, you know, ever going to be an Olympic runner. But what I could do is be fitter. I'm never going to be a politician, but I could communicate better. I'm never going to be a phenomenal cook, but I could have more fun in the kitchen. Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. And so when you get these speakers that tell you anything is a possibility. I don't believe that's true. By the way, I don't think everything is a possibility. I think there are some things you can do. And some things that you're just never going to be able to do. So let's work on what you can do. I bet you 5% as I use that phrase, even better than I said to you, Tony, is this somewhere in your life, you'd like to be at least 5% even better. What would you say?
Tony Winyard 4:00
Of course, you're always looking to improve something.
Nigel Risner 4:03
But so there's at least 5% in summary life, the light to improve? Well, that's where I work with people. If every error in your life was working 100% perfectly, or they're brilliant. They just keep doing what you do. You don't need a coach, you don't need anybody. If your life is working in every area, I've yet to meet that person, by the way.
Tony Winyard 4:22
When it's a suggests almost sort of lack of lack of ambition. if you feel that everything is good as it's gonna be
Nigel Risner 4:31
a lack of ambition. It just means that you actually think what we've got in the world, you're perfect, and I believe you'd be excellent and there's still room to grow. So I have never done and Tony, you've seen me speak a few times. I have never done a perfect presentation. And I'm done over two and a half 1000 paid presentations, never done a better presentation. I've done some phenomenal ones, by the way. But if I was to really look back, there's one or two things I might change differently. takeaway, whatever it might be. I've always said to people, what can we do to make your life 5%? Even better. That's my starting point for 99% of the people I work with.
Tony Winyard 5:10
You've got a great speaking style, it's really kind of Marmite, I guess, is the best way to describe it.
Nigel Risner 5:18
I have it on my wall by the way, I've been Marmite speaker of the year a number of times
Tony Winyard 5:23
where it really works, and it really resonates with me. And I can completely agree with as many as you say, but it does, I guess, and yeah, me maybe can tell us this, that some people it would upset because it's quite direct stuff.
Nigel Risner 5:36
Okay, so that's a really interesting point that you've just said, here. I am not the greatest storyteller in the world. I'm not the greatest motivational speaker in the world. But what I do, and this came about from one of my own coaches, that when I stopped being applause orientated, and became results orientated, my whole speaking business changed. So you know, many speakers, Tony, that will be on stage, and they desperate for this standing ovation. I'm quite happy if I don't get a standing ovation. But three weeks later, I get 10 1520 emails from people who've made a difference by applying something they've heard, which they probably already knew. But I've put it across in a slightly different way. And now they've done something different. It's very rare that you hear something that you've absolutely never heard before in your life. Yeah, you know, you know, if you communicate slightly better, slightly softer, slightly more direct. For some people that work, you know, that if you get up in the morning, and you get some fresh air, drink a glass of water, do a bit of meditation, or whatever you probably do is going to start a bit better. Amazing that most of the stuff we hear we go, I thought about that. I've never thought about it that way. I'm just a bit in people's faces because I want them to do something. You know, have you I don't know if you know there's a word called inspiration, communication, innovation. aspiration, there's loads of words that end at i o n. Can you visualise that word? If you put a scene, that word, and it became in of action, comedic action, inspiration, and you did something with that inspiration or that innovation, your line of business will change. My theories, so many people are listening to a podcast like this guy. Yeah, I agree. not changing behaviour. Well, then what they've heard is a lovely story. And there are some phenomenal stories out there. And there are some brilliant storytellers. And you listen to the story together that was good about that. I don't know if you've ever heard someone like Michael McIntyre, Peter Kane concept. But are you aware that 99% of people literally within 20 minutes can't remember a single joke, but they laugh like mad hearing? The the duration of such
Tony Winyard 7:55
and so why do you think that is?
Nigel Risner 7:57
What because they've enjoyed it. And so there's a bit of me that wants you to enjoy my speech. So can I be a little bit controversial here? My lamb? Okay. So I offer clients, three different speeches. You may not know this, I have what I call a Chinese speech, and an Indian speech and a Nigerian speech.
Tony Winyard 8:16
Nigel Risner 8:18
any idea what you think the differences between the three, I'm intrigued as to why the differences might be? Okay. So have you ever had Chinese food? I have about an hour later what happens?
Tony Winyard 8:31
You're still hungry?
Nigel Risner 8:32
Yeah. You still want more? So you've enjoyed your meal. But you're either hungry or you're more? Have you had Indian food? About a week later? You want another lot? Is that correct? Huh? Have you had Nigerian food?
Tony Winyard 8:45
I can't remember, I don't think I have.
Nigel Risner 8:47
I've been to Nigeria a couple of times, and it's still in my system. So I'm often asking my clients, what do you want from me? I can do a stick, I can do funny, I can share some stories. And I call that my Chinese approach. My theories that next week, I think we met one of the very first times at a hold on, bear with me five seconds, you can always delete this part if I'm not fast enough, at a mobile DJ conference, the pro mobile conference here. And if you remember, there was like 20 speakers over the four days of money on you probably have at least two things I shared. But if I asked you to name all the other speakers, you probably won't be able to give a bunch of dead. Yeah. And they were probably very good at the time. They got even high scores, by the way, and I'm okay with that. But 99% of people remember my phrase if you're in the room, be in the room, be a new keeper and and probably either the 10 pounder or something else. Does that make sense? Yeah. So the Chinese approach is great, but if there's five or six speakers that are that day, they just roll into one and then You're not quite sure what to do. And to anyone who's listening to this podcast, think about the last speaker you heard or the last podcast you heard, including whichever the last one that Tony just did. What have you done with that information? Otherwise, it just all rolled into one. Does that make sense? Yeah.
Tony Winyard 10:18
What do you think is the reason why people don't take action? Is it something that the speaker is not putting across?
Nigel Risner 10:24
it's both the speakers shared some lovely stories, but then their stories. And so what's the call to action from that story? You know, me hearing somebody club a built in? And how difficult it was? It's phenomenal. I don't know what to do with it. Yeah.
Tony Winyard 10:42
And so how did your? Yeah, I mean, you've I've heard you say this a few times, at some places, I've heard you speak, that some people aren't gonna like this. So what do you think is the reason why some people don't get on with your stuff?
Nigel Risner 10:58
Well with me or why they don't like the light like it? Well, both. Okay. So they don't like me, because I'm just direct to the point. And I often say to people, the reason your business sucks is because you do. Or that's not massively motivational. That's much more irrotational, if that makes sense. at all, not scared to say to people, your life is exactly where it is due to the choices you've made to date. So you know, you live maybe not that far, I know you've, you've lived you lived 200 miles away. Well, that's a choice you made in just wake up one morning, and you were transported to another home. Even if there had been divorce, there have been repossession or whatever choices were made along the way. So I've often said to people at the very first thing you need to do is take ownership. So if you understand what 100% responsibility looks like in your life, your life will change from that moment, if you understood you're 100% responsible for your communication, your life would change. If you understood that wherever you are, that's where you need to be. So we've been on this call for about 11 minutes. And I promise you, the only person who I love in the whole wide world is you know, you're probably either going a little bit cynical, or the listeners will be saying, it's just saying it, I promise you, Tony, whilst we are doing this, you are the most important person in my life. When I'm finished, what I don't love you that much. But the next person will be or my kids will be or my dog will be. Because that is with me. And too often, we are busy thinking about the next client, or the last client, or what else needs to be done. Yeah, and so when I share this with people, and I call people out on stage, I won't embarrass anybody. But I often ask questions. And the response that I get tells me where people are in their lives. And some people don't like being called out. Some people don't like being told that their life suck, because of what choices they've made.
Tony Winyard 13:00
And what you were saying before about a lot of people won't take responsibility for their lives. And it seems to me that because I had that realisation, about seven or eight years ago, and it suddenly struck me there were things I was blaming other people for, and then I realised that I wasn't taking responsibility. And since that realisation, my life has completely changed. But I get the impression that it's not something for many people, I mean, someone saying that, it doesn't necessarily sink in.
Nigel Risner 13:31
But nobody wants to admit that the reason their life sucks is because they are not taking action. All they want to do is blame the government, they want to blame Boris Johnson, they want to blame the transport system, they want to blame the M 25. They you know, you live near the M 25. But if you were going round south, every single day, the M 25. was quite busy. What if it was involved, you know, left at 430 in the morning? Yeah. But you chose to leave at 645 when a million other people did? Well, if everyone leaves at 645 doesn't matter where you go, it's going to be busy. Yeah, if you got to the airport at nine o'clock in the morning, and you wonder why security is busy is because that's what everyone has turned up. Then. If you took responsibility and you thought, can I make my life easier? I'll get to Heathrow at 10 to eight. Or whatever the time is. I'll go the M 25 a bit earlier, and I'll have a coffee somewhere near where I'm going. Yeah, people are always amazed that I'm on time is because I have an exercise called for a million parents. Would you be on time if that's what the offer was? Or who should what to do and everyone knows I'd leave the night before on though you could then don't get me wrong. There are some people whose lives have been plighted plight Is that the right word? Whatever the word is, with really it seems bad luck. Very often when you dissect it. And this is going to be obsessive for some people. They need to take some responsibility for it. No, I agree with that. Yeah. People don't want to hear that when their lives are not working. And no one chooses to be made redundant. No one chooses when your business of mine has been decimated from the 24th of March, I had 93, paid presentations postponed cancelled, literally overnight. Well, I had a choice in that moment there, what do I do? Yeah, he's great moaning about it. And it's great saying, well, the government isn't gonna be much support because I'm self employed, etc, etc. I need to do something I applied and you're going to be amazed at this. I applied at one point become an amateur driver.
Tony Winyard 15:38
Nigel Risner 15:39
I bet you're shocked to that. Why don't you? Yeah, I
Tony Winyard 15:42
Nigel Risner 15:42
Because I didn't know what was gonna do all day long. I didn't necessarily do it. I mean, yes, the buddy would have been helpful. But what do you do all day long. I've worked for 23 years. And you know, we may or may not know, I had a brain aneurysm exactly four years ago. And I did 168 presentations that year in 38. countries. Okay, that's, that's a result. If you push yourself too far, your brain literally explodes. Over the four years i've i've calmed down a bit. But I've never ever been at home for as long as I've been at home in the last 10 months. But I've got to do something. It's ahead of me that interview for an Amazon driver, the day I applied, I probably would have done it.
Tony Winyard 16:32
What did you do last year?
Nigel Risner 16:34
Well, so I learned what Zoo was, I learned what being online was I'd never done an online presentation ever in my life before March 31. Ever. I had to get coached. And I paid people to share with me, how do I share my screen? I've never done any of this. And I people who thought I was the bee's knees and I had a hackerone coaching? Everyone has a coach, the higher you go into earnings, the more coaches you probably got. Yeah, but I promise you, I would have been a driver or something to deliver parcels, just so I could do something. So I, you know, I created online personality assessment tool, I changed my business model. So I can do other events. I did some live events in the year, which was amazing. And I can't wait to do more live events. But now I've you know, I've spoken in Sri Lanka, at five in the morning, and Australia and New Zealand 11 o'clock at night. which I'd never been able to do the same way.
Tony Winyard 17:36
How are you finding it presenting online as opposed to doing it in a live environment.
Nigel Risner 17:41
Did you ask how do I find it?
Tony Winyard 17:45
From your point of view, what do you think of it?
Nigel Risner 17:49
Okay, I would much prefer to be live in front of an audience. However, because of the way I share. And because of my content, I nail nearly Not quite, I mean, as good as I was live on stage. Because I've got the same drive and energy. And I use a lot of props. I don't use many slides. Now, there are some phenomenal technical people out there who could use great wizardry stuff, I'd prefer for them to say into my office with all of my animal models with all of my chocolate with all of our props with all of my staff that I've got, because that's what they get if I was on stage. I didn't have any slides on stage. You've seen from presentations, I've got a tortoise video, I've got a three minute a toilet video, and I've got a gazelle running into a tree. I could I could do all of that online. I don't because I think I can change different information. So the question really is what it all changes, because we're never going to go back to normal that there is this is, you know, it's never going to be back to the way it was, in my humble opinion. Yeah, but I can do some stuff online, I've got now another revenue stream. Because if somebody wants to me in Australia, and I don't have pay for flights, I'm working with a major, major company in Australia. And I would say two and a half years ago, and I'm getting the same money that I got paid for going there. And I'm not doing any transport. So the client save you money, there's no hotel expenses, they haven't gonna pay for a hotel that away from my flights. I'm doing exactly the same. I'm not doing the same content, but the content they're going to receive is the same as if I'd have been in person.
Tony Winyard 19:32
Are you able to impact people the same way online as you could in a live environment?
Nigel Risner 19:38
Okay, so there's two so I'm gonna say yes, because the content that I give people is the same as I'd be doing on stage. And in theory, they're getting much closer in my face. I just can't feel their energy, but I can see their energy. So you've probably done to work on energy. I insist that I can see people's faces I'm doing a zoom call. You know, the problem I've got sometimes, if I'm working with 500 people, I can't see screen number 12 or 13.
Tony Winyard 20:10
Nigel Risner 20:11
So hopefully when they ask a question, I can quickly scroll, or they come up with main screen for me. So I lose some of that. If I was on stage where a peripheral vision would tell me what was going on, on the left hand side of the room, and I'd get a feeling energy drop, but I, because of my sessions, and for the record, my sessions are normally 42 minutes, because I think as long as anybody can concentrate up till about three o'clock, always giving, and I'm sharing as much information. I've got some online stuff they can look at, I've got some videos, there's a quiz online, you know, there's lots of things that I can get them to do bit before a bit afterwards, etc. to meet feel like they understand my subject. But
Tony Winyard 20:58
how did you get into all this in the first place?
Nigel Risner 21:03
Great question. Great question. So you probably would have no idea that I originally was in commercial finance. And I love that, but I was given an opportunity to study Hotel Management in Israel. And it was a passion of mine and a dream of mine. And I went to Israel. And then I realised this course was just not for me. And my roommate, where I lived in this absorption centre, was a tennis coach. And I had played unbelievable tennis for five years as a youth. And I was 18 and a half, and I joined a tennis centre and started coaching. And I coach for just over two years at the Israel tennis centre, and became a umpire. And I played some tennis. And I look back now my coaching skill started by understanding that by changing in incremental changes with someone, do you play tennis or squash? Nobody? No. Have you played any racquet sport?
Tony Winyard 22:00
Nigel Risner 22:01
Okay, but 90% of people, if you change their grip, have you ever played golf? No. Most coaches are spending their time or their grip, to make their play much better. So you watch a golfer and you watch their natural swing. And then people like us going to golf was we're just trying to whack them all, again. And I think came back to the UK joined the finance company. And I did unbelievably well very, very quickly, without the knowledge that I've got now. And my whole business would have changed If I'd known how to lead people instead of managing them. So I spent a lot of time teaching people that we lead people. And we banish things, not the other way around. And I then had venture capital in my business, we were going public, we didn't go public. And I then resigned from my business because I just didn't get on with my shareholders. I started all over again. What am I burning? The second time I realised making money actually wasn't that complicated working with people was, and I went on a personal development course. Which literally changed my life overnight. I then was very blessed to go to the states to work with jack Canfield, who's the author of chicken soup, sell books. Yeah. And I went back for three years to facilitate with him and do some joint work with Jahnke with 200 people. And then in 1997, I was very blessed to do a presentation for the academy for chief executives. I didn't realise at the time, this was gonna be a life changing moment. And I didn't realise how important the gig was. Because if I didn't know nobody was, I might be nervous. Because I didn't know how important it was. I just relaxed had some fun with it. And for whatever reason, they thought it was very, very good. And I think it was very, very good because I didn't follow the rules. He did. Sorry.
Tony Winyard 23:53
So what was it? You did that was different?
Nigel Risner 23:55
I got people hugging, right. And so I did a process and said before you sit down, if you could get yourself three and a half hugs. Well, of course, you can't do three and a half months, people just don't hug each other. It's very interesting that no one was scared to hug, because they were so worried about accounting. But if I hadn't been worried about accounting, they probably would have got nervous. But for one presentation that transformed my life. And within two years, I think gave up my finance company for the second time. I've physically moved offices, from my dining room to what was my kid's toy room. And 20 years later, I'm still in the same room. But what's happened is, I've done lots and lots of courses. I've done lots and lots of learning. I've done lots of coaching, I've been coached, and I've written a number of books, and I've done podcasts, but I'm constantly trying to make and start again, I'm making sure that companies work in a better way with the information and knowledge they've got. So instead of trying to change the whole world Look at what they do well and improve that. Instead of trying to transform the whole business,
Tony Winyard 25:08
do you have a preference in terms of speaking coaching type of audience? Who is it you'd like to really work with?
Nigel Risner 25:19
So I love working with HR. I love working with Chief execs. And I love working with people who've got an influence, so they can learn better leadership skills to influence other people. So it's not that I don't want to work on a shop floor with 30 shoe salesmen. I prefer to work with four leaders to empower them, because why don't I go? They're going to be having to do that. And probably done 500, Chief exec groups around the world.
Tony Winyard 25:55
How different are they in different countries?
Nigel Risner 25:59
So I've worked from Canada, America, all over Europe, Israel, the Middle East, Iran, Russia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and I'll tell you, there are people are people. They all want the same thing. They want their personal needs met, and they want to have 5% more success in some area of their life. Yeah. I mean, genuinely, people want to be loved, they want to be nurtured. They want to feel special. They want to know they've done a great job they want to, I don't believe very, I don't believe many people come to work not to do a great job. I mean, do you ever remember being when you were doing when you were doing music? Going to an event and thinking, well, if this event doesn't work? No, of course not. So you want it but you could have been five is a better. And so that's always the place that I start, you know, whichever in your life is not working. But what's work, you'd really want to get even better at that. And all you see, there's a problem that I have a phrase that says, chase your passion, not your pension. The problem for people is they think what I'm saying is, just follow your passion. And don't worry about the outcome. You know, if your passion is building, climbing, and you've got five children in private education, just being a mountaineer, unless you get paid an overall money isn't gonna help. Yeah. And so I just want to put a caveat to that, you know, if you love what you do, and you do what you love, there's a chance of success. But if you hate what you do, you're gonna be doing it for 40 years. Now, I can't remember how old you are, Tony, but I know you're younger than me.
Tony Winyard 27:42
I don't know about that. But maybe
Nigel Risner 27:45
Tony Winyard 27:46
Well, I'm only just younger than you then.
Nigel Risner 27:49
Okay. You look much better than I do. Okay, that goes a compliment. But if let's just say we're going to be doing this for another, you know, my kids, I think I'm gonna be doing for another 12 years. I'd like to okay. So a long time, 12 years. And if you hate what you do, you're not gonna be good at it.
Tony Winyard 28:06
No, and you're gonna enjoy life.
Nigel Risner 28:08
Yeah. And you know, I've been married 35 years, in a couple of weeks time. I've been with my partner nearly 40 years. I've got two amazing kids. I've got an amazing dog. My father lives around the corner above is in a home, unfortunately. But my life works. But I work hard. But I work hard at stuff. I love doing. That mean, what I have to do my VA, VA t returns, I love doing it. But I work on an 8020 rule. If you love 80% of what you're doing, you can afford to spend 20% of stuff you don't mind doing. Yeah.
Tony Winyard 28:42
Well, from what I understand, and I could be wrong. Most of your work is speaking and some of it is coaching. Have you got a preference over the two of them?
Nigel Risner 28:54
this is really interesting. I love speaking. And I but I love doing one to one coaching with. So I have a number of clients who have been with me for a very long time. So I'm involved in their business, though involved in their family, I know their dynamics, I want to go a bit deeper than just a surface level. So I love coaching and I do a lot of one to ones I've done a lot of coaching walks, even through the pandemic, my clients seem to love going on a walk with the dog. But if but the ultimate is if you had 300 people in a room, and I've got on a plane journey. I've stayed in a nice hotel the night before, and I'm opening up a conference. I'm in my element. I like the whole experience of travel, meeting new people.
Tony Winyard 29:41
And that must be the biggest loss than I guess we're doing all this online stuff.
Nigel Risner 29:46
It's been horrific in one way, but he's taught me a whole new platform that's available. So there are a number of speakers within an association that we both do. The professional speaker Association who loves the pandemic because they You never did remote speaking. They read stuff online. Yeah. So to them, that they've loved it. Yeah, they don't. They're teaching people how to be better. They're teaching me about what equipment to use. I've got very little equipment. I've no got fancy stuff, but my content is very good. And so I've always say to people, you know, why would people want to listen and invest in your 40 minutes? What are you going to give them? What are they going to do differently? And so I'm always interested in not What did you like, but what did you hear that you want to change and do something about? Or what are you now going to do differently? Literally, today, 21 days and 42 days. So I often ask people not to do evaluation sheets for me until 21 and 42 days. Of course, if someone says to you, you are very motivational, inspirational, and your motivational speaker, I'd be gutted. But I really want to know, 21 days time in 42 days time, what are they thinking about now? People 20 years later, literally saying, I can't believe when you put an arrow in my neck, or when you shared about your son who's got moto palsy, or when you said about being in the room? I've never gone that?
Tony Winyard 31:17
The first time I came across you was a PSA meeting in London, six years ago. And you used that expression about being in the room. And that just stayed with me, I can still remember that meeting clearly.
Nigel Risner 31:29
Okay, so you probably, but if I was to be really rude to the other four speakers that day? No, I don't. Okay, so here's my point. I'm not saying I better in any way, shape or form. But I try and resonate with you that some of that you could stick with and then say to yourself, you know, whatever I'm doing, am I present? Am I remember being a zookeeper? Am I understanding that the importance of why I'm doing what I'm doing. And it's very rare that someone doesn't, you know, my wife is always embarrassed because someone will come up to us at the airport and say, you know, I read your book, I saw you on stage. And of course, I don't know who they are. So I can't introduce them to my wife. But, but when you said this, and my wife says, I can't believe they're still listening to your credit. You know, because to her, she hears this every day, my wife, a child and adolescent psychotherapist, so she's dealing with people's past emotions, and I'm a coach, and I want to move them forward. But we urge both events stuff. You know, there's a lovely phrase that says, in order to create your future, you must complete your past. The problem is people are carrying their past and wanting you to embrace the opportunities, really hard to embrace new opportunities, if you're carrying last week shopping.
Tony Winyard 32:45
Yeah, one of the things I like about you, you're the kind of relationship you have with Jeff around. And the approach the two of you take is quite unique, I think some people are now sort of starting to try to replicate it. But it's quite unique.
Nigel Risner 32:59
It's interesting, because Jeff and I, and he shared this on a bootcamp that we did not that long ago, that Jeff changed part of his work. From a seven hour journey we had together from Cardiff back to Newcastle.
Tony Winyard 33:13
Actually, we should just mention to people listening who don't know who Geoff Ram is.
Nigel Risner 33:16
So Jeff frame is a phenomenal keynote speaker. He's the author and creator of a celebrity service. And he teaches people how to imagine that if you had a celebrity walking into your business, what you might do different. I won't touch points you could create in your business that would make people feel special. And he is one of the master storytellers, by the way. Yeah. So what we did was what we created something together so often we'd be at the same conference. And one afternoon, we decided what would happen if we came on stage together and created for your clients, because by which time they would have trusted us. So I'd open up the conference. He might do the session after lunch, and then we would close the conference, we tell me called the perfect day. What were the perfect day in your business look like? so perfect. David, you got trusted partners. And Jeff and I have trusted each other. And when I had my brain aneurysm, I gave all of my work to Jeff just gave it to him. Because I wanted my clients and to Steve head and to other people, but I just gave them my work and said be phenomenal. And what was amazing was the year after my aneurysm, every client that had gone with someone else, rebooked me for me to do my work. And then when Jeff had a medical emergency at home and he couldn't go to an event, he just said to the client is not an issue. Nigel will turn up. You don't have to worry about paperwork payment, Nigel Turner, it be trusted partners in your life. You need some great ideas. You need some support, and they need a perfect action. So we created some Where we could do something together, we often do joint events, we're doing a couple in February, March, we're working together. Because we're not trying to compete, we just want to add value for our clients. Too many speakers want to be the best speaker of the at that event you want to be is making sure the client to the best, and we're adding value to make them look great.
Tony Winyard 35:27
What is it that speakers should... how should they approach it differently in order to achieve that?
Nigel Risner 35:33
So first of all, they are not the event, they are just a contributor to the event. That's the first thing they need to get out their own ego. You know, ego really stands out, he got out, you know, you need to get out your way. Sometimes we just think, you know, when you hear speakers, with their riders or stuff they want, when I was always asked, you know, what did I need, I said, a breathing audience and a glass of water on stage. That's what I wanted. Anything else that I was given was a bonus. Whatever time I was given, I'd be 20 seconds early to finish. I wanted to, I wanted to find what the company ethos was and what some of their buzzwords were. So I could be part of the family. I didn't just want to be a guest, I want to be in partnership with people. So I have something called TRP. You're either a transactional based speaker, where you're a one off speaker and you go into your job, and you leave. And sometimes if you work for an association, that always want different speakers, you're just a transaction that have what's called relationship speakers, where you have some sort of relationship with them. Because you've been there two or three times, what I really want is to be in partnership with my clients. So at one point, I had 12 security fobs for different clients buildings. So I didn't need to go through reception, I could just bust my way in and go to the floor that I wanted to go to. And they knew there was a noise all day, and they knew they could email me and they had a special password to get into some back office stuff that I had on my website. So I've only ever looking to work with people working in partnership with them. Because your partners you trust 100%. So in my humble opinion, for speakers who want to go out there and make a difference, great content is paramount. Your own stories are paramount. Obviously tech works. But you don't have to have the best tech to be a phenomenal speaker. But if you've got great tech and you've got no content, you're never going to get rebooked.
Tony Winyard 37:33
You touched upon during the during this recording about all the fantastic places you've been working all over the world. I know that you've got so many fantastic stories, can you think of a story of the top of your head that would maybe surprise the listeners, something that you did or encountered or whatever the case may be?
Nigel Risner 37:57
Well, I'm gonna do two because one was Iran. And you know, I come from a Jewish background, and Iran is not really the place most Jewish boys want to go to. But Iran was very interesting, because, you know, I had ideas about how the world might be and what everyone else might be thinking. But the team that I was talking, I was talking to 400 leaders, and my ethos is all about inspiring and empowering people to live their life to the fullest. And so if I could inspire 400 Iranians, and I did some other work while I was there, and I went to the Shahs old palace, and it was one of those things that you just would never normally do. And I opened the conference, and I closed the conference A day later. So I was the Friday morning opening speaker or the Thursday on average when I closed on the Friday. Yeah. And the warmth and the love of the people was just amazing. But it's amazing the preconceived ideas that you have.
Tony Winyard 38:55
Nigel Risner 38:56
But my favourite, I think ever was going to South Africa to work in a goldmine. And I worked in a place called Veliko, which is really deep rooted in South Africa. And it's very much Africans. And literally, I was working at a very late hour because the shift of the people was when they were coming back out from the mines. But I did the absolute middle of nowhere, working with people who are working with buyers literally underground all day long, where safety is paramount, where communication is paramount. Well, you don't have time to really spend much time doing all the nice treats, but it's but you had to get it right. And it was just an honour to be literally in the middle of nowhere. Now you're making a difference. And I was staying with a very good South African friend of mine as a combination of being in a different country and different I'm trying to get the right word in a different space than I've normally been in. And though you can make a difference, but what was amazing was I was probably never going to go back. And it was one of those realisations that I'm never going to see these people again. I want to make sure I leave a piece of my heart. So they know they bettered. And I think for me, that's probably one of the most important things I would hate to leave stays and say, he was a bit aloof, we didn't really get him. We didn't understand where he's coming from. But we got some great messages, might want to understand that underneath all of this facade, that most speakers put on a human being with a wife and two kids with a dog who's waiting to see me come home, who wags his tail, and I'm just like everyone else. I've just learned a bit to be able to share a bit to make people's lives work a bit better.
Tony Winyard 40:51
Your zookeeper model. How did that all come about?
Nigel Risner 40:56
So I had been teaching some communication programmes, but I never really got, what's the word I'm looking for. I never really got a bottle that was mine, per se. And I was doing some work at Whipsnade Zoo. And I saw a maid with a trolley on wheels with about nine or 10 different buckets of food. And they were labelled literally, elephants, monkeys, lions, etc. And I had one of those aha moments that said, If you feed the right food to the right animals, you don't only look after their health or well being, you get a much different response. And if you fed all the animals the same food, because that's all the only food you had, you probably get 25% of the animals responding well. And that's what happens in communication, that when you haven't got much time when you haven't got much energy, and when you're angry, you will speak in your dominant language. And then there's even a hyper dominant language, which I'll come on to in a second, which won't work for at least 80% of the audience. And so, you know, I come from an area where I'm not very structured, you know, I have a basic speech, and I play with the audience, and I seem to manage to finish on time, but the middle of it, who knows where I'm going, and ideally, always start off with the same standard line. And I finish off with either a deprecating joke, a video, or a spiritual line, the better bet is all over the place. Because that's my monkey style. Lions are much more direct, there'll be six points, these are the four you need. Off you go do it, your life will work. And you need to give that to them. They need to have a system to work to. Dolphins just want to make sure the world is okay. And they want to do a bit of hugging and they want to drink Fairtrade coffee and tea. And they want to make sure the world is a much better place when you finished. But the elephants need structured data analytics, they want a process they want to know the back the agenda in advance, and they need information. It's not you saying and I used to use this word a lot. We're going to do some stuff on. Monkeys love that I love stuff. Elephants want to know what that is. And so they were my nemesis audience. So if I had, you know, Chartered Accountants or I had surveyors or I had a legal team, or I had an insurance company where we had assessors, I struggled with them till I realised that they need this stuff in advance. They were not going to trust me, until I understood that I had a background I had some knowledge. So we would always send them to my website from Zoo white animal quiz in advance. They knew my statistics, they knew about my testimonial, they knew about my awards. lines, just think they should be on stage because they're better than everyone else. The monkeys aren't going to read it and so they just want some toy stories. And then dolt was when he was having a lovely time. When you then become the zookeeper and that's the real element to all of my communication programmes. The your job as a leader, your job as a parent, your job as a coach is to be a zookeeper and that is to feed the food that your recipient need and want. And he's trying to give you know, I joke with people I like Cadbury's milk chocolate. I am very excited with that. Send me lit or boville chocolate with a bottle of champagne for the record, I don't drink. It's wasted on me. And I actually feel disrespected, they haven't listened. So when I want speak for the year for a big organisation, and I got sent a bottle of champagne, instead of being excessive I thought that you know, I drink Diet Coke when I want the same award Two years later, and I got a credit Diet Coke engraved with my name on how do you think I felt? Yeah. cost less. Much more appreciated and much more thought behind it.
Tony Winyard 44:58
Yeah, absolutely. You've written so many books now,
Nigel Risner 45:04
I there have written five books, all of which are independent of each other. So I hate people, you got to read this one before you can read the next one.
Tony Winyard 45:14
Let's come back to the first. So when you were thinking when you first started thinking about writing a book, what do you remember the reasoning behind it? What did you hope it might achieve?
Nigel Risner 45:26
Because everyone told me that you need a book because then you become an authority to my first book wasn't very good. Then I revised that book, and it's one of my favourite books because it's about goal setting, and masterminding. But I didn't talk about it very often. So most people don't know I've written that book.
Tony Winyard 45:45
What's that one called?
Nigel Risner 45:47
It's called, and I'm going to get it out. 10 heads are better than one. But most people have no idea about that, because I don't promote it, because I don't often talk about it.
Tony Winyard 45:57
Well, how long ago was that? 1998. Wow, okay.
Nigel Risner 46:03
But I've done four revisions, and four covers for that book. Nearly every book I've ever written, until the last one, we've done the cover, we've changed the cover, because we've updated it. Because one of things I'm always saying to speakers is would sample book you just based on your book. And now I can say they would on all of my deal, they wouldn't have done at the beginning. But then I got asked by wireless, when I write a book. And I wrote a book called The impact code, which was my life's work. And that's one of my favourite books, with the exception of it to zero around here, which was my very first book on communication, that my two mainstays the impact code, how to create the life you deserve, using a code that I put together, and then it does around here, which is the new rules for better communication. between those two, that gives you the basis of most things that you need. So you got a basic principles to work to. And then we're going to show you how to communicate in a much better way. I've then advanced it by we've introduced, you may not know this, nine more animals. And we've introduced an online personality assessment tool, which is literally 45 pages, after you filled in some very heavy questions. And it is so personal and personalised to you you're thinking in your head when you when you get your, your results.
Tony Winyard 47:35
And how would people find that?
Nigel Risner 47:37
Well, they get to my website, which is dimensional resonance, calm. And listeners of this, if I put in the word pivot, they'll get a 10% discount. But you know, when you really want to understand your communication style, you got an understanding you, when you know who you are, you really recognise where you are, then you can communicate much better than your relationships improve your business communication improves, the flow of the way you work
Tony Winyard 48:07
Isn't that maybe one of the hardest things in life for people to really understand who they are?
Nigel Risner 48:14
Well, that's because they don't want to go there. You know, because then you got to acknowledge that you're not who you think you are, you know, for a long time, I had problems accepting feedback. You know, I did very well, I had a successful finance company, then then it wasn't. And then I started my speaking business. And it went very well. And I won awards much earlier than I should have done. So what was he going to tell me, my business was working, I was married, I had two kids. But when you open yourself up and you open your heart up to real, and I don't use the word feedback, I use the word feed forward. But when you open yourself up to it, and somebody says, Let me just share what I'm seeing compared to what you're doing. And you trust the person who's speaking to you, your life changes.
Tony Winyard 49:01
When people do the equivalent things such as the Myers Briggs, and disc profile.. is it a case of maybe they're not being? Well, I guess they're not being completely honest. in the answers that are given to these things?
Nigel Risner 49:21
Well, there's two other problems that, you know, Myers Briggs, bellmunt disc, whatever it might be. The concept is, it doesn't really matter if you're 11 you're a yellow, you're a monkey. Well, you got to understand what zookeepers around so yeah, someone said to me, Well, I can't do this because I'm a monkey. Well, that's an excuse. What do I need to do to improve I need to become I need to get to the centre. I need to understand who are the people I need to reach out to that's what zookeeper is about.
Tony Winyard 49:49
We touched upon the books just now. have you got any plans for any future books?
Nigel Risner 49:55
Not for the moment I'm about to create and I'm gonna put this out here, online. course on presentation skills and communication. I don't know why I don't know how it's going to look. But I have a phrase that says, decide on your what the hell show up, which is for some people is your why, but it will show up. I've just got to figure out what it's going to look like. But the house will show up very soon.
Tony Winyard 50:20
When do you think that will be out?
Nigel Risner 50:23
I'm not going to commit to that. But by the summer I reckon it's not that important. But I think it'll be a nice addition to what I do
Tony Winyard 50:32
And it will save you driving on Amazon?
Nigel Risner 50:34
No, not necessarily. What it really is about is that it's an addition to what I'm doing. But I find leave this with you. It's not a must. For me. It's a want and want, aren't as important as musts. If it was a must I'd give you a date. And I'd have the whole thing planned out by now.
Tony Winyard 50:54
And so what are the books that you've already got out? I am presuming people can find them on Amazon and so on.
Nigel Risner 51:00
Yeah, if they go to my website, which is www.nigelrisner.com putting that code pivot, they'll get a discount. And if you go onto Amazon, they can only get my latest book, zookeeper rules for the office in hardback on my website. And they can only get the personality assessment tool on my website.
Tony Winyard 51:19
And are there any social media profiles you people can find you?
Nigel Risner 51:23
on LinkedIn, I'm on Twitter, I'm on Facebook, and just look for Nigel Risner or chief zookeeper. And you will find me.
Tony Winyard 51:33
And do you have a book that you've recommended to people?
Nigel Risner 51:38
I'm going to share a weird book. Okay. Though jack Canfield, who was my original coach wrote a book called The Aladdin factor. It's about how to ask for what you want. Obviously, I'm going to recommend my speaking about Jeff Brown for celebrity service, because that's just an easy book to lift and raise your game. But from a spiritual point of view, from a business point of view, the book The Aladdin factor, you've probably got Amazon very cheap, because it's literally one of his oldest books, but it's my favourite book he ever wrote.
Tony Winyard 52:15
But what is it about it, that really resonates with you.
Nigel Risner 52:19
Probably, and I'm gonna say this in the nicest way. Because unless you learn to ask for support, you're not going to get there on your own. There's a phrase that says you have to do it by yourself, and you cannot do it alone. Yeah. You've just got to get support.
Tony Winyard 52:40
Finally, Nigel, is there a quotation that you particularly like?
Nigel Risner 52:46
Yeah, no one could go back and make a brand new start. But anyone can start right now make a brand new ending? It was Carl Rogers. Why is that? Because too often we want to change where we are what we've done, you can't change the past. You know, what you can look at is, where are we right now? Where do we want to get to? What do we want? The How will show up? But if you spend your life looking over your shoulder
Tony Winyard 53:22
When you first came across that, did you already realise that? Or was it that kind of just stuck?
Nigel Risner 53:29
I'm one of these people that I don't harbour resentment. If you really want the honest truth. My favourite quote, the whole wide world is resentment is like taking poison, and hoping the other person dies.
Tony Winyard 53:40
Nigel Risner 53:42
So how does it serve you? That's the whole point.
Tony Winyard 53:50
How did you learn that lesson?
Nigel Risner 53:55
I had some traumatic stuff when I was much younger, and holding on to that stuff just was never going to work. You know, I was in a car accident where someone's died. And my mother was very ill when she when I was very young, she tried to commit suicide, holding on to that stuff was never going to work for me. And so, you know, we come to the end of this podcast. If you if you're not happy with something in your past, and it's not working for you, you need to forgive them and forgive yourself that we might be part of
Tony Winyard 54:25
Nigel, it's been an absolute pleasure speaking to really appreciate all the stories and experiences and knowledge you shared with the listeners. So thank you.
Nigel Risner 54:34
My pleasure. And thank you for trusting me to be part of your life.
Tony Winyard 54:43
Next week is Episode 25 of happiness versus flourishing, which is actually the last episode. The podcast will continue in a different vein the week afterwards. The name is going to be changed to Habits and Health. Next week Episode 25 is with Brooke Hender. And it's a fascinating episode. He's a psychologist and we talk about hypnotherapy, psychology, philosophy, metaphor, some really fascinating topics that we kind of delve into so that's next week's episode with Brooke Hender. If you do know anyone who you think will get some real benefit from this episode with Nigel Risner, why not share it with them, please do leave a review for us because that really helps get the word out about the podcast, and why not subscribe so you can get more episodes of Happiness vs Flourishing. But also the new episodes of the new podcast about to start in two weeks time, which is Habits & Health. I hope you have a great week.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.