When I first met Chris Brogan it was as a stage presence; he was holding forth with his co-author Julien Smith of Trust Agents at SXSW about the new world of the Internet. The crowd was SRO and the mood was friendly: there were clearly a lot of Brogan and Smith fans in the audience. I noticed that Chris had a warm, easy way of engaging with the audience, and that he was pretty much making it up as he went along. Smith’s approach was more cerebral and planned.
We didn’t get to work together for a couple of years after that. In person Chris is even more personable than from the stage. He’s a natural connector – or at least a very good practicing one – and he paid for lunch while telling us a funny story of how he and his brother compete to pay for the restaurant meals, to the extent of bribing the waiter as they go in the restaurant. I never had a chance. By the time I had my credit card out, Chris had already paid for lunch and was inquiring in the likes, dislikes, and family dynamics of the waiter.
When we departed the restaurant, Chris left a whole set of new friends behind. We almost ended up in the kitchen talking over menus with the chef. Only the need to get back to work kept us from staying the rest of the afternoon.
We worked for quite a while on creating a “stump” speech for Chris that he could use over and over again. The pressure of creating new speeches for every event he agreed to speak at was killing him, figuratively speaking.
I made the argument that a speaker needs a consistent brand, much like Coca Cola or Kleenex, and so it was essential to give the same speech bones each time, with new muscle on the bones each time. You vary the ideas you share from one audience to another, in short, but keep the Idea the same, because that’s what you’re known for (and need to be known for going forward).
But Chris is so much a person who lives his idea of monchu or one family, that he wants to reach out to every audience, make it part of his family, and share something new with each one. In fact, he’d do it one audience member at a time if he could.
The good news for you conference organizers, then, is that if you hire Chris you’ll get something largely new each time. In spite of my best efforts.
So I don’t know how Chris gets anything done, but he’s written another book, this one on his own, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators, and this one has everything in it that you’ll need to first decide whether you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur, or an employeepreneur, doing your thing inside a larger organization. Once you’ve decided, Chris will show you how to do it. The book is packed with essential, wish-I-had-known-that before-started-and-made-a-bunch-of-dumb-mistakes tips and insights that will save you time, heartache, and money and help you succeed gloriously.
Since public speakers can be both entrepreneurs and employeepreneurs, this book will be helpful to all of you in your careers as well. His twelve steps at the end of the book are worth the price by themselves, and they start with the key step: 1. Declare Your Freakishness. And they end with: Take Action.
So get Freaks and start your own World Domination Plan – and take action.