Welcome to the Telling of Story Podcast. I’m your host, Storyteller Jewels, and along with my guests, it’s my endeavor to explore the art and science of storytelling, to attract, engage, and retain a business audience, and to unpack why it works for some, and not for the many that try. Heads up, fabulous human.

[00:00:23] Jewels: Unfortunately, this particular episode, the audio recording on the guest side, Ivan, isn’t that great. But, please, stick with it, because Ivan shares a whole bunch of really cool information, and he’s a wealth of knowledge, and it’s worth just hanging in there, and just really maybe turn the volume up. Give it a listen.

[00:00:44] Jewels: Apologies, it sounded okay on the day, but for some reason the recording is not fabulous. But listen in as Ivan talks about the importance of preparation.

[00:00:58] Ivan: Time and time again people go like, Oh my god, [00:01:00] you are so, you just get on stage and it looks like effortless. And I’m like, yeah, thank you. It took me two months to make it look effortless, right? When I prepare a presentation, I mean, if it was a conference or a big event, it would take me a month or two of working on the presentation, right?

[00:01:15] Ivan: From the perspective of the narrative, from the perspective of the story, from the perspective of the visuals also. But also from the perspective, okay, what, okay, you start with it in mind. Okay, what are the things that I want them to remember? What is the value that I want to provide? Then based on that, you start to kind of like the Lego blocks, you start to move things around to see what is the best flow for that particular story.

[00:01:39] Jewels: In this episode, I have the pleasure of talking with Ivan Hernandez. Ivan is a former trapeze artist turned emerging tech strategist and international keynote speaker. Experience and digital strategist with several years of international experience in strategic consulting, hospitality, advertising, marketing, and media sectors.

[00:01:59] Jewels: Ivan [00:02:00] is an internationally recognized keynote speaker. Some of the events he has presented include Web at Congress in Turkey, DigitalK Bulgaria, Dublin Tech Summit Ireland, and CFO European Summit in Poland. He’s also a lecturer at Kosminski University, the number one business school in Central and Eastern Europe.

[00:02:20] Jewels: Currently, he lectures at the Executive MBA and Digital Transformation Executive Program. Recognized as one of the top 25 global emerging technologies influencers in Twitter by Analytica in their global report, A Global Study into Consultancy Employees, Online Presence and Influence. How influential are employees on social media in driving commercial impact.

[00:02:45] Jewels: Ivan, welcome to the show. Thank you very much for having me. Ivan, I have to ask, how does one become a flying trapeze artist? And why? 

[00:02:56] Ivan: It’s about taking chances. And it’s about, you know, [00:03:00] when opportunities arise, you need to take them. Many years ago I used to work in the hospitality industry. I used to work in a French hotel chain called Club Med.

[00:03:08] Ivan: The great thing about Club Med is that when you work there you have access to all the facilities. Back then I used to be in the water sports team. I used to teach water, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, all these different sports. And one of the sports that was available in these hotels and still available is the circus school, flying trapeze.

[00:03:26] Ivan: One day, going back from work, I passed by Trapeze, and the guy responsible for the Circus School asked me if I would like to try. I was like, nah, it’s okay, I don’t need to do this, it’s fine. But he asked me, hey man, you need to take advantage of the fact that there is nobody around, there is not many people.

[00:03:41] Ivan: Let’s do it, normally here it’s bad. So I tried it. I fell in love with it and afterwards the guy said, I don’t know why I have the feeling that you’ll be good at it. So if you like to learn, I would like to teach you. My only request is that you treat this seriously, that you come every day after work. And if you do this, I’ll teach you everything.

[00:03:59] Ivan: That’s what happened. I [00:04:00] will finish working and run to the trapeze and he taught me everything how to pull safety lines, how to secure people, how to work the boards, how to catch, how to do everything. And six months later, when I was supposed to go somewhere else to be you know, responsible for some water sports, I was like, nah, I’m going to do the trapeze.

[00:04:16] Ivan: And yeah, I became a flying trapeze artist. I did that for about four, four years, four, five years. I worked all over the world thanks to that. And the great thing about it is also talking about storytelling, it’s being responsible for this circus, circus school, or this circus, because it was not only flying trapeze, we had different circus arts.

[00:04:33] Ivan: I was responsible for Setting up two shows a week. One, it was a flying turkey show, and the other one was a circus show in the theater. And, as a result, something that I learned right away was the fact that a lot of people will just simply put some nice music in the background and do some acrobatics, and that was the show, right?

[00:04:51] Ivan: And early on, I understand that if I had a story, if there is a beginning, middle, and end, and I take the audience through this journey, [00:05:00] Not just music position, music position, but actually creating a story. The show will be more memorable. The show will be more fun for us as well. And that was the beginning of my, of my storytelling career as a storyteller.

[00:05:12] Jewels: So how does one go from that position? A few years ago, I imagine. How do you go from there to where you are today? Take me along that sort of journey. Where did you go from there? Well, 

[00:05:23] Ivan: it’s a, it’s a, it’s a very long 

[00:05:24] Jewels: story we have time to make it’s possible 

[00:05:28] Ivan: back on the time when I was applying for this, for this artist, I met this beautiful Polish girl.

[00:05:33] Ivan: She was a water skin structure and I offered her to teach her how to fly in the trapeze. She offered to teach me how to water ski. Of course. And I guess the lesson and they were very good lessons because afterwards we ended up getting married. I moved to Poland, which is where I’m based right now.

[00:05:48] Ivan: And, and it’s been 23 years that I’ve been, I’ve been in Poland. That’s how I ended up moving over here. At some point we were working together. We work in different areas, in different places. And one day she mentioned, [00:06:00] I have to go back to Poland. I have to go back to finish my studies. What’s going to be.

[00:06:05] Ivan: So I said, okay. So I quit. I packed everything on a suitcase and I moved to Poland. And when I arrived here, I didn’t speak a word of Polish. Right away, I focused on learning Polish because I realized I would be competing against Polish people if I would like to, you know, build a career here. And the fact that I can do a double back somersault is not going to open many doors for me, for jobs any job in the city, right?

[00:06:28] Ivan: Yeah, I’m basically, I mean, I’m very curious. I’m a person that I’m always looking at different topics and different, different elements. And that’s how I also, I have been living my career. I thought that the easiest thing would have been to just work in hospitality, right? I worked in hospitality in Dubai, so I could get a job at a hotel here in Warsaw.

[00:06:45] Ivan: But I realized, okay, after working in some of the most beautiful places in the world, I could not see myself in the reception of a hotel in Warsaw, right? So, I went back to school, I did my MBA, and little by little I started to build my career. First, looking at what is it that I’m [00:07:00] really passionate about, what is it that I really want to do.

[00:07:02] Ivan: And then little by little start to build my position in a way that, you know, this drove me towards technology and marketing, which ended up leading me to become an expert in digital marketing 15 years ago when it was just starting. And actually storytelling was a big part of it because for me, when I was running my own consulting practice, one of my biggest business development influence was.

[00:07:23] Ivan: Speaking at conferences, the amount of clients that I would presentation after a speech, that was probably the main driver of most of my clients. So I learned to become good at it. Adding the fact that I was very passionate about it, that I really enjoy being on stage. This gave me the opportunity to develop myself as a speaker as well, using a lot of stories and making it possible for The audience for potential clients, not only just to see a cool presentation, but actually to see themselves in those stories.

[00:07:52] Jewels: You just mentioned there that you really enjoyed being on stage. It’s kind of an unusual comment because most people I [00:08:00] speak to actually. Scared of getting up on stage is one of life’s great mysteries that public speaking seems to be more fearful than death. Apparently, what makes it so enjoyable for you?

[00:08:12] Jewels: And how do you, you know, was it always an enjoyable thing or did you learn to love it through the experience of doing it more often? 

[00:08:19] Ivan: Actually, again, my time back in the hotel, in hotel industry, that’s what started everything because in this hotel where I work, there were a lot of people from different countries.

[00:08:29] Ivan: Every single, in the evening, when there was the show, there will always be the introduction in, for example, in Mexico, it will be in English, French, and Spanish. And one day, somebody asked me if I would, if the guy that’s supposed to do it was not available, and they asked me if I wanted to do it in Spanish.

[00:08:45] Ivan: I said, sure, no problem. I’ve never done it before. I get on stage with the microphone. And it went very well. I felt very confident. Then there was a situation that in another place, so I started doing it and I became okay doing it within Spanish, right? Then they asked me if I cannot do it in [00:09:00] English as well.

[00:09:01] Ivan: Sure, English and Spanish, no problem. So I did it as well. The best thing was one day the person doing it in French was not available and they asked me if I could do it in French, English and Spanish. And I learned French working in this place. I never took a single French lesson. So I was like, okay, and I did it and it worked out very well.

[00:09:18] Ivan: So kind of like I got confident and I got. Like, I really enjoy doing it and then when I move into into speaking, I mean, one of the things that I realize is it’s, it’s everything comes down to the, to what is your intention, right? If you are really focused on providing value, if you’re really focused on sharing valuable insights and interesting stories.

[00:09:39] Ivan: And, and, and, you know, value at the end of the day, right? If you are just on stage selling, you know, your company or selling your product, it’s just a pitch, right? The moment that you get on stage and you get the opportunity to touch the imagination of the audience. It’s a fantastic feeling. I’ll never forget.

[00:09:56] Ivan: I was once a speaker in Bulgaria conference called [00:10:00] Digital Talk. It was 2, 000 people and I remember getting on stage. I mean, in most conferences, there is, you know, there’s some people going in, going out. There’s always a little bit of noise. It’s normal, right? Here I get on stage, I start my presentation and it’s great.

[00:10:15] Ivan: Total silence, like you could hear a pin drop and I see the audience and everybody’s just 100 percent focused on you paying attention. Some people taking notes and that feeling of, Oh, wow. Okay. So I’ll do the best show I can. So you get as much value from, from what I’m doing here. And that’s what was a big driver for me, right?

[00:10:34] Ivan: The opportunity to share stories. I really enjoyed being on stage and the opportunity to really see what people. Guess what you’re telling them. That’s fucking nice amigo. Ah, okay. I get it 

[00:10:46] Jewels: now. Telling interesting stories. I think they’re all very key to being a good presenter and actually holding an audience’s attention.[00:11:00]

[00:11:00] Jewels: What other tricks, tips, techniques do you use to keep somebody’s attention? Because you know, you tend to get on stage and irrelevant of how much time you may have on stage, you’ve got to hold their attention. Whether that’s 5 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour and a half, it doesn’t really matter. You have to be able to Take them along the journey and keep that attention for as long as possible.

[00:11:21] Jewels: Hopefully throughout your entire presentation, what are some tips, techniques that maybe you use or can share with the audience? Sure. 

[00:11:30] Ivan: I mean, there are, there are the classic that I think are very, are very useful and are classic for a reason, right? For example, the rule of three, if I come on station and say, okay guys, here are 35 things that you need to remember about a topic, you know, people are not going to remember them, right?

[00:11:45] Ivan: If I come and tell you, these are the three most important things you need to focus on. Right. 1, 2, 3 memorable, easy to remember. And often I will, I will use that from the perspective of building the presentation, right? What are the 3 things that I want the people to remember? [00:12:00]What are the 3 parts of the story that I can use?

[00:12:05] Ivan: To make my point, right? And often at the end, you know, I would say as a summary, these are the three most important things you need to remember. If you can take three things from this presentation, you will understand one, two, three. It’s, it’s, it’s memorable. It’s easy to, to remember that. Another thing will be your stories.

[00:12:20] Ivan: Like stories are memorable. Stories are we can relate to stories. Time and time again, I see a lot of speakers getting on stage and just, Giving numbers and statistics and figures and what people don’t understand is if I get on stage and I give you a slide full of numbers. Nobody’s going to remember those numbers, right?

[00:12:41] Ivan: But if I tell you a story, a personal story, that makes the point that I’m trying to make regarding the presentation. You’re going to remember that story, right? And then you might remember that, yes, X percentage of that, whatever. So if we use stories, in my opinion, personal stories are best, right? Again, it’s about connecting [00:13:00] with the audience.

[00:13:00] Ivan: The audience, the audience can put themselves in the shoes when you’re telling a story because they have been there and if you’re able to drive your presentation in a way that people not only were watching an interesting presentation, but they are actually connected with it because they have been there or they understand what it means to be there.

[00:13:19] Ivan: Right? I mean, they have not been there because it’s a, it’s a, it’s a very you know, like, for example, when I talk about me being a flying trapeze artist. Telling it in the way of a story, people want to know what happens. You start with telling the story, people want to know what is the conclusion of the story.

[00:13:33] Ivan: What is the, how did the story end? That’s another tip that I could give. And probably one thing that is a big part of my presentation, I think is important, is humor. I think a lot of presentations are very monotonous. A lot of presentations are just about giving the facts and giving the facts and figures.

[00:13:50] Ivan: If you are able to bring humor, to bring, you know, a sense of I don’t think telling jokes, because it’s not about scaling the stakes on certain jokes. I would make this [00:14:00]comparison between jokes versus funny stories. A funny story is going to be sometimes more effective than a joke. Because some people might not understand the joke, or some people don’t have the same sense of humor.

[00:14:11] Ivan: But a funny story, people can relate to that, I guess, right? And, so probably, using the rule of three. I would say, you know, the three, the three things I would recommend is, is one, focus on providing value, two, focus on telling stories, and even better if the stories are a little bit funny. So there is this element that, you know, as you’re telling your, as you’re giving your presentation, there is this moment where people laugh, people are having a good time.

[00:14:36] Ivan: They are not just giving a lecture. I think that’s, that’s also something very important. Not, what I would say to my students when I’m teaching at a university. I’m not here to show you how smart I am. I’m not here to show off. I’m not here to tell you how intelligent and smart I am. I’m here to share with you interesting insights, interesting stories, interesting point of views.

[00:14:56] Ivan: If you, you can take whatever you want from that. But I’m not here [00:15:00] to teach you anything, I’m here just to share with you something that probably will give you the opportunity to open your mind, and then based on your interest you will go deeper into different areas of difficulty, but that’s my approach.

[00:15:12] Jewels: I think they’re all fabulous points, thank you for sharing those, and I don’t think you and I could have scripted that any better. If we had ever tried because I think they’re exactly the types of things that I would suggest when telling a story, particularly, you know, obviously integrating personal stories and to connect with your audience.

[00:15:29] Jewels: That’s that’s an absolute must in my eyes. Is there a difference? In your presentation style or the way you would speak when you’re talking to a, you know, perhaps a large corporate audience where there might be a couple of thousand people in the audience versus, you know, a more intimate setting with your students.

[00:15:47] Jewels: Is there a difference in some of those techniques? No, 

[00:15:50] Ivan: I will say no. I mean, because in a way, again, I also see this as having a conversation with the audience, right? And you’re reading from the audience. Of course, when there is this, this very corporate [00:16:00] approach, there are the expectations, the perfect slide, and this and that.

[00:16:04] Ivan: I don’t make a difference, right? Very often, some of the materials that I have prepared for lectures at the university, You know, they are really good and actually I can see them being valuable at a conference. So I just use the same, the same materials. I mean, one of the things that I do, talking about presentation style, for me, slides are just a visual support.

[00:16:25] Ivan: Another thing that I see very common, especially in the corporate world, are slides full of text. You know, speaker gets on stage, the slides come up, and it’s just text, text, text, text, text, or lots of animations and points and, and, and 55 things on a slide. And what I always tell people is never do that because, A, when you start speaking, people are not listening to you, they are reading.

[00:16:48] Ivan: You know, whatever is available on the screen, right? I see a lot of speakers reading slides, which is horrible and it’s terrible, right? Because, you know, what’s the point of you being on stage? I can read it myself. You don’t need to read it. 

[00:16:59] Jewels: [00:17:00] Send me the PowerPoint beforehand. Yeah, what I 

[00:17:02] Ivan: do is I have a picture.

[00:17:04] Ivan: I have a visual representation. I have a visual support to my story or to the point that I’m making, or I might have a quote, I have a quote, I make a statement, and then based on that, I make a point or I tell a story, or I bring it together in a way that actually makes sense regarding the topic of the presentation, right?

[00:17:22] Ivan: So maybe that’s some advice that I could give, right? Don’t use light, As a support for you to read the points that you want to make, but use slides as a visual support for the people to link to whatever it is that you’re talking about, right? If you’re talking about failure, you know, have a you know, a funny picture that represents failure, right?

[00:17:43] Ivan: If you’re talking about any topic that you’re talking about, you can find something relevant, better if it’s a little bit funny. I, very often in my presentations, I, you know, there is a part of my presentation where I talk about change. And I talk how, you know, change, especially when we’re talking about large [00:18:00] transformation projects in organizations is very difficult.

[00:18:03] Ivan: And one of the things that I say, change is really hard. People don’t like change. You know who are the only people that like change? Babies with wet diapers. And at that moment, they put a picture of a baby crying in a diaper. And everybody laughs and everybody can relate. It’s a little moment of. Again, humor, but it’s also memorable.

[00:18:24] Ivan: The amount of people that tell me, like, ah, baby diapers, yeah, it’s true and it’s funny. Yeah, it’s true. It’s, it’s again, it’s about connecting, it’s about having fun as well. So, so I think that, that will be my 

[00:18:36] Jewels: advice as well. I think I, I see that a lot too, where people get up and there’s a thousand words and a thousand slides, and it’s very boring typically, and as you say, they They pretty much use it there to support them, because they don’t want to forget anything, and so they literally write down everything they can on the screen itself, which is very, very poor, but still very, very common.

[00:18:58] Jewels: In your instance though, [00:19:00] in the opposite world where you’re just providing a, you know, a single image perhaps and just something as a starting point. How important is it then to be well rehearsed and well practiced in your presentation giving in order to not actually forget anything and leave anything behind?

[00:19:17] Ivan: It is extremely important. Time and time again people go like, Oh my God, you are so, you just get on stage and it looks like effortless. And I’m like, yeah, thank you. It took me two months to make it to look effortless. Right. When I prepare a presentation, I mean, if it was a conference or a big, big event, it will take me a month or two of working on the presentation, right.

[00:19:39] Ivan: From the perspective of the narrative, from the perspective of the story, from the perspective of the visuals also. But also from the perspective, okay, what, okay, you start with it in mind. Okay, what are the things that I want them to remember? What are the things that I want, what is the value that I want to provide?

[00:19:55] Ivan: Then based on that, you start to, to, to kind of like Lego blocks, you start to move things [00:20:00] around to see what is the best flow for that particular story. And it might be, again, this is again, something that you, you gain with experience, right? You might have a specific order in your presentation and you give it and it works, and then you might shift things around and then it’s better.

[00:20:16] Ivan: And then you go, Oh, I need them. You know, I always have this little funny story in the middle, and then I want to get moving, and then we get started with that, and the audience reacts to that. Okay, so you move it. As you are rehearsing, as you are practicing, as you are also doing it, you know, in other settings, you are learning to see what works.

[00:20:37] Ivan: And as a result, you are able to create the most, the optimal version for that particular thing. And yes, rehearsal is extremely important. I will very often. You know, rehearse, you know, for a week, for, for, for, for hours, right? From the perspective of time, you know, very often, let’s say you have 18 minutes.

[00:20:56] Ivan: How many times people go over the time? You know, it’s all the time, right? So you need [00:21:00] to know, you need to know, you know, you have a time where you need to know the pace, how fast you’re going, how slow you’re going, when you need to speed up, when you need to do things. So maybe you’re able to end on the 18 minutes.

[00:21:12] Ivan: Again, the amount of times that I will give my presentation and the host will link. Oh my God, real time, the first speaker that finished on time, so much. It’s insane, right? So yes, rehearsal is 

[00:21:22] Jewels: extremely important. Is there a framework or a delivery process that you work on? Like as to when you’re sitting down for the first time and about to put a presentation together, is there a specific flow or a framework that you might use to, to cobble that together?

[00:21:38] Jewels: Or is it really just, here’s all the information I need to impart and then. Here, you know, I’m just going to lay it out until I’m comfortable with the process. 

[00:21:48] Ivan: I think it depends because, for example, we’re talking about university lectures. You have let’s say when I have, I have eight hours. For example, I have a course that I have eight hours or 16 hours.

[00:21:58] Ivan: So it’s kind of [00:22:00] difficult to, to build all those 16 hours with the same framework of, you know, rule of three, what are the three things that they want to remember, you know, it’s, it changes, right? If we’re talking about a 20 minute presentation, probably, yes, that will be the best, a good advice that I will provide, I don’t know if the best, but a good advice I will provide is, well, first of all, start with it in mind.

[00:22:20] Ivan: Okay, what are, what is the key message that you want to provide? What are the key important things that you think are important for the audience to know? Then you go backwards, then you reverse engineer your presentation to find out, okay, what is the most effective way to bring these valuable insights to your audience?

[00:22:37] Ivan: It might be, you know, the rule of three is a good is a good place to start, because, again, we are mentally wired to, to remember these three things, right? So, so probably that would be a good advice. And, and, and then probably that’s like a simple framework that I will use, right? What is it, the thing that I want to do?

[00:22:54] Ivan: Okay, break down the, what are the three things that I want them to remember? And then how I can put [00:23:00] different stories in a line to make sure that I provide that I make, you know, these points. And then, then you start to work on the flow, you know, what are the, when it works best, what, if I start with these, then I need to start bidding for this, or should I put, bring this here?

[00:23:18] Ivan: And then you start, you know, moving things around. And one thing that I will always recommend is at the beginning, time and time again, I see a lot of speakers make the, I think it’s a mistake. It’s my personal opinion. Introducing themselves, right? You get on stage and you go like, hi, everybody. Thank you very much.

[00:23:32] Ivan: I’m very glad to be here. This is a it’s my 1st time in this country. And my name is. I come all the way from this. I mean, I’m very happy to be here. Thank you so much. Everybody for. You just wasted a minute and also, you know, for the audience, it’s just like, it’s time wasted, right? So one of the things that I always say is, you know, this is a show.

[00:23:52] Ivan: Imagine, imagine, you know, the Rolling Stones concert and Mick Jagger comes out and, Hi everybody, my name is Mick Jagger. I’m [00:24:00] very happy to be here. This is the first step. No, that don’t happen. What happens? Big explosion, he gets on stage, guitar riff, and let’s go, right? That’s how I start my presentations.

[00:24:10] Ivan: Not, not, not with a guitar riff and dancing on stage, but, you know, I get on stage and I have a big statement. I don’t go, hi everybody, whatever. I just go, in some presentations I like to start with a quote by Seth Godin that says that the safest thing you can do is take risks, the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe.

[00:24:27] Ivan: So I would just get on stage and I just say that phrase. I just mention that quote with a picture of somebody in the back, and I just, you know, stay quiet for two seconds, let it, let people read it, understand it, think about it, and then I make, I start my point. Why, why do I think that, why do I agree with this statement?

[00:24:45] Ivan: So, yeah, probably that, that’s, that’s a good way to think about, you know, what are the things that you want people to remember, what are the key valuable In fact, that you want to share and then how you can start with a bank. So you catch [00:25:00] people’s attention, right? You know, our, our attention span is very low today.

[00:25:04] Ivan: You know, if after 30 seconds, you didn’t catch me, I’m gone. I’m going to be on my phone watching videos of cats on Instagram, right? If you cut, if you cut, if I caught your attention and I get you in and I get you with an interesting story, you’re going to want to know what happens. So you’re going to pay attention for the rest 

[00:25:19] Jewels: of my presentation.

[00:25:21] Jewels: So Ivan, impressively, you’ve mentioned English, Spanish, French, Polish. Are there any other languages that you speak? Italian as well. Italian as well. Fabulous. I’m working 

[00:25:33] Ivan: on perfecting my Italian now, but yes. Excellent, bravo. I always like languages and I had the opportunity also then working in the hospitality industry.

[00:25:40] Ivan: You know, you’re in the situation that you have guests from all over the world. And you have co workers from all over the world. So when I saw, I saw it as an opportunity, right? So I started to, to talk and, you know, as you can see, I have no problem talking with people. So I had a very good opportunity to connect with a lot of people from different countries.

[00:25:59] Ivan: And that little [00:26:00] by little allowed me to learn different languages. 

[00:26:02] Jewels: So my question around that is, is storytelling different in different languages or culturally? Like, is there a way to tell stories in different cultures? Or is storytelling pretty universal all around the world? 

[00:26:17] Ivan: I think it’s pretty universal.

[00:26:19] Ivan: However, the way you deliver the story changes with the language. Me as a speaker, I always say that I have done presentations in Spanish. I have done presentations in Polish, because I speak Polish fluently. But mostly when I give presentations, when I give lectures. I ask if it’s possible to do it in English, because I say in English the show is better.

[00:26:38] Ivan: Why? Because very often in this element of translation, some of the little details get lost in translation, right? Especially the humor. I have, if I have in my head a funny, a funny comment, a funny story, and I say it in English, it’s going to be a completely different experience than if I translate it into Polish.[00:27:00]

[00:27:00] Ivan: And in Polish, it might be the same, it might be well translated, it might be well described. But it’s not as, it might not be as funny. So that’s one of the things that I have noticed, right? That I tell my funny story in English and the whole audience laughs. And then they have another presentation and I tell the story in Polish and there’s crickets, right?

[00:27:18] Ivan: And you’re like, Oh, nothing worse. So, yeah, I think it changes from the perspective of delivery. Yeah. 

[00:27:24] Jewels: What about culturally? Is there any differences in culture, things that you would steer clear of or, or again, is it fairly universal? 

[00:27:32] Ivan: Of course, you always need to be sensitive about the cultural element, right?

[00:27:36] Ivan: It’s very important to know, it’s very important to know your audience. You cannot just go and give the same speech everywhere. I always believe that, you know, if you are going to give a presentation in a specific country. The best thing you can do, for example, learn a little bit about the country, learn about, learn some local stories or local references.

[00:27:56] Ivan: For example, if I’m telling a story and I’m telling you, [00:28:00] I’m talking about a TV show, for example, a TV show, which is very famous in the U. S. But nobody knows it in the country where I’m speaking, nobody’s going to get the reference, right? But one thing I’m going to do is, you know, when I arrive to the place, I might ask some of the people like, What is the favorite, you know, great, you know, TV show or what are the things that are funny here?

[00:28:21] Ivan: Or how do you say this? How do you say that? You know, try to understand a little bit about the specificity of that specific location. And if you can bring a story connecting it to the, to the place, then, you know, all of a sudden the audience is going to be also very, very, very you know, more interested in whatever it is that you’re talking about.

[00:28:40] Ivan: So, so contrary, I think you need to be sensitive. I think also what’s important, as I mentioned, I mean, I think it’s good to have personal stories and also, especially when we’re talking about business you know, the, the, often the stories are connected to the experience of other clients. So, sometimes the stories that I will [00:29:00] say are the, the challenges that my client have, and if you bring it, you know, if I meet with you on a meeting and I go right away into trying to pitch you and sell you my services.

[00:29:10] Ivan: I might turn you off, but if I go and say, once I was in a meeting with a client and the client mentioned that his biggest concern was this, this, this, and this and we’re talking about this and his plan manager mentioned that one of the problems that they always have is this, this, this and that. So we sit down and we look at the problem and we thought about, okay, what are the most effective ways that we could, you are telling the story of how you went through this journey with a client.

[00:29:34] Ivan: And all of a sudden it’s not a self speech, but you are actually telling them a story of how you solve a problem. And, you know, if you tell it in a way of a story, they can see themselves going through that journey and they understand it because they might have the same challenges, right? They might have the same questions and it’s going to be more effective and more relatable as well.

[00:29:54] Ivan: If you show them that you know what they’re going through because you’ve been there with somebody else in solving a [00:30:00] different, a different problem. So I think that from that perspective, business stories or the stories that you’re talking in a business setting. Culturally speaking, they’re also kind of like interchangeable because the challenges are the same whether you are a businessman in China, in Mexico, in Chile, or in Poland, right?

[00:30:19] Ivan: That’s what I think is universal. 

[00:30:22] Jewels: Ivan, something you mentioned earlier in the discussion, and I was very heartened by, was the fact that Getting up on stage has allowed you to pick up many clients. Tell me a little bit about that and, and what’s the process there. And was it something that you did on, on purpose or kind of an accidental side effect of being on stage?

[00:30:42] Ivan: At the beginning, I guess it was an accidental side effect because, well, first of all, I use public speaking to build my position in the market. Like I realized, you know, being a foreigner, a Mexican, some region from Mexico, being a Mexican in Poland, right away, unmemorable, you know, nobody’s going to [00:31:00] hire me because I’m Mexican in Poland, right?

[00:31:02] Ivan: They’re not hiring me because of the expertise, the knowledge that I can provide, the value that I can bring to the table. And one of the things that I, one of the channels that I decided could be a good Way for me to, to share these insights will be public speaking. So when I will leave, I will go to a presentation at the beginning, which is about you know, giving the best presentation I could sharing the most interesting insights that I could share.

[00:31:27] Ivan: And what happens is I finish a presentation and, you know, people come and, you know, they say, great presentation, thank you very much, whatever, and all of a sudden a guy comes and like, Oh, what you’re talking about, this is exactly what we need to do in our company. Would you like to go for a cup of coffee?

[00:31:40] Ivan: I’m like, sure, let’s go. We went for a cup of coffee and after 25 minutes, I sold a consulting project for, you know, six months in this, in this particular organization. And that was the first time I was like, Oh, wow. So then I realized, okay, it’s not just about sharing insights and building your position in the market, but if you’re actually [00:32:00] really, again, making your relatable, especially for the specific audience that you are talking or presenting to.

[00:32:09] Ivan: That’s when it opens the opportunities. And yeah, that’s what happens very often. I will get on stage and I will talk about, you know, I will share a lot of cases, I will share a lot of stories, and I will share a lot of challenges that different companies went through or stories of how we solve a specific problem or the things that we need.

[00:32:25] Ivan: And as a result, again, people will come and say, that was fantastic, let’s have a cup of coffee. And that’s what happened with me. You know, very often it was a situation of giving a presentation, going for a cup of coffee, and selling some consulting programs and projects, right? 

[00:32:38] Jewels: Once you understood that, that’s fabulous by the way, once you understood that, did you go out of your way then to ensure that you were constantly doing something in that regard, so you’re building your brand?

[00:32:49] Jewels: building the awareness, getting on stage as much as you can, or again, was it kind of accidental whenever it was there, you did it, or did you actually say, no, I need to go speak 10 times a year kind of thing. [00:33:00] For 

[00:33:00] Ivan: me, it was very strategic since the beginning, something that I realized, especially that I realized that I really enjoy doing it and I’m good at it.

[00:33:07] Ivan: So. Let’s look at what are the, all the specific conferences that are happening in the next year, right? And I will look and I will look at where are the specific conference and events where my audience, where my targets are, are attending. And then, you know, I will, at the beginning, I will reach out to them and ask if it’s, or propose myself as a speaker or something.

[00:33:26] Ivan: Afterwards, you know, and this is the thing is, when you start at the beginning, nobody knows who you are. But once you start, people start knowing about you and that’s what happened to me after six months where I was literally having two, three presentations a week, a month, like I will be in every single conference.

[00:33:42] Ivan: And I made a point to be in every single conference to make sure that, you know, different audiences, I was touching different artists. I start to build my position in the market. So, all of a sudden, I was not reaching out to organizers, they were reaching out to me. And all of a sudden, it’s like, Hey Ivan, you know where is conference XYZ, would you like to speak at our conference?

[00:33:59] Ivan: And [00:34:00] I was like, sure. And at the beginning, I was just like, I will, I will say yes to everything. After a couple of years, you start, you need to become a bit more selective, because if you are everywhere aware, again, there is also, you know, you find yourself surrounded by, you know, the speakers that are just Going to all these presentations and not everywhere and people start to get a little bit kind of like, I would say tired of them, but, you know, you heard the same guy last month in another speech.

[00:34:25] Ivan: What’s new, right? That was one thing and the second thing is early on, I realized that, okay, I want to expand international because, okay, I’m doing well in Poland. Everyone knows where I am in Poland. It’s going well. Let’s go international. Let’s go around the region. And that’s what, you know, I made the decision to, okay.

[00:34:41] Ivan: That happened a little bit by accident. I attended a conference in France, unfortunately no longer exists, but it was a great event called Le Web. And I was in Paris and while being in Paris, the one thing about, you know, being a speaker, you met a lot of speakers and you become very good friends with tons of speakers.

[00:34:56] Ivan: And while being in Paris, a speaker who’s a very good friend of [00:35:00] mine, we were having dinner with other people and my friend mentioned, You’re organizing an event in Bulgaria, right? You should, you should bring Ivan from Poland. He’s fantastic. He’s a great speaker. You will learn. And then this guy goes, sure, man, you’re in.

[00:35:14] Ivan: I was like, Oh my God, so much. And then I was like, I was very surprised that he just took me in. And then I asked him, like, why did you just accept it? He’s like, well, if he says you’re good, I trust him. So if he says you’re good, you’re good. Now I just need to deliver, right? And what happens, another speaker was like, Oh yeah, I’m going to be organizing an event in Lebanon.

[00:35:34] Ivan: At the end of the year, Hey, you are in. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Whatever. Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks so much. I gave this speech in, in the, in, in, in Bulgaria, and it was a very good speech, I must say , and the guy from Lebanon looked at me and says, oh my God, you’re really good. You definitely are coming to Lebanon.

[00:35:52] Ivan: And that all of a sudden opened the door. I, I get, I presented in Lebanon and all of a sudden I was no longer, you know, Yvan, who is [00:36:00] only in this place. I spoke at this event, I spoke at this event, I spoke in Turkey, I spoke in Spain, I spoke all of a sudden I start to build my position again. Organizers start reaching out to you and little by little you start building your position in the market.

[00:36:14] Ivan: And now the question is, do you want to be a speaker or do you want to, you know, run your business? And that’s, that was a little bit of a challenge that I had because for, you know, in Poland I will get a lot of consulting clients, but giving these speeches internationally, it was a little bit less of that, that it was more about me being a speaker.

[00:36:31] Ivan: So that, that, that was a little bit of a decision that I had to make strategically, like, okay, do I go back to selling my consulting projects or do I continue building my position as a speaker internationally? 

[00:36:40] Jewels: So if we just focused on the building the business side, like if you’re a speaker, just trying to build your consultancy business, what sort of advice would you give somebody or what, well, perhaps flip it around a little bit, what amount of time, how much effort did you put into building your brand versus as part of your sales [00:37:00] process versus your traditional approaches of selling, what sort of percentage do you feel like that you were brand building versus just, you know, hitting the phones, let’s say.

[00:37:11] Jewels: That’s 

[00:37:11] Ivan: a very good question. I mean, speaking at conferences and giving great presentations does not replace the reality of running a business, right? The reality of Reaching out to clients, a reality of meetings, a reality of, of being in front of, of, of the people that are in front of the decision makers, right?

[00:37:30] Ivan: Hmm. Talking about percentage, I don’t know, probably let’s say a 30%, 40 percent of my time was, was focused on, because again, it was a very good, very effective channel for me, right? Because it was, I have proof that, you know, if I give a presentation that open, I don’t know, five minutes, right? Out of those five minutes, two will become problems, two or three.

[00:37:50] Ivan: It was, it was a little bit of a situation that for me was a very effective channel. Everything changed when I joined currently I’m working at [00:38:00] EY. So I was asked I was invited to join the technology consulting practice of EY and there it completely changed because I will give a presentation, but, you know, people will not come to me and ask for services because, you know, I’m EY, so it’s not an independent consultant, but it’s just like I’m a consultant.

[00:38:18] Ivan: Part of a huge corporation, right? So, that completely changed. So, so now very often the presentations that I give, you know, people are very thankful about the insights and everything. But now we don’t go and talk right away into potential collaboration. Because, you know, it’s a big corporation. And it’s, it’s more complicated to let’s just go for a cup of coffee and see what we can do.

[00:38:37] Ivan: Versus Working for a large corporation. So that’s an interesting development, right? That it is different when you are a small business owner, when you are a small consultancy versus when you are working for a large 

[00:38:48] Jewels: corporation. Yvonne, I’ve enjoyed our conversation. And I know you and I could talk for a very long time about this particular subject, as with most of my guests, I do have to wrap it up at some point.

[00:38:58] Jewels: What advice. [00:39:00] Would you give somebody who’s listening to this and going, okay, great. I’ve got a little practice. I, I know I need to get out there a little bit more, perhaps a little bit afraid or a little bit shy, or don’t really know where to start. What advice would you give somebody who’s early in the journey or maybe just started the journey into building their brand?

[00:39:19] Jewels: Where would you start? 

[00:39:20] Ivan: Well, I mean, probably that’s a very good point to step back and think, okay, what are my strengths? What are the things that I’m really good at, you know, very often I hear that people giving advice saying you should do cold calling, you know, it’s a numbers game. You make a list of 300 people you need to call and you go call 300 people and that’s how you do business.

[00:39:39] Ivan: And, you know, if you hate cold calling, you’re going to suck at it because you are not going to be, you’re not going to be passionate. You’re not be working at it. You’re not going to be enjoying doing it. For you, it’s going to be annoying and every time you get rejected, you’re just going to, it’s going to be just a confirmation that, you know, for you, this sucks.

[00:39:57] Ivan: Right. So what I think is [00:40:00] best is think strategically, think, okay, what are my strengths? What are the things that I really enjoy doing? I don’t like cold calling. So that’s why I’m not going to do cold calling. For some people might be extremely effective, but it’s not for me. Let’s say I, I, I really enjoy writing.

[00:40:14] Ivan: Okay. So let’s set a content marketing strategy in which we define, okay, how is the best way for us to prepare. relevant, interesting, valuable content. And what is the most effective way to show our expertise, to show the value that we can provide through this content? Let’s say you enjoy having a conversation with people.

[00:40:34] Ivan: And let’s say you’re good at communicating. Podcast is a fantastic option, right? Let’s set up a podcast that gives you the opportunity to connect and interact and maybe have interesting conversations like the one we’re having. And this might be an opportunity, this might be a channel that works specifically for you.

[00:40:49] Ivan: to build your business. Let’s say you enjoy public speaking, which is what’s my case. Okay, then get really good at it. And I know it’s, I know it’s scary. I [00:41:00] know it’s it is scary because at the beginning, you know, even, even after all these years that I’ve been speaking, every time I get on stage, you have the feeling of adrenaline that in a way I love it, but yes, it’s still kind of like this, but you know, the moment that you are getting on stage and you stay on stage and you look up and you have thousands of people in It is a moment that, you know, it might be scary, but if you really want to try it, or you’re, or you feel that speaking could be a good way of doing this for you, go for it, you know, first of all, okay, get inspired, try to learn, you know, that’s a fantastic thing also that we have today we have at our disposal.

[00:41:39] Ivan: Thousands and thousands of fantastic speakers that we can see on YouTube. You can see a fantastic video of speakers on YouTube and see how they present. See what they, how they say. Take a good course, you know, in Udemy there are hundreds of courses. I don’t know. Read books. I mean, you know, I became a good speaker not just by getting on stage and start talking.

[00:41:57] Ivan: I prepare myself. I, I, I, I learn a [00:42:00] lot. I, I, I seek and create inspiration. I talk with other speakers. I saw other speakers in different conferences. So, probably, okay, I’m going to, if you are interested in a specific way to do something, try to learn as much as possible about a specific thing, whether it’s content,

[00:42:28] Ivan: get us as much knowledge and information as you can. And just go for it. That’s the secret, right? And yes, the first podcast or the first article or the first speech might not be that good. Just keep going. Just keep going. Second will be better. Third will be better. Fourth will be better. All of a sudden, you’re really good at what you’re doing and you enjoy doing it.

[00:42:50] Ivan: And that’s the 

[00:42:50] Jewels: difference, right? Fabulous advice. And bring it all together. Bring your own style to it. And eventually, you’ll start getting good at it. And that’s when your brain starts to shift, [00:43:00]right? That’s when you start to get noticed. That’s when people start reaching out to you. And that’s when people start saying, Hey, I love what you’re saying.

[00:43:08] Jewels: You know, can we have that coffee chat? And away you go. Yvonne, thank you so much for your time. Where can the audience find out a little bit more about you? 

[00:43:17] Ivan: Well, thank you very much for inviting me. It’s been a pleasure. I really, really enjoy our conversation today. Probably the easiest way to find me would be on LinkedIn, Ivan Hernandez.

[00:43:26] Ivan: There’s not many Ivan Hernandez in Poland, so if you look, search Poland and Ivan Hernandez, you will find me. So if you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, I would be happy to connect there. Twitter, Ivan Hernandez, together with another square at the end. Those are probably the two best ways to 

[00:43:41] Jewels: connect.

[00:43:41] Jewels: I will put all those links in the show notes. Thank you so much and I really appreciate your time. My pleasure. Have a 

[00:43:47] Ivan: great day. 

[00:43:50] Jewels: A pleasure to chat with Ivan. He reminded me of the joy and growth you experience when you say yes to opportunities when they arise. And [00:44:00] Ivan’s rule of three, focus on providing value, use stories to elevate a point, and inject some humor to bring it to life.

[00:44:10] Jewels: Much love, chat soon.

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