Humanizing Your Audience and Customer Engagement with Carlos Gil

Present Beyond Measure Ep. 048

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE

Humanizing Your Audience and Customer Engagement with Carlos Gil

It’s rare when I encounter someone at a conference that not only nails the presentation, leaving me wanting more, but also drops wisdom I can easily say I will use for the rest of my speaking career. 

Carlos Gil is an international keynote speaker and award winning digital storyteller with over a decade of experience leading social media strategies for global brands.

He is the author of the upcoming book, The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI set to release in October and you can pre-order your copy now. 

In this episode, Carlos provides insight around humanizing your brand. His experience on relating to audiences through storytelling and authentically engaging on social media will leave you in awe. 

I found myself being blown away multiple times with new concepts and ideas that are easily implemented and impactful. 

In This Episode, You’ll Learn…

  • How Carlos dropped out of high school at 17, got his GED, started his career in banking, and then moved into the dynamic presenter and CEO he is today. 
  • What he sees as his hero story and why. 
  • All about his new book, why he believes in the importance of humanizing your brand, and some of the best nuggets of wisdom you will discover when you read it. 
  • Why you need to stop selling on social media and start engaging. 
  • Both Carlos and my pet peeves around presentations and slides. 
  • The three marketing tools that have changed his life.

People, Resources, & Links Mentioned

How to Keep Up with Carlos:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me. Have some feedback you’d like to share, or a question for Carlos? Leave a note in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post.

If you liked what you heard, I would love if you could leave me a rating or review in iTunes. Ratings & reviews are extremely appreciated and very important in the rankings algorithm. The more ratings, the better chance of fellow practitioners getting to hear this helpful information!

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates and never miss a show.

A very, very special thanks to Carlos for joining me this week. And as always, viz responsibly, my friends.

Do you have a burning question for Carlos about his upcoming book or his thoughts on digital marketing or keynote speaking? If so, ask away!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

Lea Pica: Ooo la la Lea Pica here. Today’s guest is a renowned social media expert and pro speaker who’s here to get you interacting with your audience. Stay tuned to find out who’s dropping the wisdom on the Present Beyond Measure Show, Episode 48.

Lea Pica: Hello, my dear listener, and welcome to the forty-eighth episode of the Present Beyond Measure Show. The only podcast at the intersection of presentation, data visualization, and analytics. This is the place to be if you’re ready to make maximum impact and create credibility through your thoughtfully presented marketing insights.

Lea Pica: September is closing out in a big way. At the time of airing, I’ll be in Denver speaking at the NIO Summit. That’s the Nonprofit Innovation and Optimization Summit and gearing up for a very exciting fall schedule. So a few episodes back, I promised you a tip-off to the exciting new venture that I’ve just started. It has been years in the sort of making and that is drum roll. My first book, yes, I just began penning my first real-life book with an amazing publishing consultancy called Scribe Media.

Lea Pica: I highly recommend them for helping you realize a passion that you have in the non-fiction world. And I am stoked because we’ve come up with a very unique spin on how to level up your data presentation skills. It will be talking about data communication, dysfunction of an epidemic proportion and empower you with a new prescriptive way of thinking about how to approach your data stories. And the sage wisdom from many of my past podcast guests will be featured in the book, and I’ll be also looking to you for your stories. In presenting data effectively or not so much so very exciting. I’m working on it every single day. We are slated to release it in November of 2020. So to get on a special waitlist, to hear all the latest developments, preorder exclusive bonuses, visit leapica.com/TheBook to stay in the loop.

Lea Pica: And if you’re in the Boston area and a few weeks, come meet me at Digital Summit. I’ll be delivering my signature PICA Protocol Keynote: Your prescription for healthy, actionable data stories. The link to registration is on the show notes page for this episode at leapica.com/048.

Lea Pica: And one last thing. I am still running the promotion on my Data Presentation and Storytelling Boot Camp online course bundle. It is a comprehensive, immersive online course on-demand. That is the course that I wish existed when I started out presenting data as a digital marketer 15 years ago. It’s bundling three of my flagship private workshop courses together at a huge discount and I’m leaving this open due to popular demand. But I can tell you that this promotion will not last very long. So if you want to keep your audience engaged and inspire action with your insights. Visit leapica.com/bootcamp and sign up.

Lea Pica: So the reason why I am particularly excited about today’s guests and I realize that every episode I talk about how that I am excited about today’s guest. It should be assumed that I’m excited about every guest. So what I’ll do is talk about the why. The reason why is because it’s rare when I encounter someone at a conference that really nails the presentation and leaves me wanting more, thinking more, and having them become the perfect next guest for this show and heat. This guest drops some wisdom that I think I’m going to be using for the rest of my speaking career. And it’s just incredible to hear about this person’s journey from a surprising start to where he is now as a globally recognized speaker onto the show.

Lea Pica: Hello, hello and welcome. I am so excited to introduce today’s guest. He is the author of an amazing book called “The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and A.I.” Very appropriate for this audience. He’s also an international keynote speaker and an award-winning digital storyteller. With over a decade of experience leading social media strategies for global brands including LinkedIn, Winn-Dixie, Save-a-Lot and BMC Software. His work has been featured by CNN Money, Harvard Business Review, Mashable, and my favorite Social Media Examiner. In addition to a host of other publications. And presently he is the founder and CEO of Gil Media, which is a full-service digital marketing firm in L.A., which works with Fortune 500 clients. And he blew me away during his keynote at the digital summit Philadelphia last month. No joke. It was amazing. So I am so pleased to welcome today Mr. Carlos Gil. Hello.

Carlos Gil: Hey, how’s it going? That is such an amazing introduction. I wish every podcast, host and even conference I speak at will give me such a nice introduction. A lot of times I’d just say like we’re joined by Carlos Gil. So thank you for that, that warm intro. I appreciate it.

Lea Pica: You’re welcome. And actually, people have mentioned that before. And I believe that the guests on my show are the most valuable intellectual capital. They’re an incredible resource. So they should be celebrated with all the fanfare I can muster.

Lea Pica: That’s my signature move. So we met at a digital summit, Philly, as I said, and I have to say, I was really taken by certain elements of your presentation. You not only had outstanding delivery skills and woven humor in a really effective way, which is very challenging and had a super compelling narrative and story. But you also even use visuals like animation and video and really creative ways that I’m even trying to explore to see how I can take my stuff to the next level. But before we dive in about what it is you do and how you present. We all love a good origin story. How did you fall into this world of digital storytelling and professional speaking?

Carlos Gil: That’s a really good question, Lea. So I actually started my career way back in 2002 as a banker and my kind of personal journey, professional journey is interesting. So I decided to drop out of high school at 17 and get my GED. And that’s something that I really didn’t talk a lot about throughout my 20s because I was really ashamed of it. And the older I become, the older I become. I’m 36 now. It’s, you know, one of those things that I’m actually proud to talk about because I want individuals to know that the formal education that you get isn’t something necessarily that’s going to replace real-world work and experience that you gain along the way. So I dropped out of high school early on in my youth, decided to work in retail, which is really where I honed in on my interpersonal skills and my sales skills. And from there, I got my first corporate job at 19 working for Citigroup. So I started my career, my actual professional career in banking at a very young age. While a lot of my friends were going off to college. I got my GED, didn’t go to college. And at a very young age, I learned in the real world the power presentation, you know, everything from how you posture yourself in meetings, hand gestures, animations, et cetera, et cetera. And when you work in finance, when you work in banking, you think a lot on your feet. And how you communicate is very important regardless of how old you are. How educated you are, formally speaking or not. So I worked in banking for the first six years of my career and then got laid off in 2000 and a due to the recession and the downturn in the economy, which obviously affected the banking industry. So I’m 25 years old at this point. It’s 2008 and I’m asking myself what the heck am I going to do at the time? My kids are really young. I know my daughter had just been born and I didn’t have I didn’t have many options.

Carlos Gil: I didn’t have a fallback plan. I didn’t have money saved up. I didn’t have a network. So it’s interesting because of a lot of things I talk about today, whether it’s through one-on-one mentorship, whether it’s through, you know, conferences like the one where you met me and saw me speak. What I’m really trying to do is get people to see the value of using digital communications and social media marketing, because I’m a big proponent of it based on simply how it helped me transform my career.

Carlos Gil: So I was really thrown into the fire headfirst and it was up to me to find.

Carlos Gil: The way to sink or swim during the recession and quite frankly, my hero’s journey, you’re my hero story isn’t one that entails making millions of dollars exiting from a company. It was starting a company bootstrapping. It was an online job or they created called Jobs Direct USA and was through that entity where I forced myself to learn digital marketing. I had zero marketing budget. I didn’t have any money saved up and the events that I did through my business called pink slip parties. These were events that were intended to bring people together to find jobs. And it was a really simple concept. I would find local bars in various cities such as Jacksonville, Florida, where I lived at the time, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta. We even went up to areas like Detroit that were really impacted by the recession. And I would go to bars and I would ask them for an off night in which I could promote an event. And we’re not talking about like D.J. Khalid performing at a club. We’re talking about literal events where people who are unemployed at the time would go to network with recruiters. So this is really what I did occupy myself throughout the years of 2009 and 2011. And again and I was really young back then and somewhat naive. And I learned digital marketing and much of what I know today and speak about today, I learned really through trial and error. There was no rhyme or reason about it. Throughout this process, news media started featuring my stories Start Getting Wind that I was doing these events called pink slip parties.

Carlos Gil: CNN Money featured me Fast Company named me one of the top 50 most influential people online in 2010, which is amazing.

Lea Pica: I saw that. Yeah.

Carlos Gil: I think nowadays that would never happen just because of the way social media has exploded. But back then, I was able to get in really at the ground level. And what that led me to was eventually getting hired by Winn-Dixie supermarkets, which is one of the larger supermarket chains in the United States. They hired me as their first-ever social media manager. And then that really became the next phase of my career where I graduated, if you will, from being a young entrepreneur to then working in brand marketing, which is remarkable considering the fact that I was able to get these incredible jobs with no college degree. I was able to go work at a company like LinkedIn where I ran social media for a period of time. I was able to get jobs writing, digital marketing. It saved a lot. And then today I have my own company. I’m really blessed and fortunate to be able to do things I really have a passion for, which is like public speaking and consulting and being able to just do things like this with you. Eleven years ago really wasn’t possible because I was just in the trenches of hustling to build a brand and even build a brand for myself.

Lea Pica: Well, that is an incredible story. And you know, I was just having this discussion with my mother recently on how invaluable a college education or higher ed is that it’s an absolute minimum in order to carve your path in today’s economy. And sometimes we go back and forth and saying, I think that the job economy is changing. People want to see results, not pieces of paper on the wall necessarily. And I’m just finding so much that there’s a book I’m reading right now called Super The One Critical Skill, something that You Must Have. And it was written by Jonathan Levi, who is the author of the SuperLearner methodology and kind of similar thing.

Lea Pica: He talks about how experiential learning and practice is really the vital, the currency of job satisfaction. And I think stability right when it comes to that. So what an amazing. I just love hearing that and how your path developed over time and the gratitude in your voice that, you know, looking at where you are and seeing the influence you’re having today. That’s awesome.

Carlos Gil: Yeah. You know, I’m glad that you bring that up because so many times people meet me through the Internet and I’d say like 90 percent of people that that meet me, it’s through social media. And then like the other 10 percent is it’s more organic. It’s conferences, it’s events I go to. But with that being said, most people that meet me, the first thing that they see is what’s on the surface. They see a book. They see them speaking. I’m traveling and they always say the same thing like, oh, man, you’re killing it. And it’s one of those phrases that like, I get where people are coming from and it’s it’s a phrase of endearment. But at the same time, it’s one that I have to turn around on the individual and say like you just learned about me. So from your standpoint, I’m telling you, if I’ve been killing it for the last eleven years, you just didn’t know I existed. And, you know, to so many people will complement what they see me doing, but they don’t realize that this is such a long grind. It’s such a long journey just to get to this point. And like there are times where I look back and I. So, like, do I get in the game too late because there are kids nowadays are 18, 19 years old that are entrepreneurs.

Carlos Gil: But, you know, we each have our own story to tell. And I think that’s where you know it, where everything originates from. It’s what makes you unique. What makes you different. And when I step on stage to speak at a conference, even though I really don’t have time to tell people my story because I’m there to speak about the subject matter that I’m being hired to speak about. The reality is that I enjoy motivating, educating, inspiring people through the journey that I have because I think there’s a little piece that’s relatable to everyone. How many people do you know, whether it’s you or just someone else? And how many people do you know that lost your job before? I’m sure you know, some a lot of you don’t have to bounce back from them, burst from adversity. I’m sure that, you know, individuals. So when I connect the dots to my story, to what I do today, which is marketing and social media, it’s all about humanizing who you are as a brand. And I think if more companies can do that going forward by weaving in real stories of the impact that they’re making, whether within the organization or externally, then that’s like really the winning recipe for success.

Lea Pica: I love it so much. And I remember picking that up from your talk where it seemed to be where, you know, you see a title like The End of Marketing and you’re at a marketing conference and you’re like, what? So does plenty of shock value. But it’s more about it’s almost like individual story marketing and, you know, one on one engagement marketing rather than this mass blanketing of here, you need this and we’re not going to tell you why. Right. That’s what I think is so powerful about your message. And I have to say, I can relate sometimes to feeling like I might be outdated or become obsolete with, you know, these young folks where when I went to school, I studied business, but very little of it had to do with my actual job of Internet marketing, which was the Wild West back when I started. So still the while. Well, yeah, you know, back then and I mean, sites still had hit counters on them. When I when I got in the field.

Lea Pica: But there’s this idea that you know, computers are becoming obsolete, faster processors, faster people. And for me, what I’ve tried to focus on in a lot like you is that you have a singularly unique story that no one else has, even if it’s similar. You have a voice and a message and a delivery mechanism and just a perspective that no one else can possibly have. So for the listeners who sometimes struggle with thinking, well, I don’t have anything valuable to say or I don’t know as much as other people in this field, I hear these kinds of, you know, negative beliefs or limiting beliefs all the time. It’s great to see that even though sometimes you encounter that, you focus on your unique brilliance.

Carlos Gil: Yeah, you know, it’s important, regardless of what we feel that you’re in, that if you’re looking to build a brand digitally speaking that you really hone in on the power of you. And I think there are people that I’ve come across that when I say this and they’re like, well, you know, self-promotion is a turnoff. But this isn’t about self-promotion. It’s really about winning people over by what makes you unique and what makes you stand out. You know, when you think of it, you have over 7 billion people in this world. We all have a story that led us to how we got here. I think the most important question that you’ll be asked throughout your lifetime, at least as an adult, is going to be. Tell me about yourself.

Carlos Gil: The same way that you just asked me to kind tee up my story. That then leads to a further conversation like this. That happens over and over. We meet someone at a conference. When you meet someone online, when you meet someone at a networking event, people want to know about you. So they do. More importantly, like if you can explain to you who you are, what you do within 30 seconds, then I’ll take it one step further. Not just who you are and what you do, but what you can do to help others. You’ll be our work.

Lea Pica: That was exactly what I was thinking is rather than just the stock, you know, 30-second elevator pitch every time. If you’re able to think about the context of the person asking, are the audience present what you’re how your story fits into their contexts and overcomes the objections or obstacles you believe they’re facing, then your solid gold.

Carlos Gil: Absolutely, 100 percent.

So I’d love to talk about your book for a moment. It’s not really about the show theme of presenting or data viz, but I think the themes of storytelling, especially in the digital world, are super relevant. So the first question is why did you decide to write this book when we’re in this digital age?

Carlos Gil: You know, the reason why I wrote The End of Marketing is that, quite frankly, marketing on social media has become stale. It really has. You have brands are taking to social media every single minute of the day to sell.

Carlos Gil: And they’re not seeing the results that they’re hoping to see because consumers have learned how to tune out brands on social media, no different than they are changing the channel on TV or they are, you know, changing the dial on the radio. Like, think about premium services even today, like Pandora or Spotify, Sirius XM Radio, where you can pay to avoid being advertised to by having a premium account. So you don’t want anyone to open up this book. First of all, to walk away with is that there is a strategy in this book that’s going to help you. Future proof your business and your career over the next decade.

Carlos Gil: As we encounter what I refer to as the A.I. apocalypse and what the A.I. apocalypse means is that over the next 10 years we will begin to see advancements in technology in which A.I. or artificial intelligence will effectively start replacing jobs. It can. It can mean everything from taking data that already exist and A.I. being able to make smarter decisions than a human being. It might mean humans having to start programming A.I. to do work for them. But we will get to a point where A.I. jobs otherwise those robots will replace human beings. So the strategy behind the marketing is that, first of all, marketing as we know it is dead. It’s over. You need to focus on humanizing your brand because the biggest difference between an AI and a human is just that you’re a human. I and at the end of the day, people relate to people. People buy from people sustaining along those lines. People today are brands. And I write about celebrities like you’re Kim Kardashian’s and D.J. Khalid’s throughout the book.

Carlos Gil: And I also may bring to light the fact that today’s brands being people have more power on the Internet than traditional corporations do. And I think you might have executives that open up this book and it’s going to be there’s me a lot of shock and awe in it. That didn’t write the book just for a Fortune 500 executive.

Carlos Gil: I wrote the book for, first of all, anyone that uses social media marketing in their business and that can be, you know, someone that isn’t an entry-level job, a small business owner all the way up to a C-suite executive. So if you use social media business, I really want to learn how to humanize your brand. Then you need to follow the steps that I share. And it begins with, first of all, addressing why are you on social media, using social media to effectively listen to what’s being said about your brand and your competition and then starting to take your customers and your employees and transform them into the faces of your company. And if you can start replacing the logo with a human face, then guess what? You’ll at least be several steps further ahead than your competition.

Lea Pica: Wow, that’s pretty mind-blowing. Making your logo a human face of one of your stakeholders or customers and whatnot.

Lea Pica: I resonate with that a lot because I am a person with a brand who’s trying to get a more human and corporate field where it’s can it can be a bit dry and you want to kind of look perfect and polished and all of that. But what I’m finding is that the more real I’m getting with my audience, even though some of those cracks can show and the more vulnerable I’m getting, the more power it seems to create both for them and for me. And that’s really it is really fascinating. And I wonder if it’s because partly because a brand feels like this sort of impermeable collective entity, like a hive that isn’t that it doesn’t have an individualistic sense about itself. And then people are these strong, singular voices that humans can attach to in a way that’s really fascinating. Well, you know, you mentioned that there was a. Very important take away that you want people every business, and I’m assuming you’re speaking about not just the large businesses, but also, you know, entrepreneurs. So what is a very important takeaway that you want everyone to follow after reading your book?

Carlos Gil: So I’d say like a key takeaway I want individuals to follow is, first of all, stuff selling social media and start engaging and really take the time to invest, to discover who’s speaking about your company, your products and services, and your competition. And I share this in my talks of the day with these social networks truly areas to two things. One, their digital advertising platforms. So these companies i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. They want you to invest in leveraging their data to run ads. That’s, you know, really the objective of why these social networks exist.

Carlos Gil: Number two is their search engines. So you can leverage platforms, for example, like Instagram to run a hashtag search for your company name. Or let’s say, for example, you sell insurance, you can run a hashtag search for hashtag life insurance or hashtag health insurance like you can leveraging social networks to collect data of your own. And I think most people like a gloss over that because they’re so focused on the sale.

Carlos Gil: They’re focused on what they can get out of it right now. Well, guess what? If you stop selling and you just start using the social networks to truly engage and build a community, what you’re going to discover over time is that you have real customers, real buyers sitting in front of you. And I can slice this.

Carlos Gil: And dice this, you know, eight ways to Sunday, regardless of what industry you’re in, like if you’re a public speaker, you can use Twitter to look up, call for speakers if you’re in any business like it’s just how you manipulate these searches and run the searches. I think that’s going to be the greatest pride, key takeaway. That’s not rocket science, but it’s just reconditioning people’s thoughts to think of social networks less about posting content, but more about collecting data from it and using it truly for lead generation.

Lea Pica: That is invaluable. And I’m going to change some of my own strategies. I really like that. You know, I’ve written down, stop selling, start listening. And I am not the best listener when it comes to social media. I kind of like to go and drop a bomb and I’m like by my back to my cave. And I think that’s really fascinating. I want to mention you might be familiar with Rand Fishkin, formerly of Moz.

Lea Pica: So Rand went to form a new company called SparkToro. And he is working on, you know, a really fascinating social research tool where you can actually see what people are researching if they’re researching around a certain topic, where are the places that they’re gathering?

Lea Pica: It is so fascinating and invaluable. So I’m excited for that to come out for sure. So what do you think brands are getting wrong on digital media other than, you know, they’re selling, obviously.

Carlos Gil: Here’s the thing. It’s not so much about the brand itself. I want to, you know, throw shade at this moment with this question, because a brand, the de la is a logo. What makes up that brand? So here’s the thing. I think we always put so much power into talking about the brand. The brand, the brand. David Brand is a group of people. It’s a collective of people in marketing specifically, which are the ones that are responsible for everything that you see on social media. So when people ask me, well, what makes you, Carlos, different than other marketers, what’s the fact? I’ve worked at four different companies running social media. So I get how all this works from the inside, which then is what you see on the outside.

Carlos Gil: So it’s the people that are under the gun and under pressure to produce and drive an hour away. Right now, most socially of marketers, whether it’s every month or every quarter, have to meet with their boss and then their boss meets with their boss’s boss. And they have to truly justify what value social media is driving to the organization. So I can sit here and tell you, like, look, this is a long play. It took me 11 years of using social media to build a brand, get a book deal, become a best seller.

Carlos Gil: Most marketers don’t have eleven days nights right to it to truly drive ours. I like their transactional driven, they’re campaign driven. They’re thinking about my next campaign and how do I drive metrics and how do I gamify the system in order to justify keeping my job for like another quarter? Like that’s real talk.

Lea Pica: Yeah.

Carlos Gil: So the reality is that as there are advances in marketing through technology, again, I find all of this is going to come to ahead. So I am hopeful that marketers start thinking more on the level of being less a marketer and more of a customer advocate.

Lea Pica: I love that too. Lots of quotable is on this one. And Carlos, where is there a specific example that you’re seeing where a guy is being leveraged already in a really eye-opening way for social?

Carlos Gil: You know, there is an Instagram account called Lil McKayla. OK. And if you go this Instagram account, lilmiquela, you’re going to find is an A.I. generated influencer and is what appears to be almost like a 19-year-old female. You see literally this character interacting with celebrities, taking photos with brand apparel, going to Coachella. It’s like the gnarly ass thing. OK. And it’s a person that doesn’t exist, but yet has over a million followers on Instagram and is verified on Instagram. That should be a wake-up call to every single individual, whether you work for a company or not. Or if you just have a presence yourself that we are getting ready to enter Terminator 2 Judgment Day in which you can’t really tell the difference whether you’re speaking to a real human being or not. And that’s pretty scary. That should be eye-opening.

Lea Pica: That is scary and eye-opening. It kind of brings to mind this whole deep fake controversy happening where, you know, you rely on news media. And now the Internet and Twitter as the number as the fastest news outlet. But it’s starting to throw into question what reality actually is. And, you know, how can I wonder, how can brands protect their integrity as more of that starts to pass?

Carlos Gil: That’s can be really tough. By telling you what, it comes down to the relationship that you have with your customers and really putting a face behind the brand.

Lea Pica: Yeah. And I’m even thinking of brands where they’ve made faces of average people like the Subway guy and Verizon and whatnot where faces became those brands. It’s it’s interesting.

Carlos Gil: Correct.

Lea Pica: So I’d like to move over to your presentation process, I’m chomping at the bit. So first, how do you incorporate social media interactions into your presentations?

Carlos Gil: You know, so first of all, when I jump on stage, I one of the first things I say before I just go into my talk is make sure that you follow me on social media. At Carlos Gil eighty-three and be sure to tag me in tweets along with the conference hashtag. So that’s really important because most people what are they doing from their seat? They’re tweeting. They’re taking photos. So selfishly speaking, I use those tweets as opportunities for lead generation and truly to understand and know who’s in the audience. So it’s not just about talking the talk, but walking the walk, too. As soon as I get off that stage and I’m back in an Uber or on a fly to go to my next destination, I’m researching who was tweeting from the scene about me. So it’s important if you want to maximize those opportunities that you remind people to use the conference hashtag to tweet and B you give them upfront what your handle is. That way they know who to tag and how to find you. So I’d say like that’s perhaps my best growth hack when it comes to how I connect social media, my social media with my subject matter expertise. The other is there will be maybe two or three times during the talk where I know that there’s something I’m saying that’s really going to strike gold with the audience. So I’ll let the music make sure you write this down or tweet this out. And when you do these presentations over and over again, like you start to realize like the key moments in which people are taking out their phone and snapping photos, you just already know, like, all right, this slide I’m about to go on. I know everyone’s going to like grab the phone and they’re going to take a picture of it. So it’s just it’s, again, relationship building. It’s having that relationship with your audience. So then they feel comfortable with you. You’re really commanding authority from the stage and you’re also guiding them and giving them some instructions, too.

Lea Pica: That is a really valuable strategy. And I want everyone listening to take note of that because I see a lot of industry presentations, especially by vendors or consultants who want to sell. And I don’t see a lot of people recommending using their handle and the hashtag. So I actually do something similar. I start with an introduction to draw them in, but I drop the same requests that you do. But and also I have several Tweeter bowl slides where I have my handle there. And it’s the only time that I actually use like a form of logo typically on my slides. But I’ve only ever thanked people for their tweets.

Lea Pica: And that sometimes follows them. So I’m dying to know how are you engaging them as lead generation? I think that be so valuable to hear.

Carlos Gil: So what I do engage them for lead generation and you know my view yet I’m a product in order to sell. Start thinking of it like leaves. Like for the longest time I didn’t have a product. Have a look. So as more or less like everyone that we would tweet at me, I would engage with them, follow me, and we would just like organically form our relationship. But because throughout my presentation I’m letting you know I have a book for you. I love how you buy it. If you took the time, you took five seconds to tweet something out.

Carlos Gil: First, I’m going to thank you for coming to my session. So it’s not like I’m just like, hi, Lea, you came to my session. Go buy my book. It’s like, hey, Lea, thank you so much for coming to my talk. Like that really means a lot. I’ll give him a read. We know those little actions mean something to people. Yes, especially when you have a little bit bigger of a following. So I’ll read tweet their tweet out to my network, but then I’ll follow up and let those a bill on the lines of like, hey. Thank you so much, Lea, for coming to my talk.

Carlos Gil: You know, I would love for you to preorder. My book comes out in October. So. Oh, OK. I used avidly generation. There are other times, though, where if it’s someone who, for example, I want to get in front of them to do a workshop or sell them agency services or what have you like, there’s you know, there’s different levels of lead generation. So if it’s an individual, I see that there’s an opportunity for me to get Gil Media in front of them. I’ll just straight say, like, I’d love to chat, like, thanks for coming in. I talk I’d love to chat, you know, be on the lookout for a direct message from me. So again, goes back to I said some in earlier point. You have to survey and know your audience. And that requires no selling but requires actually taking the time to see who’s speaking about you.

Lea Pica: Oh, this is so great because I have two events coming up. One is actually with you and you’re going to see me taking all the same strategies. This is really, really valuable because there are a lot of tweets that go out around conference presentations and I’m now seeing how much I was even missing of that opportunity. So valuable. So, you know, when you’re an audience member, how does a presenter win with you? What makes them stand out to you?

Carlos Gil: I would say a couple of things. And over the last five or six years, I’ve spoken that, gosh, I’m not how many conferences I’ve lost count. So I haven’t really sat in the audience.

Lea Pica: I see.

Carlos Gil: A lot of them because I’m leveraging those events to really network when I’m not on stage, work the halls, et cetera. You know, occasionally I’ll sit in and do a few talks. I think that what heard has always turned me off about speakers is the ones that depend heavily on playing videos during their talk in order to do the speaking for them.

Carlos Gil: Now mind the slides that you saw in Philly. It was like animated video slides, but I was talking. That’s right. Like when I create director made the presentation, he said to me like, hey, I’d love to like just jazz up your slides or they jump out at the audience. I said to him, that’s great. I don’t want any audio because I’m going to narrate what people are seeing on the streets and talk. Now, there are other speakers I’ve seen that like one-third of their presentation video. They’ll play a video. You’ll see. It’ll be like a brand campaign, a commercial. And then like, I’ll go back and they’ll talk. And like, that just turns me off because I think, like, you have such limited time to captivate the audience’s attention. And quite frankly, one of the aspects that I want to work on myself over the next year is I want to jump on stage like Gary Lee does and just freestyle do it and just not do any slides, because I think that the slides what they do is they take away from your presence on stage. If you’re like myself, high energy, you know, you’re dropping keys, then you don’t necessarily need the slides other than just to be a guide for the people in the audience. So, yeah, I’d say like just heavily depending on the video. So that’s like the one thing to me that just have stood out. Curious to hear from your thoughts.

Lea Pica: Yeah. So I guess for me, the what I predominantly see as a peeve of mine is relying on the slides as a script visually like people. And then you can kind of see a lack of preparation or proper transitions come along when people will turn around and face their slide and start talking to the screen and saying, OK, and now this slide is about that at the next. And then I included this slide. And it’s I don’t want to see people justifying why they included a slide or even referencing it. I like to use it as a visual extension of my voice. You know, I have kind of a split mind around what you’re saying, where for sure, there’s this split second motion that I think happens when you’re speaking and the slide changes. It’s like their eyes bounce to the screen because they’re attracted to movement. And then depending on what’s up there can either reinforce the words coming out of your mouth and not engage them so much that they’re immediately coming back to you. So they haven’t tuned you out. Right. Or they’re completely consuming a slide as if it’s its own speaker and tune you out. So for me, that’s the fine line that I walk and why I’ve been very judicious with my use of video because it will compete for someone’s attention in a certain way. But I liked how it became an animated backdrop for you. I hadn’t seen really an approach like that except for when I saw Seth Godin speak live several years ago.

Carlos Gil: Now, I’ll be honest with you, that’s something that I’m debating and getting away from the animated slides simply because I’ve had conferences I’ve spoken out this year that there have been some technical difficulties. Yeah. And I was actually having this conversation after the last talk I did last week, which is in Tampa, Florida, where I actually went back to just flat slides. So static. No, no moving parts. Just, you know, you click a button and then it’s a static image. What I said to my career director is when I’m on stage, I start getting in this flow. And when I had every time I take it back, click, I find myself pausing. And then when you have videos and your slides, you actually have to click twice. You to click once to go the next slide and then you click again and actually play the video. Well, there’s some venues where there’s like there’s a slight delay. And then as a speaker, you’re on stage trying to give keys and you’re clicking forward. You’re clicking back like there’s just too much room for error. That takes away from the presentation. So I get what you’re saying. Like the animated slide looks really nice. But you’re also at the mercy of AV and tech difficulties.

Carlos Gil: And for example, when you saw me speak, there was a big. A failure that happened? Yeah. Which my computer was running, my presentation somehow got locked up and I’m like, Oh my God. If I had to freestyle this thing and I’m 10 minutes, I’m like, this is going to be a challenge.

Lea Pica: Yeah.

Carlos Gil: Because even though I’ve presented my subject matter material such, so many times. Yeah, it’s just like that. Oh, my gosh. Moment of what do I do? So the less room for error that you have. I think the more effective you can be and focus less on what’s on the slides. Focus more on what’s coming out of your mouth or what you’re giving people.

Lea Pica: Now that you mention it, I remember that moment. And I also remember thinking, wow, he is handling like that a boss.

Carlos Gil: It’s great you thought I handled very well. I thought I handled it awful. I was I my shirt was just drenched.

Lea Pica: We’re our own worst critics. Right?

Carlos Gil: I was sweating, I was like aww man, this is bad.

Lea Pica: And it’s a really fair point because, again, I’m not sure how far I want to go with and incorporating that it’s, I think, something to be eased into rather than cannonballing. But it’s true. We are trying to up the ante in our talks technologically and for every anti, we don’t even know if that’s the right way to say it. But for every notch we go up, we are exposing ourselves to the mercy of what I call Murphy’s Law of technology. Right. So I think that’s a fair point. I will reiterate, it’s really about finding that balance so that you feel really present for your audience. You’re staying with yourself and with them. And I can see how every time you advance the slide and then click again and you’re waiting for it to play. I could see that really detracting from the level of presence. So I appreciate the words of caution.

Carlos Gil: Yeah, like I said, I for my 2020 keynotes I’m probably going to go back to flat slides. But with that being said, I think there are ways that you can dress up your presentation so it doesn’t look like a standard PowerPoint.

Carlos Gil: For example, I can you know, if you, if you want like maybe in the show notes, it is I can shoot your laying to like slide chair and you can see a presentation. I really did. Yes. So, my career director, I think you were asking me after my talk, like if I did my own slides and fortunately I have a resource on my team who’s really good at graphics and whatnot. So every in my flat presentations, my flat slide presentations, he creates every slide as an image.

Carlos Gil: So it’s not traditional PowerPoint. The whole presentation is Bill in PowerPoint. So like you’ll have the functionality of the slideshow. But every graphic on the screen is an image. So you can’t even edit it unless you’re using Photoshop. He uses all these programs. But yeah, it’s an actual image with text overlaid on that image and it’s like a looping gif. I guess in that sense for the presentation that you saw, it was a looping Jeff. Yes. Or it’s just a looping video, right. Last. Maybe two minutes. So again, like that’s also the challenge that you face. There are some conferences where acted like a minute and a half to two minutes like it’s automatically going into the next video. And you be careful that because there are venues, you were like, once I hand my laptop over the 80 percent, I don’t know what they’re doing in the rent. Right. I don’t know if they’re just hitting like a timer, like for the slides they advance every minute and a half to two minutes to ensure that I stay within a lot of them all the time. I don’t know what they’re doing. So there’s been conferences where the whole video aspect has just gone haywire. I find again, what works better is just flat slides, but like the old school PowerPoint presentations with like the three dots, you know, the bullet points, all that. I think if you want to if you want to cool on stage like you need evolved, evolve from that and maybe work with the designer that can build for your presentation that looks more modern and each slides a different experience.

Lea Pica: That’s really helpful. And, you know, I think it is important for presenters to be conscious of what elements of unpredictability they’re bringing into their presentation. Like we talked about with video and such. So what I’ve tried to do is ask myself if I’m bringing in anything other than a regular slide click with images. If this animation doesn’t work, what will I do in that moment?

Lea Pica: I set my videos to autoplay so that the slight advance actually triggers the video. But there was a case where even after testing, the video didn’t play. And thank God beforehand I had asked myself, what will I do if this doesn’t play? I have a feeling it’s not going to play, and I managed to get right through that moment because I had fully prepared for that eventuality. So that’s sort of my approach for overcoming stuff like that.

Carlos Gil: Yeah.

Lea Pica: So I believe that even the most accomplished professional speakers are always on a path of growth. What is the area that you’re working on most in yourself?

Carlos Gil: Gosh, that is such a loaded question.

Carlos Gil: You know what, I’m always pushing myself harder on is how to be more efficient with how I use my time, quite frankly. OK, so it’s not the sort of like, oh, I want to be smarter at this or I want to get better at doing a specific, like, you know, task other than I realized that the more I become known, so the more that I do speaking engagements, for example, my book is getting ready to come out here in a couple of weeks.

Carlos Gil: The more that things start to happen for me, the busier I become. The more people that want to meet with me, the more opportunities that come my way. And we still have the same 24 hours in a day like that, hasn’t I’m running seems less. I’m running my media agency. I’m also running my personal brand. You know, they’re kind of woven in together.

Carlos Gil: So it’s just really becoming better balancing my time. I’d say that’s what my focus is going to be going forward is how I can be more efficient, how I can be more time, time-bound, you know, whether it’s working with with a virtual assistant that’s kind of taking some things off my plate, whether it’s scaling my company by hiring people. You know, I’ve realized, Leah, in the last three years almost I’ve worked for myself outside of corporate life. You need people to work with you. Whether it’s employees or freelancers or partners like you need people in order to get things to happen because you can’t do it all.

Lea Pica: You really can’t. And I think there’s a romanticism around the phrase solopreneur, which is a phrase used in our world where we can do it all because we’re a jack of all trades and you can be a remarkably multifaceted, multitalented person. But as you said, you know, being a master of none isn’t going to allow you to scale your business. And I’m right there with you. That’s my number one goal for next year too. So, Carlos, I call the next section the upgrade, and it’s all about a niece or your favorite tool or resource or something you love using right now that’s kind of taking what you do to the next level.

Carlos Gil: You know, that’s such a good question. First of all, people are asking this question a lot like what do you use for like social media tools? And I’m kind of I’m kind of old school in the sense that I do a lot of my posting organically using the apps on my phone. But there are three tools that come to mind that I absolutely love. And the first is Grammarly. So even though I love to write, misspellings happen. I hate for misspellings to appear on social media posts or an email. So I literally find myself spell checking everything through Grammarly Before I send an email before I send out a tweet, so I use that tool. The other one that I use quite a bit is TubeBuddy. YouTube is such an undervalued tool or a social network. It’s just overlooked. And if you want to know how I received how I get a lot of my inquiries for speaking engagements, it’s actually through YouTube. I have. Yeah. I have over two dozen social media keynotes on YouTube. So if you go to YouTube right now and you type in social media keynote or social media keynote speaker, I dominate that first page.

Lea Pica: Wow.

Carlos Gil: So TubeBuddy has been. Yeah. TubeBuddy has been great in helping me optimize my videos, optimize my channel. In fact, if you go to tubebuddy.com/Carlos, you can download it for free. So the free version of the tool. So that’s again tubebuddy.com/Carlos. So I know that’s going to help anyone that’s in speaking probably get more leads. Just put your content on YouTube, optimize it properly with the right titles and right keywords. The third tool they’ve been using quite a bit is called Agorapulse. So I know people. Yeah, I know a lot of people like to use a buffer and who’s sweet and strong social. These are great tools to use, but I don’t have the time to go in again. It goes back to efficiency. I don’t have the time to go into every single day and schedule something out. So AgoraPulse allows you to implore a CSV file or an Excel spreadsheet with social media posts already written, including the links. So I use that tool. It’s like, wow, once a month I go in, I import social media posts and then, you know, it’s done like every day. I know they’re all content that goes out on all my social networks.

Lea Pica: Ok, I have to reflect on each of these because this is why this is my favorite section of the show. So it’s Grammarly is an incredible tool and I definitely use it for blog posts and even longer social media posts like for LinkedIn and such that are longer in format. But I definitely craft my posts on my phone and I’m finding that I am a spelling mistake machine even though I have excellent spelling, and I’ll review back and I’m like a c’mon Lea. So, you know, this is helping me instill a new habit to really be more rigorous about where I craft that. And I have to say, it’s like Christmas every week getting a report from Grammarly that I have a more unique vocabulary than 96 percent of users. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Fancy talk, but that’s awesome. So for TubeBuddy. Okay. And then YouTube, because YouTube is like the last frontier for me. Right. One of my hangups has been the idea of posting my talks in full, because then I think to myself, like, no one’s going to actually come to see me speak if I do that. But now, as I’m thinking through, I’m thinking probably most of the people in the audience, the vast majority, will not even know who I am or we’ll have never seen me speak. Right. So, you know, if they’ve seen my keynote online, how have you felt like that’s affected the live experience for you?

Carlos Gil: It hasn’t. It hasn’t. Right. So the thing is, is that every one of my talks, even though the subject matter that you see on the screen is the same, every talk is like a concert. There seems to be some variation. There should be something different. Right. A lot of times it’s just it’s ad-libbed. Right. Like there might be as I’m on a slide and I start talking about something. I’m reading body language. I’m seeing heads nodding. I’m seeing people take photos like that. Might take me in a different direction where also I start getting motivated to talk about that slide for five minutes, whereas in the previous talk that you could see on. Maybe I glossed over it and spent 30 seconds, so I’d say you might see so many people in that audience, right. But say to three hundred people were in Philly, but YouTube is a lot bigger than that. Able to distribute your reach a lot greater. And then the thing is like what I’ve kind of experienced in my line of work is you almost becoming an attraction. And people see you go online and they look forward to seeing you speak in person because they want to see you live. It’s again like I use a lot of comparisons to like music. I love hip hop music. So I do a lot of comparisons that music meets marketing. And when you go see your favorite musician perform, you might have heard hurt him or her on Spotify hundreds of times. You may have heard your song dozens of times, but when you see it in person, there’s that awe of seeing it live.

Lea Pica: Wow. You are completely changing how I’ve seen this before. And of course, music is the perfect sense for this. I mean, I’m not sure I’ll be having like fireworks or flamethrowers that hit. But you’re right, it is a completely different visceral feeling to be in that live energy. Well, I think you just determined what my next social media strategy is going to be. And we have arrived at our final question. So think hard here, Carlos. Imagine this very plausible scenario. You’re walking to your front-row seat at the AAA Mega World Wrestling Championship, where suddenly you trip and fall into a vortex that pulls you back to the moment you’re about to deliver your first presentation. What are you presenting about, if you remember? And what would today you say to yesterday you?

Carlos Gil: So the cool thing is that my first talk, my first keynote I ever did is on YouTube. It was in St. Louis. It was in 2015 and it was in St. Louis for the American Marketing Association. And I want to say that the talk was called The Future of Social Media Marketing. Nice. So for all of you listeners out there, you know, have fun looking at it up on YouTube. And what you’re going to see is a much younger, greener version to be, but didn’t have the same type of stage presence or confidence as I do now. You know, I would say to my younger self, quite frankly, I just know that what you’re getting ready to do is going to open up doors for your future. And that’s all. That’s the belief that I have in everything that I do. Like ten years from now will be a better speaker. Them right now, 10 years from now, I’ll be more successful, wealthier, have more contacts than I have right now.

Carlos Gil: But. Ten years from now, it’s not going to happen if I just kill it right now.

Carlos Gil: So I live very much about the now instead of looking too far ahead. I live very much for what I can do right now to be the best version of myself with an understanding that everything I do now is just a stepping stone for the future. So I get asked that question like, what would you tell yourself differently? First, I wouldn’t do anything differently because I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I did anything differently, especially when I start thinking about like if I would’ve gone to college at a younger age and different things like that, that just kind of leads you to a, you know, a rabbit hole of what-if possibilities.

Carlos Gil: The reality of the matter is that you can’t change the past at all. Yeah. So you can drive yourself crazy thinking about what if I would’ve done this different? What have I done that you can’t do anything? Change your past. So just embrace it. You are who you are today because of the decisions that you’ve made along with the past. But with that being said, once you have that knowledge, you can also manipulate and manifest your future. Once you have an understanding that every single time you step on stage, there will be somebody in the audience that you impact, maybe someone you are the only person that I’ve done a podcast interview with from the Philly Digital Summit. Yes, right. So like those are the little when you start to stack up. Right. If you hang around for 10 years and you get those winds over and over. Stop worrying about the money. Stop worrying about the opportunities that come.

Lea Pica: Oh, my gosh. That is really beautiful advice. Of course, accepting that it can’t be any different than it was is the ultimate Buddhist detachment. Right, for bliss.

Lea Pica: But I absolutely love what you said, that this presentation could be a door to your future, just like that’s what I’ve been trying to encapsulate.

Lea Pica: And what I teach is embracing that. Amazing. Well, it is a perfect way to wrap this up. And our time has unfortunately run out. But please tell the listeners where they can keep up with you.

Carlos Gil: First and foremost, thank you so much, Lea, for having me here on your podcast, because, you know, I’m such a proponent of relationship building and this is a byproduct of what happens when you go outside your comfort zone. You go to a conference and whether you’re a speaker or an attendee.

Carlos Gil: This is what happens when you just meet people and take a risk. So thank you. First, I would encourage anyone out there listening to go get into marketing by going to end of marketing book dot com. It’s on Amazon. Book drops officially October 29. So be sure to have your copy. If you get the copy. Be sure to send me a tweet. Tag me on Instagram @CarlosGil83. Let me know that you are supporting my work and in return, I love to support you and your work as well.

Lea Pica: Awesome. And all of the links and all of the tools. Everything we’ve mentioned will be as will be available on the show notes page for this episode. And if you happen to be in the New England or Boston area, October 21st, the 22nd, you can come to catch me and Carlos speaking at Digital Summit. So we’ll get to meet again. And I just want to thank you so much again for being on the show today. We had a great talk at the summit and you just gave us so much invaluable advice. So I’m looking forward to our past crossing again.

Carlos Gil: Likewise. Thank you so much, Lea.

Lea Pica: Wow-we WOW. I love having the privilege of sharing the amazing journeys of speakers like Carlos and all of the wisdom that those journeys offer to you, my dear listener, because I will tell you from experience that there are no shortcuts in building a successful presenting career, but there are also no reasons to reinvent the wheel from scratch. And I just discovered that Grammarly has a special keyboard app for iPhone! Typo Tyranny Solved! Once again to catch all of the links and resources mentioned in this episode. Visit the show notes page at LeaPica.com/048, including a link to preorder Carlos’s book, which is now at the top of my reading list. And I would love if you could leave me a comment or suggestions because I want to hear about the challenges you’re facing in telling your data stories. If you’d like what you’ve heard. Hop on over to iTunes to subscribe. Make sure you never miss an episode and please leave a rating and review because that really lets me know that I’m on the right track for you and it helps get this valuable content in the hands of other practitioners like yourself. And I’ll leave you with a bit of presentation inspiration by customer service guru Shep Lyken, and that is “recognized that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others.” Oh, I love that one so much for this episode, and my take is that I’ve learned a lot on today’s show about getting more on the ground to engage with and interact with my presentation audience and my followers and not just retreat to my cave. And I’m also realizing that both my presentations and my interactions are doors to a bright future of my choosing.

Lea Pica: And now they can be that for you. That’s it for today. Once again, hop on over to leapica.com/Bootcamp and get all signed up for the training that you wish you’d had and you won’t find it anywhere else. And stay tuned for even more exciting authors and experts on the podcast horizon.

Lea Pica: Wishing you an awesome close to September Namaste and Namago.

Lea is a digital analyst and marketer turned Data Storytelling Evangelist. She trains thousands of digital practitioners and consultants in the art and science of impactful data presentation through her blog and podcast, The Present Beyond Measure Show. Lea is also the creator of The PICA Protocol™, her practical prescription for healthy, actionable data stories that inform decisions, spark ideas, inspire action, and make YOU indispensable.