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How to Build Authority Through Public Speaking with Lucy Bloom

November 13, 2023
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command higher fees, and work with better clients.


Have you ever struggled to engage an audience with your message or expertise? On this week’s episode of The Recognized Authority podcast, host Alastair McDermott interviews Lucy Bloom, an award-winning international speaker and consultant.

Lucy shares her journey from an advertising executive with no public speaking experience to highly sought-after keynote speaker at major conferences. She provides brilliant advice on how to:

  • Use emotional stories and humour to capture attention
  • Structure speeches into digestible sections
  • Allow time and pauses for the audience
  • Test material before going on stage
  • Publish books to establish authority

If you want to learn how to speak with confidence, impact and authority, you won’t want to miss this interesting and entertaining conversation. Tune into The Recognized Authority podcast now to hear Lucy’s insights on engaging storytelling, humor and becoming known as an expert.


Show Notes

Guest Bio

Lucy Bloom is an international keynote speaker, author and consulting CEO with a background in advertising and international aid. She is a dance floor starter 😊


Alastair McDermott 0:00
Today, my guest all the way from Australia is Lucy bloom. Lucy is an award winning leader. She is an international keynote speaker, a consultant and an author. Lucy, thank you so much for being with me early in your morning late in my evening.

Lucy Bloom 0:12
My pleasure. It’s almost 9am here. So I’ve been up for hours.

Alastair McDermott 0:18
I’m not a morning person. So that that I still considered early. Then I really wanted to get you on. When I saw what you talk about what you do. You seem like a really interesting person to have on the show. And just want to warn anybody in advance who’s listening to this with kids. There may be some swear words in this episode

Lucy Bloom 0:41
is crying to the odd F bomb but only within context, you know,

Alastair McDermott 0:44
only within context. Yeah, okay, well, that is absolutely fine. We’re giving a disclaimer. So you are now fire on all cylinders.

Lucy Bloom 0:51
That can be sad in the room. Okay,

Alastair McDermott 0:54
the reason I wanted to get you on because I’m really interested in speaking, I’m really interested in every way that people can build authority, personal authority, personal brand. And speaking is something I don’t know a whole lot about. And you are an expert speaker. So it looks to me, like speaking has helped to build your brand, or at least to kind of amplify it after you’ve built it. First, can you tell me a bit about how you got into using speaking, and how that how that evolution happened?

Lucy Bloom 1:22
Sure. It’s an interesting story. So buckle up. About 20 years ago, I created the world’s first childbirth education program for men, and it’s running pubs all over Australia. I had never given a speech or presented in front of an audience before then, at the time, I was running an advertising agency. So the biggest audience I would ever pitch to or present to would be a roomful of clients, never a full audience. And so I created this childbirth program. Honestly, I just did it for fun, and it became this bigger than Ben Hur thing. all over Australia. I’ve since sold that business, and it’s still going strong. But for six years straight, every single month, for six years, I presented to about 30 men who didn’t really want to be there for two hours. And that’s a long time to hold an audience and a long time. Yeah, a long time to hold a crowd of dudes who are like, What the hell? What am I doing here? And I’ll never forget, actually, at the start of one session, a big group, it was like 30 or 40 blokes in Melbourne. And at the start of the session, when they were all filtering in, this guy walks in with a pint in his hand. A pint is a big drink here in Australia, because because it’s hot here, we don’t do pints. He walked in with his giant pint in his hand, and you looked a bit lost. And I said, is your partner pregnant by any chance? He said, Yes, she just dropped me here told me to come and sit upstairs and said there was a surprise waiting for me that 80% of my audience was booked in by their partner. And it was a bit iffy whether they really wanted to be there. So I had to work really hard and get really good at this really fast. But the the when was in the practice, so for six years, but 10 times a year, we used to take 11 times a year, we take January off 11 times a year for six years, I presented to a group of men on their role in childbirth. And that’s what really irked me my speaker chops. That’s when I got good at storytelling, good at delivering a punch line. Good at the mix between learning and info and story which is which is critical. Your voice moves differently when you tell a story to when you say quote stats. And I love doing it. That’s the most important thing is that it was fun. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t fun. Then I moved into my first CEO role that was in GS what year was that? Tibet 2012 was my first CEO role. And when you’re a CEO, when you have this title, CEO under your name, people think it’s really special and they invite you to speak. And I’d handle this experience as a childbirth educator and a funny childbirth educator. That’s always handy. And so I started speaking on the work of the hospital. So this was a hospital in Ethiopia, where we cured women with catastrophic childbirth injuries that you almost do not see in the West, you only see it in countries where there’s very little access to good health care. And so it was quite a hell of a story to tell, depressing, heartbreaking stuff. But I had to learn how to tell that story and mix it with humor as well. You got to give the audience a break. You can’t keep smashing them. They get compassion fatigue actually, if a story is too sad and too devastating and too hard for too long, and I noticed over time, that the bigger the emotional roller coaster I could take an audience on the better emotional manipulator I became. So if you make an audience cry, and then you make them laugh, and then you might cry again, but you end on a cracking heartwarming one hell of a story. Honestly, they will do anything for you. And so as the CEO of a major charity, or an international a charity, I needed donations. And so I was one hell of a fundraiser because because I was a good speaker. And then once you’ve got a reputation for giving one hell of a speech, they keep inviting you back. So my speaking actually became an important revenue stream for the work of the charity, I raised about a quarter of a million dollars just as my as my speaker’s fee. So what I did was change my mind my speaker’s fee relate to the work I was doing, we were doing in Ethiopia, so the minimum was 6000 Australian dollars, and that paid for 10 operations, standard operations in our hospital in Ethiopia. 16,000, paid for an entire midwifery degree for a local Ethiopian woman. And 50k, which was the most I was ever paid, paid a surgeon salary for a whole year in Ethiopia. So clients loved it. And I would, I would give a spiel at the start about how my fee was doing this incredible work. And you should be really, you should feel major warm fuzzies about your employer right now, or whoever it was, who’s paying the bill. Then I had a cup, I had three co roles. And the last one I hated so much it sucked giant balls, I absolutely hated that. I’m just going to quit my email, because that’s just gonna keep singing little songs to us while we chat. Yeah, I hated that last role so much. I’ll never forget getting on a bus. I live right at the beach in Kochi in Sydney, and getting on a bus and watching a perfectly good beach disappear out the back window of that bus as I went towards a job I truly hated. And so that was it was that day, I made the decision to lean on what had become my superpower, which was speaking, I enjoyed speaking, I was good at it. And people wanted to pay me big money to do it. And the lifestyle of a CEO was starting to kill me. Like really kill me like my, I had a long list of health problems that was all sending me down a track to an early death. So I made that decision that day. And that was in 2017. And I’ve been a full time speaker ever since. So that’s my story how I became a speaker.

Alastair McDermott 7:41
Wow, that’s really interesting. So many different things I want to dive into there. So first off, I’d like to say you’re one of the very few people that I’ve had on the podcast in, you know, well over 100 episodes where I’ve actually asked for the backstory. I think I think it is interesting. And I think that it, you know, it shows where it where you come from when you when you’re sitting here in front of me. And I think that’s super interesting that what what strikes me is the amount of detail in what you learned about that. And what like one of the things there is the emotional arc that we see. And if you do any reading up about movies, telling stories and and writing, you’ll see that people talk about the you know, the the plot lines and the emotional arcs that you take the audience through and the the characters go through as well. I think that’s really interesting. You’re talking about the emotional roller coaster and compassion fatigue. And

Lucy Bloom 8:36
that’s a really important thing in fundraising, compassion, fatigue, so not even not just speaking. But in all communication. When you’re telling us when you have a really sad story to tell constantly, you have to mix it up in your social media, in your emails to your donors, everything has to be mixed IQ. It can’t always be devastatingly sad, because people will just scroll on by.

Alastair McDermott 9:01
Okay, let’s let’s talk about how to actually bring some of that in, because I’m interested in like, what are the things that people who are listening to this are their absolute experts in their field. And quite often they’re in if it was talking in a kind of kind of Michael Gerber sense. They’d be in the technician mode. So they would be an expert. And they’re really good at what they do. And quite often, there’s a lot of information and learning. And you talked about information and learning versus story and how your voice actually changes when you’re telling a story. Can you tell me a little bit about like, if we have somebody who’s who’s got something quite technical, but is really useful for their audience? Like how do they present that in such a way as to be interesting to capture attention? Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I know a lot. There’s a lot of people with information packed presentations and talks that they need to give to people. Gotcha.

Lucy Bloom 9:52
So that’s a really, really good question. And there’s lots to this answer. One of a few years to go, where are we now? Eight years ago, I gave a speech I’ll never forget, it was at a pivotal point in my life. And that’s why I’ll never forget it. But I still I still meet people who go, I was at that speech in Chatswood in 2015. And I’ve never forgotten it either. It was a really big deal that speech, and would you believe it was also a first date. So I was on a first day, my marriage had recently crumbled to dust. And I met a dude on Twitter normal place, of course, to meet my next partner came to that speech, and sat in the front row. And the images from that speech, you can see his shiny, shiny head, the front row, he very interesting character. Anyway, in the front row, he sat there, and he recorded that speech, but in sections, so every time I changed tack, or went on to a new section, he goes stop record. I didn’t ask him to do that. But then we looked at the files he shot that day, and my whole speech about a 35 or 40 minute speech, was told in three and a half minute sections. I had no idea I did that I wasn’t the practiced sharp Speaker I am today back then. But I was good. I had divided mentally, in my speeches into these little sections. Now that’s about the length of a song on the radio. And that’s because humans have a short attention span, we can tell us we go through one thing, and then we’re about done with that. And I bought easily and what’s the most important thing is I’m not bored up there. So I noticed that there’s him recording it like that showed me that I divvy up what I’ve got to say, into these little sections. And then I listened to it more closely. And it’s given me the, the guidance for how I structure my speeches now, which is, you make a point, you tell a story, and you reinforce the point. He got to tell a story though. And as I said before, when you make a point, especially when it has numbers in it, and statistics, and I learnt this in my fundraising days, that people don’t respond, people don’t donate to only statistics, don’t tell them that 88% of women will die if they don’t get X Y, Zed. Those numbers are abstract. There’s a guy called Peter Singer, who wrote a brilliant book called The life you can save and that really covers the research on this stuff’s real incredibly well, that’s where I learned this stuff. People will respond will donate to a story, tell them a story about a woman who had to escape hyenas from her village and run all day to get to a missionary unit. 30 kilometers from her home. And she got there just before dark and collapsed at the feet of these missionaries, and they could smell she was incontinent, and they knew what she was that she was an obstetric fistula patient. They’ve been they’ve visited our hospital, I’m giving myself goosebumps with this story. And they drove her all the way to one of our hospitals. She was cured very easily of these awful injuries. And then we hired her back as one of our nursing staff, and she’s still with the hospital today. Now that story is so much more or less suitable, and, you know, even gives me the Goosebumps years later than if I say, you know, 80% of these women will die before they reached the care that they need. And therefore you should donate what is also interesting is that you won’t get an emotional response for Pete with people. Even if you combine the stats and the story, they just want to hear the story. So I can’t emphasize enough how important story is, I’ve actually got to the point. I haven’t actually spoken with a slideshow behind me since 2018. It’s just me, my glorious head and my voice in front of an audience, they get nothing on those screens. And that’s partly because humans cannot multitask. You think you can. But you can only do multiple things badly at the same time. So when a speaker is onstage speaking to you, you stop listening to them while you read the shit that’s on their slides. And you’ve lost them. So as soon as you change slides and you put 100 words on that screen, they are not listening to you they are reading the slides. And because I take people on a on a journey on a whole on a whole adventure, and I want to land them right where I want them at the end of that adventure. I don’t give them anything else visual other than right at the end a QR code so they can stay in touch with me Hmm. So, story is absolutely crucial. But if experts have to get across info, I recommend that they look at the time they’ve been given. So they’ve been given 30 minutes, that’s 10 sections. A short intro. Honestly, intros can be 30 seconds long minute at the most. And then I got 10 sections of make a point, tell a story, reinforce the point, do that 10 times, they’ve got a really great speech, but always end on an absolute clang of a story. And the funnier you are, the more memorable you’ll be. It’s just the way our brains work. Someone said to me really early in my speaking career, Lucy, the funnier you are in this business, the more you’ll earn. And I heard the word. And so I I have really focused on my skill as a storyteller and a joke lander, I make sure that there are punch lines, that the last per minute are really high, because I want them to remember me. No one says how amazing was that really boring speaker. They go, how amazing was that funny speaking, and they remember the things that they learned because they laughed at the set time. Long answer.

Alastair McDermott 16:15
i That’s a great answer. And yeah, that was probably like three and a half, four minutes. No, it was probably longer than that. But I have, I have looked into, into speaking, not speaking but into stand up comedy. And I don’t know if I’m the guy for that. I don’t know if it’s my style. But I do want to learn more about being funnier. Probably been saying that on this podcast for about three years now. But I do know that, you know, the top comedians are getting a laugh every three and a half to four seconds. That’s the goal that they’re going for over there. You know, over there, the courts have their set, which is really interesting. Just settling might may only be 12 or 15 minutes, and might only be five minutes. But I think that’s interesting. Eight minutes

Lucy Bloom 16:58
is a really standard. Standard set. Yeah. Yeah, last minute, really, really high.

Alastair McDermott 17:07
I also have been at some really great comedians in Dublin, in some of the top venues in Dublin, but I was recently at a smaller regional venue here where I live, which is on the west coast. And I saw two comedians, one big name on one leso. And they both were they both absolutely bombed. And I was wondering was the big name guy, he might have just been resting on his laurels. But I was wondering, was he testing material just to see because I know that some of these comedians actually test on smaller regional audiences before they do the big shows. So I felt like I was in I was in a test audience.

Lucy Bloom 17:45
Yes, I have to test my material to Alastair I have to test it as well, I have to test my jokes and my stories. But I wouldn’t I don’t, I don’t have the balls to do it on an audience. And also, I’m being paid big dollars. And so I don’t want to test new things on a huge big gorgeous audience. I testing conversation first. So on Monday, I gave a speech to seven has an audience of about 700. A big pet store chain here in Australia called pet stockholder, a conference every year. And I wanted to do a new story, but I practiced it at breakfast on a woman that I just shared a table with. And I knew it was an edgy story, because it used the phrase, a very strong phrase kind of carries the story and the phrase is cock and balls. And so I didn’t want to use an edgy story for the first time in front of 700 people. I tested it on her, she laughed in all the right places, and went into the story on stage. So I don’t know why comedians don’t do that more. There’ll be a reason as to stand up. I’m not a stand up. But I do work with a stand up comedian, my 10 o’clock appointment today is with my comedian, mate, Aiden. And when I get a great story that I want to include in a speech, I am I set up a call with Aiden, Aiden Jones, his name is he’s an Ozzy comedian. And we talk through my stories and he doesn’t write the jokes for me. He points to the places where a joke is dying to be told. Like that’s a place where a joke can land where you can say bring in a contrast, or bring in a misdirection, and he’s helped me see where the phonies are. So there’s stories I’ve told for years that I didn’t even realize could be so much funnier, and he’s helped me become a funnier speaker.

Alastair McDermott 19:37
That’s really cool. So you’re kind of workshopping your, your speeches to figure out where the funny bits are. I love that. And I’m wondering, is there any tips that you can give us like, how can we actually become funnier? I noticed he talked about misdirection Is it just about learning what those kind of classic you know the rule of threes, you know where you’ve got one item item One, item two, and then item three is something surprising, because three is the shortest list that you can have, you know, where you’ve got a pattern? Are there things like that, that you learn about? Is that how you approach? Yeah, there?

Lucy Bloom 20:12
There are. And when I first started to concentrate on the funny side of what I do, I did a bunch of research and I came across a book that said, look, the more you dissect humor, the more you’ll ruin it for yourself. Not quite like that. Like, don’t over dissect this stuff. Look at what makes you laugh, and just look at why that was and Aiden’s helped me put words like names to it like yes, that’s a classic misdirection. And the reason why misdirection makes an audience laugh, is you think you’re going in one direction, and it’s the surprise and delight of being delivered and plunked somewhere, you didn’t expect to go and humans respond really well to surprise and delight. So you look for that in things. I have a little joke I tell. When I talk about how, what a juicy hormone dopamine is to chase. And I say we produce dopamine. When we get something done, it’s our reward hormone. So these are just facts, I’m just telling them facts. Dopamine is your reward hormone. So when you get something done, you tick that list, or you get a little squirt of home of dopamine. We produce dopamine, when we roll laughing, especially in company when we fall in love. And when we smoke, crack cocaine. And that last line always gets a massive laugh because they’re getting all this technical, you know, medical information, and then they’re not expecting me to make a drug reference. And it’s always in a corporate. It’s I do a lot of corporate work. And no one’s at a bank conference expecting a quip about smoking crack cocaine. So there’s there are some things like that. I also love a triplet, and that was a triplet 123. And you land the joke on the three. So yeah, there are some of those things. And the more you the more you look into this, the more you can recognize them. I listened to a lot of I watched and listened to a lot of stand up. There’s a lot to be said for the timing, so that when you deliver that surprise and delight, everyone gets it, they can hear it out speakers only cockup when they talk too fast. And you lose some of the joy because they’re broke. And audiences need time to catch up with you. You’ve said it a million times. But they haven’t heard any of this stuff before. I worked with a voice coach for a while. And she is the she works with opera singers on their German dialect. That’s her main area of expertise. But she worked with me on my voice. Yeah, how’s that for an area of expertise. And she was the first person. Unreal, hey, and she puts on this awesome German accent when she wants to be bossy. She’s unreal. And she was the first person who really said to me, Lucy, you’ve got to give your audience a chance to breathe, you are so funny. And some of the stuff you say it’s so it’s such a like, Whoa, it just hits you not not always funny, like, boom, hard. There’s a spot in the middle of the speech I gave on Monday when my whole audience went, Oh. And it wasn’t funny. It was devastating. And she said Lucy, you’ve got to give them their little brains time and their heartbeats and their lungs time to catch up with you. And I had to accept that there are times you just got to stand there on stage you feel so you feel almost naked when you just stand here, waiting for them to catch up with you. They’re just looking at you. You’ve got to have the courage to leave those pauses. But I should also say I’m not the fan. I’m not a fan of the dramatic pause. When I see speakers leave these long, agonizing pauses. I want to poke them in the eye. A dramatic pauses to stop it get on with it. But there’s a there’s a there’s an art to allowing your audience time to catch up with you. That wasn’t even your question. But there you go.

Alastair McDermott 24:15
That wasn’t but that but that. That’s really interesting. And thank you. No, I mean, this is already is with me. And I’m basically I’m just getting free coaching at this point. I’m gonna continue to continue in that vein. The, the that was a great opportunity for me to bring in a reference to like, what would that get me but anyway, in terms of a hospital. Let me ask you about. I’ve got a I’ve got I’ve got to give a 12 minute presentation on Friday. And it is to a group of business owners I’ve been invited to come along and talk about AI and why it’s important and what the capabilities are. And my main message will be to go out and try it and test it and find out for yourself what the capabilities are. It There’s, uh, I could do a whole bunch of like demos and show them what coilette can do. Do you have any advice? Because this could be super information packed? There’s loads of ways I can approach this. But I’m I’m trying to figure out how to do it. Now, after talking to you, like thinking about how like can bring story into it or like make it not factual in learning, because I think this genuinely is something I don’t think that it’s a five, I think it’s something business owners shall be playing around with. I’m just wondering how you would approach this.

Lucy Bloom 25:28
Firstly, I’d say 12 minutes is not enough. Like if that if you can’t negotiate more time, okay, let’s talk about 12 minutes. But anyone who says to Me, I can, I can give you a 12 minute slot, I would just say that’s just not enough to give an audience a real experience. That’s what I do I deliver experience. I’ve been I’ve done 18 minute slots, and it’s a bit of a time slot. 18 minutes is the max you get for a TEDx, it’s actually a very difficult slot to do well, as a storyteller. I do a minimum 35 minutes if I’m booked to speak and my preference is a whole hour. But sometimes you can’t fight with what you’ve been given. So 12 minutes, you’ve got four points you can make in 12 minutes. If we go back to my structure, you’ve got four, three or four good, juicy points you can make in 12 minutes. Honestly, I would say you can really only impress on them that this is as important as having an email address. Remember when email addresses came in, and everyone went home, but I’ve got a fax machine isn’t that enough. So give them examples. Story examples of how this is not just some kind of crazy thing for early adopters. This is something that’s absolutely essential for your business. And I’ll give you a story about an I’ll give you an A story of how, and then you’ll have some gorgeous story about some business that was able to do X, Y, and Zed. And something I’ve also noticed is people love $1 sign. So if you can say before, they were using AI to do X, Y and Zed their revenue looked like this. And afterwards, it looked like that. And people love a revenue climb. And that you’ve shown them the how to how to how to make that revenue climb for them. And then you can even say 12 minutes is not enough to demonstrate how powerful this is. So I have a I have an email for you. And there’s a bunch of links in there. You take that pony for a ride, and you will never look back. And we’ve pretty much filled your 12 minutes.

Alastair McDermott 27:32
Yeah, yeah, I love it.

Lucy Bloom 27:35
30 minutes, I think if you were gonna show on screen

Alastair McDermott 27:38
also. Yeah. Yeah. I’m also afraid always have doing live demos with tech. Because, you know, usually something goes. Yeah. So yeah, when the examples that I like to use where they I, and people listen to this are going Oh, my God, he’s talking about AI again. Sorry. It’s not a fad. Honestly, you need to check it out. And the examples that I like to use is back when, back in 1995, when the internet was kind of taken off, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft wrote a book called The road ahead. And in the first edition of his book, he really downplayed the internet. And he made it out like it wasn’t this big deal. He was interactive TV and stuff like that. But he kind of didn’t, didn’t really talk about the internet all that much. And then, about three months later, he sent an internal memo, called the Internet tidal wave. And he released a second edition of the book, like three months, which completely changed. So So I was thinking, you know, like, when somebody who is like a tech visionary, like Bill Gates can get it wrong on something like this, you know, and that was about the internet. I’m just saying, now this is the AI is the is the new internet, this is the new thing that’s going to be a big deal for everybody. I think you got to start to pay attention a little bit earlier here. So I don’t know is that a good is that a good analogy to use or is good analogy those two concepts together? It’s

Lucy Bloom 28:58
a great analogy, because we’ve all heard of Bill Gates, and we know that he’s the ducks knots of tech, from his generation, there are new ducks nuts now. But from his generation, he was huge. We’ve all heard of him. But if you can also give examples that the average Joe in your audience can totally relate to people often say to me, Lucy, you’re so relatable. And I think that’s because I look for examples that anyone can see from their own lives. So that’s why I use the example of fax machine versus email address. We’ve all been through that transition. I use it as an example of dopamine chasing, for example, I say, If you love writing to do lists, because that gets you through your stuff, you got to get done and you love ticking things off on your little to do lists. You’re a dopamine chaser, but if you do something that’s not on your to do list, and you write it down the bottom just so that you can tick it off. You are a proper dopamine chaser like me, and everyone My audience nods at me because most people do that they go down, I wasn’t on the left and the right and on there so I can tick it off. So, yes, yes, two examples of famous people that we’ve all heard of. But an absolute double Yes. To stories and examples that we can relate to on our everyday lives.

Alastair McDermott 30:21
That’s great. And I really appreciate you let me kind of get that free coaching. And so, I do want to move on as well, because I don’t take it up just with my little lamb kind of interlude. I want to ask you about some more of the things about, about talking about speaking to audiences. First of all, like you, so you went and you put in the work, like, if we were talking, if we were talking about Malcolm Gladwell style we’d be talking about you did your 10,000 hours, giving all those talks in all those pubs to all those men about? Childbirth, that’s amazing. You know, and so you put in, you put in the time, you put in a huge amount of learning around the different kind of technical aspects. So you didn’t just do it over and over again, you were actually actively learning as you went along. And,

Lucy Bloom 31:13
you know, what has been a real gift is that I bought easily. So I could never, I can’t give the same speech twice. I’d rather stab myself in the eye, it’s too boring to just churn out the same shit over and over. And so that has been a bit of a gift because it means I have, I’ve kept wanting to change things. So adding that cock and bull story, that was me going, I just need a new story to tell today that makes me laugh makes the audience laugh illustrates a really good story. That story actually illustrates how you can’t, you can ask you can incentivize people. If you customize incent incentives for people, they will do anything for you. But you cannot challenge their values. Believe it or not, that’s the moral to the Cotton Bowl story. But I just wanted, I want new new stuff to tell all the time. And that’s what’s pushed me along to become funnier, try new content, stop using slideshows. You know, I, I’m, I’m in a constant state of studying the neuroscience behind behaviors. Because as a speaker, if you can back anything up with this is how the brain works. That’s why you you perform that way. That’s why you react that way. If you can back it up with a bit of neuroscience, people think you’re the biggest Brainiac, if you can add a bit of neuroscience in there. And so I’m in a constant state of learning. If I want to make a point, what’s the neuroscience behind this? Okay, it’s that and here’s a really great story. So yes, constantly learning, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s because I bought easily.

Alastair McDermott 32:47
Well, it’s clearly working for you. Okay, I’m, I want to I want to see now where we can link this back to building authority. Because a lot of people who are listening to this are thinking, okay, so how can I actually use this myself personally. So they’re an expert at what they do. And they’re thinking about all the different ways like the you know, they’re thinking about writing a book, starting a podcast, and all of the various things that you can do to become known as an authority in your field, and kind of build it build a personal brand. I know, you know a lot about this. So can you can you connect the dots for me between being known as an authority in your field and speaking, and in particular, the part that I’m wondering about is, a lot of people who are, who are well known as speakers seem to be inspirational speakers. And I don’t know where that links with authority. And so I’m not really sure where they Gotcha.

Lucy Bloom 33:41
Okay. I’m really glad you asked that question, because I failed to connect in one of the biggest pieces of authority in my career, which is publishing books. So I only have three books. And every time I’ve written a book, it has been there has been a massive low in my life, a big gap of time. Because anyone who says they are I went to Bali and I wrote a book in two weeks is lying, they wrote a booklet, not a book, they wrote 20,000 words and they get it into their phone and they wrote a hunk of junk. So books take a lot of a lot of work, minimum 70,000 words. My first book is about 120,000 words, and that is a childbirth guide for men. So that book turned me into an author in the same way that my son turned me into a mother. And there’s it’s funny how, as soon as you are a published author, you come with this instant authority people think once you’re an author, you are ye cleverer than before. And I never imagined how many doors that first book would open for me. I always say about books, books don’t make money they opened doors, they make opportunities. That book is such a nice title, it has also made money. And that’s just a nice bonus. But to be honest, it was the publication of that book that helped me gave me my leg up into my first CEO role. Because I was about to be the CEO of an entity that funded network of hospitals and a midwifery school in Ethiopia, I had a background in advertising, oh, but she’s a published author, a childbirth book. And that gave me that additional authority that helped me get that role. That book keeps selling because people keep breeding and men still need to know how to support their partner through childbirth. And it’s a fun book too, because it’s full of story. So after every before every chapter, is a storytime from a man’s perspective, and I interviewed some high profile Australian men on the air role in the birth of their babies, and one of them is Danny green world champion boxer punches people in the face for a living. And when I interviewed him about his childbirth experiences, he sat with me and cried. And when that happened, I remember thinking, I’m onto something here, no one’s asked men for their perspective on this, which meant men weren’t hearing the perspective of their of their bros. I knew I was on a winner then. So that book, honestly really did give me a big leg up in authority. I think the next authority leg up was that SEO title, I think everyone is actually a little overly impressed with that. There’s some CEOs that suck as humans, and don’t do a very good job and represent shitty companies. But CEO seems to come with this like, oh, sense of authority. Then, my my story, like I said, my, my career trajectory is not this perfect climb. I was fired from that first role spectacularly after two and a half years. And I literally walked out of the board meeting where I was fired. And I was crying into my steering wheel. When I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. And it was HarperCollins, offering me a book deal. And I said, Look, I’m not a CEO as of five minutes ago, I’m not sure you want me to write a book. And the publisher check at the other end goes, Oh, that sounds interesting. Yes, we do. And so I suddenly had a whole stack of time on my hands, and was able to write my next book, I should back up when I wrote my first book, The childbirth guide, it’s called cheers to childbirth. When I wrote that book, I lost a massive client in the advertising agency. And instead of running out to try and replace that client, I thought, here’s a nice gap. Here’s the chance, I’ve got to write this book, I’ve always wanted to. So there was that gap. The next gap in my career was because I was unemployed, I was fired. And that’s when I began writing my memoir, which is called get the girls out, which was published initially by HarperCollins. And then my next book, my memoir has really become my calling card. It’s like a fat business card, that thing. And my rule of thumb roughly, when I give a speech, 25% of my audience will stampede to buy that book, get the girls out. And then my next book was a novel is a novel that I published in March this year. And I wrote that in the next gap of my life, which was in 2021. In Australia, we were put into these ridiculous lock downs. And we had a 105 day lockdown in 2021, where we weren’t allowed to move more than five kilometers from our home address. And I live by right by the sea. And so half of my radius, my 5k, radius was in the ocean. So a very small area in which I was allowed to move around. And so I use the time to write my champion swimmer. And that’s moved me into a whole different area of authority, creative authority, I guess. And again, I wrote that book because it was fun. People asked me why I take each career step. It’s because it looks fun. And that’s why I do it’s not always fun, doesn’t always deliver. It’s interesting. That’s why I wrote that book. So honestly, books really do come with incredible authority. And they’re a great revenue stream to run alongside speaking, as for the order of books, whether they should come before you become a speaker. I don’t think it matters. You could write a book first, and then become a speaker or just start speaking and then backfill your life with a really great book. It doesn’t it doesn’t actually I don’t think it matters. I don’t think anyone can give you the best answer for that one, but books have been crucial to my career. As for your query on inspirational speakers, were asked stories might inspire. But you’ve still got to be an expert in something you can’t just tell a story on you can’t just tell a story arc there’s got to be some expert info in there. I mean you can you just won’t get as booked. It’s really important that there are still juicy take home learnings when you deliver. Even if it is considered an inspirational speech. I’m considered a motivational speaker. I say I’m a motivational speaker, that I speak from the sweet spot between motivational speaker and stand up comedian with a side order of business expert. That’s how I describe myself if someone asks me so yeah, you still have to have some some good take homes, juicy, take homes for learnings, not just an inspirational story.

Alastair McDermott 40:52
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. It’s really interesting. I think that I think it’s really interesting. Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?

Lucy Bloom 41:06
I just keep talking. Your internet connection? Damn you. As I say, in Australia, we have beautiful beaches and shit Wi Fi. My Wi Fi is strong as hell this morning. And what else can I tell you about building authority? The books have been crucial speaking has been absolutely crucial. I have a podcast but again, only because it’s fun. And it’s a storytelling podcast. And I don’t interview people, because I can’t be bothered scheduling, Changeling becomes a drag. And I’m not always in the mood for for interviews or, or telling stories. So I publish my podcast episodes, whenever the hell I feel like it. And it’s just me talking. And they’re quite short, I had a friend say to me, I want less than 15 minutes, because that’s the length of my school run. So my, my podcast episodes are 30 minutes or less, some of them are 18 minutes. And I just pick a theme, tell some stories. And that’s, that’s it, and I laugh my head off at my own stories. I actually find it quite contagious. Well, that’s when someone laughs really hard at themselves. And I do that on stage, too. I laugh really hard at my own jokes. I laugh when the audience laughs And I’ve noticed, I need to do that when I’m doing virtual presentations. So during COVID, especially that, that requirement for virtual went through the roof. And it’s hard because you can’t see or hear your audience. And you have to be just as engaging, just as funny. Even though you can’t hear anyone or see anyone, you’re just looking at a little green dot. And sometimes like today, you can just see yourself just like it fiddling with my hair after I love my hair. So virtual is, is really tough. But I learned that I still have to give pause, I still have to let my audience have some time to catch up and laugh. And so I laugh where I’m expecting them to laugh. And I just check in and giggle. I just didn’t. And then that gives them time to catch up and giggle and maybe type in the chat that day that was funny. So virtual is another another sort of platform or way of speaking to practice and get good at I’m glad I was as experienced as I was when COVID hit and suddenly I was all online all by myself in my little apartment I have when I when I do those, I do them in my lounge room and I’ve got this massive tropical fish tank. And I gave this one speech to it was some massive healthcare healthcare provider. Help. No, it was a pharmaceutical massive pharmaceuticals company all time. Behind me was my tropical fish tank and there was a dead fish floating around behind me like it will get caught in the current and float across. So I didn’t know until after the whole thing was delivered. So you you also roll with that. That also leads me to a tip that I give one of the speakers which is to keep your your style casual. Because if you stay casual, cock ups can be fixed. Easy, like right now. Where? Yes, yeah, I’m checking the chat. And if you keep your style casual, you can correct yourself and it’s really forgivable. So on that speech I did on Monday, there was a little story that I needed to tell for the my for my story arc to work. And I realized that I that I hadn’t told that story. Eat. And I just launched into my final story of the of the whole speech when I realized and I said Hang on, I forgotten something important. I’m just going to back up here but because I have such a casual fun style, I can You can correct yourself easily. Now Alastair is asking me in the chat because Irish Wi Fi associate the number one tip I’d give to someone who wants to build their authority. This this, there’s parts to this answer. I think the number one tip is to accept that you are an authority. So many people struggle with impostor syndrome, I’ve been asked about impostor syndrome a bazillion times, never had it. I don’t know what it feels like, I have always assumed I have the right to be there like anyone. And people, even speakers who’ve been on the stage for say a decade longer than me, honestly, they’re just a few steps ahead of me. You can figure anything out on the internet, you can get better at anything by practicing. So for a start, forgive yourself, you have the right to be there, you are already an authority. Second, really look at the format for authority that floats your boat and speaking might not be it, you might rather stab yourself in the eye and getting on stage and speaking, you might really love publishing books instead. But if speaking something you think you’d enjoy, I love it. Now I’m at a point where giving a great speech, honestly, I’m on cloud nine, I have had a crack cocaine level of dopamine injection by the time I walk off that stage, and I’m on cloud nine for the rest of the day, actually have a bit of a hangover. The next day, I’m a non drinker. But after absolute huge speech, the next day, I feel a bit because I’ve been so high the day before. So if you know that’s the format for you, you are just a lot of speeches away. A lot of practice speeches away from that buzz. I always tell one of the speakers to do a stack of free speaking. We have rotary groups, you have them all over Ireland as well. tee up rotary groups or wherever you listen to this podcast, there are rotary groups all over the world, Tee them up. And tap speeches, free speeches, one a week for a year, give 50 speeches for free to rotary groups or surreptitious groups or Probus. around you. And if you’ve given that speech every week for a year, you will have absolutely nailed it, and you’ll be ready to charge as an authority. What else? What else we’re gonna have to edit the big jazz out of this? Oh, you’re not going to edit it? Oops, keep up the monologue we see. Actually, that’s one tip if you do, or what’s it called? Virtual. I never read the chat. Because you know, the old you can’t, you cannot do two things at once. And if a speaker is trying to read, at the same time as presenting, they don’t, they have to stop and read and you end up just looking at their nose while they read the chat. So just switch off the chat. I always tell whoever’s briefed me, you won’t be able to communicate with me, I’m off and running. So to build that authority, choose your platform. If it’s speaking, practice, practice, practice. If I were to recommend one book to you, I’m actually only halfway through it. And I still I think it’s such a good book. And it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, his brand new book. I think it’s called be useful, something like that. If you just search for Annie, and I recommend you listen to it because he reads it and he’s gorgeous accent especially when he calls people assholes. It’s really good book and he talks about, he talked when I say practice, practice, he says reps, reps, reps. He talks about how every time he practice the speeches he gave in his run for governor, he would write in the top hand corner, how many times he had practiced that speech. That’s dedication. That’s that’s doing it right. That also reminds me to tell you never to read a speech. Never read a speech. Your voice moves very differently when you read something to when you just say it. If you took everything I said in this interview, and it was transcribed, it would not be in properly written sentences because we speak so differently. It would be in much in very different structure. And we read with our brains we don’t speak in the same way when our lungs need to work to never ever read a speech. And lastly, I know that the last question you want to ask me Alastair is do I read fiction? I used to read a lot of fiction but like I said, I bought easily and I found find it really hard to find fiction that is Pacey. And funny enough for me. So that’s why I wrote my book, which is called the manuscript, a story of revenge. I wrote that book in the style of novel I wish I could find which is funny, sexy, and, and very fast paced. And I read it myself to the audible version. So that book is about a woman who’s writing a book. And as people in her personal life treat her badly, she writes them into the plot, and kills them off. So it was a lot of fun to write. And the plot has like a second line of plot, where in reality, while she’s writing her novel, karma is dealing with those people more brutally than she could ever imagine. So as the author, I got to kill those characters twice. So that was really, really fun. So to learn more about me pitch myself, go to the Lucy

Lucy Bloom 51:01
That’s my website coaching. That’s my computer reminding me of my next appointment, which is with Aiden, the Canadian. Lucy V. Lucy Would you believe that? I have the Lucy bloom because I wanted the Gmail address the loose, I wanted the Gmail address, Lucy But some chicken Ireland had Lucy And my mum emails her often, and she is kind enough to forward those emails to me. So I have the Lucy And all my social handles are the Lucy bloom. So Instagram is at vie Lucy You can also find me on LinkedIn, I’m really easy to find mainly because of this hair of mine, which is actually part of my branding strategy. I do it because it’s fun. But it’s also it’s stuck. And now clients expect it and honestly I walk into a big gorgeous conference and I’m about to speak out and they’ve themed the whole room pink the lights go pink. So it’s become this brand I have stuck with. So come and find me online, especially on Instagram. Trying to build that one. I’ve had a bow. I have really enjoyed this last bit because I love a good monologue. I love not being interrupted. I think that’s why I’m a keynote speaker. So thanks for having me. Alastair. You’ve got some editing to do there

Lucy Bloom 52:35
no edits. Sure, can I close? Well, this has been one hell of a podcast with Alastair McDermott and Lucy bloom. Lucy Bloom has told us so many things that we can learn on becoming a recognized authority. Go look her up, she’s pretty fantastic. What a great guest and that will be one of my children texting me so don’t forget to rate and review this podcast and then turn it over and finally sees podcast. It’s called the Lucy Blum show. Thanks for listening.

Alastair McDermott 53:20
That is just fantastic. I really hope you can hear me now. But that is amazing. Thank you so much Lucy. You are brilliant.


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