Vivid Learning: Get your Message Out There with Great Impact



Guest: Cam Barber

Presenter: Wayne Bucklar

Guest Bio:  Cam Barber is a speechwriter, speaking coach and author of “What’s Your Message? Public Speaking with Twice the Impact using Half the Effort.” Cam shows leaders how to use vivid messages for greater success. Cam dispels the public speaking myths that hold people back and shows them how to engage an audience from 1 to 1,000. His background as a radio executive helped him understand how to get inside the mind of an audience and how to trigger message recall. He developed the Vivid Method for public speaking as a response to the mechanical acting skills being taught for business presentations. The first version was built on natural style and message transfer. Delighted participants also found that this simple, practical focus reduced their nervousness. Clients now rave about the ability to relax under pressure, the power of Vivid Messages and the simple approach that generates twice the impact with half the effort. Cam has guided the presentations of dozens of Top 500 companies including Gilead Sciences, Walt Disney, BHP, Boost Juice, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Johnson & Johnson Medical, Nestle, Toyota and many more.

Segment Overview: In this segment, one of Australia’s most sought after public speakers Cam Barber joins the program to discuss about the ‘’Vivid Method’’ which he developed in order to train people and improve their public speaking skills. He explains what makes the ‘’Vivid Method’’ unique and what separates it from the usual public speaking techniques.


Wayne Bucklar:  You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today, I’m joined by Cam Barber. Now, some of you might recognize that name. Cam is a very well-known speaker in Australia and trainer and he’s here to talk to us about Vivid Learning and I’m interviewing him over a webcam and he’s holding up his book which is called, “What’s Your Message?” And Cam is going to tell us exactly what his message is the Vivid Method for Public Speaking. So let me stop doing an intro and instead, let him tell you story. Cam, welcome to the show.

Cam Barber:  Good day, Wayne, great to be here.

Wayne:  Now Cam, I’ve seen the vivid method information on your website. Just in a nutshell before we get into that, just fill us in on what it is you do and who you do it for?

Cam:  Well, the “Vivid Method” is a public speaking method that turns the traditional approach on its head. So the traditional approach to public speaking is let’s look at how your performance is, that’s on your body language, you got your power pose right and you got your slides right, what’s your voice sound like and so on. Those are not the most important things. The most important things are that you can think clearly and that you can get a message across. And the Vivid Method is all about teaching that process. Who do we do it for? Well, we run training courses in-house for all sorts of companies from the Melbourne Cricket Club, to Hawthorn Football Club, to IBM, etc. I coached clients on this including Janine Allis from Boost Juice, and Andrew Denton and Jules Lund and many others. So we run training courses in-house. We run every now and then a public course. We’ve got one on the 14th of August at Crown in Melbourne which is a half-day masterclass. Come along. It’ll be great. But most of our work is not public courses, it’s in-house training for corporates or associations.

Wayne:  I did see on your website some kind words that Andrew Denton had said about you and that’s the kind of testimonial that anyone would be very pleased to have. I’m a little envious.

Cam:  Well, it’s insane isn’t it? I mean Andrew Denton is one of the smartest, funniest people that Australia has ever produced. What do you want me to coach him for? And the answer to that question is illuminating because it’s the same for Janine Allis, the same for Alastair Clarkson if you know, the coach of Hawthorn Football Club in Victoria and it’s not to tell them how to act. It’s to help sort their ideas so that there’s a structure to the ideas and key messages that really resonate with the audience. And in the book, I’ll just mention again, the book is called, “What’s Your Message?” It’s an audio book Kindle, hard copy on Amazon and listen everywhere you want to get the book. In that, we have 5 key principles to think clearly and to master public speaking. And one of those principles is called the, “Closeness Problem.” It’s very important to understand that you and I and everybody has the closeness problem. And what does that mean? It means that the more involved you are in issue, the more you care about it, the more experience you have, the harder it becomes to see the perspective of one. The harder it becomes to see the perspective to somebody else who doesn’t know the issue as well as you. And that’s why everybody needs a coach or a consultant to help them give that objective viewpoint and say, “Okay, who is the audience?” And in Andrew Denton’s situation, he’d done about 18 months of research on the issue of assisted dying – euthanasia. And he was just about to pull all that together into initially a speech to launch it, run a series of podcasts to discuss the issue and he was just overwhelmed. And so we had a chat and I helped distill those key ideas. And I guess it’s important to say that if you want to be a great speaker, a great persuader, a great salesperson, you need to get really good at sorting through information and data and pulling out key messages.

Wayne:  Now, I’ve been around public speakers for a lot of years and I’ve done a bit myself in moments of madness. Why is the traditional approach to public speaking dead?

Cam:  It’s a great question. So the traditional approach, anyone who’s been to a training course, or got some advice from a boss or a well-meaning colleague, he’s probably heard things that you could put under the category of the rule or the “do’s and don’ts.” And most of those things have to do with what I call the “Performance.” So if you ever heard, “Never put your hands in your pocket,” that’s rubbish. Why not? What a silly thing? Why can’t you put your hands in your pockets? “Ah well, it makes you look informal.” Well, what’s wrong if you’re looking informal? In fact, wouldn’t it be better than having all these stiff, nervous, robotic speakers to come out and actually feel comfortable and make the audience feel comfortable, instead? Well, it’s closed body language. Now, there’s a lot of talk and I break this all down in the book where I talk about the myths, “The Seven Myths of Public Speaking” and a lot of them are built on this one dumb idea. And the dumb idea is that your body language and your nonverbal communication is more important than your words, no matter what the context. Now, can your body language be more important than your words? Yes, if your body language contradicts your words. Now if you say, “Oh, I’m really happy to be here.” But you say, “Yes, well, I’m really happy to be here.” So in that instance, there’s a contradiction and of course, you’re giving away what’s actually going on in your mind. But to say to somebody you’ve got to learn these 5 elements of body language that are open gestures and power pose because if you don’t do that, none will take you seriously, forces on people a robotic approach, confuses them because it says you can’t be yourself. Don’t be yourself, you can’t be yourself. What if you put your hands in your pockets by mistake? What a disaster. So I break those down and show people that really 95% of the time, particularly when you’re clearing your head, your body language will flow naturally from your clarity about your audience, about your key messages and it will therefore be beautiful. Now, if you say to me then, “Because this often comes up.” Well, what is the best body language then? What is the best? There’s no answer. Anthony Robbins runs around punching his chest. He’s a mad extrovert. Tom Peters is still on the public speaking circle in the top ten since 1985 and his first book was called, “In Search of Excellence” since published notes and one of the great books since then. And he just walks off the stage, walks around the audience and shouts at them, “China! India!” So there’s different style. Then you got Stephen Covey who wrote the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – quiet, soft-spoken and introvert, but believable. Have a look at Elon Musk. Elon Musk of Tesla is a tremendous example. He’s nervous on stage, he looks awkward with his body languages all over the shop but he delivers you these messages that you just have to tell somebody. We’re putting a Tesla on a rocket and sending it to Mars. So his ability to craft messages that we all talk about supersedes any of that body language rubbish. Pardon me for being so aggressive. Another example using the book is Richard Branson. Richard Branson is a messaging genius yet, he’s awkward. He talks about how he gets nervous, he says, “I’m … all the time. It doesn’t matter.” And you know who I’ve been talking about lately and this is a risky thing to do, Wayne. Do you know who’s a messaging expert?

Wayne:  I’m really hiding the idea that you’re gonna say Donald Trump. You just said Donald Trump. I’ve had declared I was never mentioning that man on air.

Cam:  He exists and he won the presidential election and we have to go through and say, “How the hell did that happen?” And I’ve got a theory and it’s in a podcast. There are also some “What’s your Message Podcast?”  that free, they’re on iTunes and everywhere else. Just Google What’s Your Message Podcast? or Cam Barber Podcast. And there’s one on Donald Trump. I think this one was published in December and it’s entitled, Donald Trump is a Messaging Genius. And one way that I can identify or justify or explain how Trump won the election is through what I call the “Messaging Lens.” And it’s simply to go up to people and say, “Okay, there were two candidates – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. How many messages can you remember from Hillary Clinton’s campaign?” Most people say, “None.” And some people can sort of loosely remember one or two whereas when you ask the same question, “Are there any messages you remember from the Trump campaign?” You tend to get a long list of answers and make America great, build the wall, drain the swamp in Washington, cut red tape, be good for business, stop the international wars and so on. In fact just on that, so Trump in an interesting thing with the wall story because there were two levels to that. So first he said, “I’m gonna build a wall.” which was a very short way of stating his position in comparison to everybody else who was using long sentences and saying, “Immigration reform is important because blah, blah, blah, blah.” He just came up and said, “I wanna build a wall.” And see, the thing too is when he’s speaking messages, you know when to shut up, you know when to stop talking so there’s more certainty in your voice as a result. But the funny thing or the interesting thing about the wall is that he came out in later and he said, “Not only we’re gonna build a wall, Mexico will pay for it.” Now of course, that got lots of people talking but guess what they were talking about? They were talking about how much the wall will cost? How long is the wall? Who will pay for it? Will Mexico really pay for it? Guess what? That’s called, “Speaking Past to Sale” because now  they’re talking about the wall as it’s a real thing.

Wayne:  And the assumption is that the walls just fait accompli.

Cam:  That’s right. We’ve got a wall now. We’re just discussing the details. It’s very clever messaging.

Wayne:  You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My guest today is Cam Barber of Vivid Learning and we’ve been talking about the significance of the “Vivid Method” in public speaking and particularly the messaging involved. Cam, why a messaging skill so important? I get that we can recall what Donald Trump said and I understand that if you’re trying to win the election, why are they important in public speaking for business people?

Cam:  Because if you want to be remembered, if you want your idea to be remembered, if you want your product to be thought about when the decision is being made a day later or a week later, you’ve got to be good at messaging. I’ll give you an example. Yesterday, I attended David Allen’s, “Getting Things Done Seminar.” So Getting Things Done is the productivity book. It sold 2 million copies. It’s great. But like a lot of books, like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, like many books, it’s really long. There are 280 pages and there’s a lot to it. But it still works because David Allen has distilled 5 or 6 key messages that help you remember all the key points. I’ll give you an example. He says, “Mind like water.” and then he tells a story about the fact that mind like water is a jiu jitsu term that he learned when he was doing martial arts that says, “You’ve got to clear your mind of everything so you’re focused on the present moment.” because if you’re not and you’re doing jiu jitsu, you’re gonna get beaten up. But in terms of productivity, it doesn’t matter how many lists you’ve got. If your mind isn’t clear when you’re doing your work, you won’t be productive. So “Mind like Water” is this beautiful memorable key that unlocks the detail. He also says, “There are no problems, only projects.” Do you love it?

Wayne:  I do.

Cam:  This is messaging, this is the stuff you repeat to your friends at a dinner party, to your child when they’re growing up. So you distill your product, your idea into a memorable message, you’ll have a hundred times the impact and a hundred times the recall than if you don’t.

Wayne:  That’s a very powerful way of looking at it. Cam, we’re running out of time but can you just tell me, have you ever written a book?

Cam:  It’s funny you should ask that Wayne. Yes. The book is called, “What’s Your Message” and it’s beautiful. It explains the problems with the traditional approach to public speaking. It gives examples from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Janine Allis, Jules Lund, Andrew Denton and so on. And then it lays out in three parts – the Vivid Method for Public Speaking – how to control nerves, how to think clearly and how to engage an audience.

Wayne:  Cam, I’m pleased that you’ve written a book. Otherwise, that question would have fallen completely flat. Tell me, how can people reach out to you?

Cam:  So we have a website at You can find a bunch of cool free stuff there from podcasts to a template to help plan the outline of your speech. And simply, go to Amazon and buy the book, write a review, listen to the audiobook version as well.

Wayne:  Cam, it’s been a pleasure having you with us. Thanks for making yourself available today.

Cam:  That’s a pleasure. Good to talk to you Wayne.

Wayne:  Now, if you just joined us on Business Radio Talkers.FM, you’ve just missed me in a chat with Cam Barber. And Cam is the CEO and Founder of Vivid Learning and he’s a speaker, trainer and author and the message is, he is the message man. It’s a very important conversation because messaging is critically important. And if you’ve just missed it, well, I’m sorry but I have good news for you. If you’re a reader, you can read a transcript of the interview on our website. But given that this is radio then you’re probably a radio listener, so we have an audio archive of the whole interview and that’s on iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube and you can treat it just like a mini podcast and download it and listen to it at your leisure. All of those links and resources including Cam’s website are available on our website at Talkers.FM. If you’re listening to us on social media, please remember all those buttons, and boxes and smiley faces at the bottom of the window. Click on them, share us, like us. We appreciate knowing you’re there. If you’ve got questions, ask the questions in any of the social media channels and we’ll pass them on to Cam for you. My name is Wayne Bucklar and you’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM.

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