Feb. 9, 2023

15. Extroverts Don’t Need Any Help

15. Extroverts Don’t Need Any Help

How are your communication skills these days?  No, I don’t mean public speaking or standing up to make a presentation.  How are you communicating with your spouse, your children, and your postman?  Brenden Kumarasamy, the founder of MasterTalk and top communications coach, shares some simple tips for us all. He’s a blast, by the way.  His comments on introverts are hilarious (and I’m one!)

About Brenden:
Brenden is the founder of MasterTalk, he coaches ambitious executives & entrepreneurs to become top 1% communicators in their industry. He also has a popular YouTube channel called MasterTalk, with the goal of providing free access to communication tools for everyone in the world.

 Personal comment:
This episode was great fun. Brenden gets his golden nuggets of information across so clearly and with plenty of self-deprecating humour.  I hope you find his tips helpful and that they bring a smile to your face.  Thanks Brenden.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brendenkumarasamy/
Website: https://www.rockstarcommunicator.com/

Last week's episode

[Episode 16] Edmund, Churchill and Thatcher - Have you ever wondered if Margaret Thatcher ever met Sir Winston Churchill?  If you search, you’ll find that nobody really knows.  However, one person does know; Edmund Murray, Churchill’s last bodyguard.  Also, What happened when Winston Churchill demanded to see his bodyguard’s latest paintings?

Next week's episode

[Episode 18] Double Trouble - Can you imagine what it’s like to breathe through someone else’s lungs?  Alastair Henry does.  In 2020 he had a double lung transplant at the age of 75. He’s only too aware of his responsibility to the donor, to make the best of this gift of extra life. Alastair shares his story and thoughts on organ donation.


Contact Batting the Breeze:
- Email us at steve@battingthebreeze.com
- Chat with us on Facebook

Thanks for listening!


[00:00:00] Brenden: Introverts are masters at the pause once again. They live in silence, so it's really easy for them to pause, whereas me when I'm at an event, a party, a bar, and the conversation goes numb for like two seconds, I immediately start fidgeting and I go, "So what's your [00:00:20] favorite colour, Steve?" [00:00:40] [00:01:00]

[00:01:03] Brenden: I grew up in... Montreal, in Canada, and it's a city where you need to know how to speak French, which is a language I didn't know. My parents immigrated from Sri Lanka in the early nineties, and I got really lucky in life. I got the golden ticket.

[00:01:15] Steve: This is Brenden Kumarasamy. He's an [00:01:20] expert in communication. One of the main reasons I run the Batting and the Breeze podcast is to meet people and listen to their stories. It's all about communication. So we got chatting. Now, before you switch off, because you think this is bound to be all about public [00:01:40] speaking, giving presentations, and so on, just hang on because communication's for everyone, for always, and I think you'll find something in here for you. But anyway, back to Brenden.

[00:01:53] Brenden: So I was born in a first world country like Canada. I grew up with a little sister, two parents, both of 'em were factory workers. [00:02:00] And we live in a nice home in a suburb near Montreal called Laval. And what's fun about Laval is if you spell Laval backwards, it also spells Laval.

[00:02:08] Steve: Ah, yes, the palindrome. It can be a word or number or phrase or any kind of sequence that reads the same backwards as [00:02:20] forwards. Simple names such as Anna, Otto, Hannah, Ava... are palindromes. It gets more fun with phrases. Believe it or not, "Mr. Owl ate my metal worm" is a palindrome, as is, "Was it [00:02:40] a car or a cat I saw?" and don't start me on "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama". That's a palindrome too. Anyway, sorry Brenden. How did he get into the business of coaching communications?

[00:02:59] Brenden: And the [00:03:00] answer is it was an accident. I went to business school for accounting of all things, so I wasn't really looking to be a communication professional by any means. I was looking to be a numbers guy, so that's what I studied. But during my studies, I started competing in these things called Case Competitions. Think of it like professional sports, Steve, but for [00:03:20] nerds. While other guys my age were playing rugby or footy or cricket or some other sport, you probably wouldn't see me playing, I did presentations competitively and that's how I learned how to speak. But then as I got older, I started coaching all the other students on how to communicate ideas, and I accidentally got really good [00:03:40] at it. And that's what led to MasterTalk, the YouTube channel specifically because I felt that the information wasn't really available for free on the internet. So I just started making videos in my basement, and then a few years later it turned into something I never could have imagined.

[00:03:53] Brenden: I asked Brenden to clarify how this subject applies to someone who no longer gets [00:04:00] called up for public speaking duties or perhaps never did, and who just talks more or less with friends and family in very informal situations. It's a great question. You know, for me, communication is so much more than speaking on a stage or being in a boardroom. I think that's a very small use case. The most important [00:04:20] one is our life, the way we lead our lives. Communication's the way we talk to our family. It's the way that we raise our children. It's the way that we make new friends. It's every facet of who we are. So if you don't know how to communicate properly, we won't have a great life or as good of a life as we should.

[00:04:38] Steve: Okay, so [00:04:40] bearing in mind that this is a 10-minute podcast, I challenged Brendan to give me a 10-minute crash course in how to communicate better in, let's call them 'normal' situations; whether it's talking to a shopkeeper, making an introduction in the dining room to the local book club,[00:05:00] perish the thought attending a job interview, or going to a party full of strangers. And the one proviso was that ongoing training shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes a day.

Communication [00:05:20] is like juggling 18 balls at the same time. One of those balls is eye contact. One of them is body language, storytelling and the list gets really exhausting really quickly. So for me the question has always been, "What are the three easiest balls to juggle?" Because if we can juggle those three balls that I call my "Easy Threes", [00:05:40] we can build up momentum for communication really rapidly. So let's go into them.

[00:05:47] Brenden: Number one, the random word exercise. Pick a word like tissue box, like 'phone', like 'candy bar'. Create random presentations out of thin air. This serves two main purposes: [00:06:00] The first one is it helps us deal with uncertainty because guess what, life is filled with it. I'll give you an example. Let's say we're at a bar, we're at a party, we're meeting somebody new. When we talk to that person, we have no idea how the conversation is going to go. We don't go to that conversation and say, "Hey, by the way, Steve... these are the [00:06:20] questions we're gonna ask each other. And these are the responses... pre-tabled and curated for this conversation". Let's start the conversation. So if you can talk about avocados for 30 seconds, you could talk about anything to anyone for 30 seconds. The second purpose is if you can make sense out of nonsense, you could make sense out of anything. So that's exercise number one. Five words. [00:06:40] Five minutes. That's it. Do with your kids. Do it in the shower. You'll get a lot better at this.

[00:06:44] Brenden: Number two, the question drill. We get asked questions all the time in our lives, at the coffee store, at work, at school, from our families. But most of us are reactive to those [00:07:00] questions. Were not proactive. I'll give you a fun example with me. A few years ago when I started guesting on podcasts, I sucked. I remember some guy came up to me and said, where does the fear of communication come from? And I looked at him and I said, "Uh, London, probably Germany, maybe it's Berlin. So I'm not really sure." So I didn't answer it properly. So what [00:07:20] did I do instead? Every single day for five minutes, that's it, I answered one question that I thought the world would ask me about my life, and people could use this in different ways. Questions your spouse is asking you, questions your work is asking you, and if you can pre-answer those questions, the world will become your oyster. [00:07:40] That's number two.


[00:07:44] Brenden: Number three of my 'Easy Threes' is sending video messages and no, I'm not asking everyone listening to this to be an influencer. I'm not asking people to post on social media, but what I am asking is write down on a piece of paper the three to five people you love [00:08:00] the most in your life. When was the last time you sent them a twenty second video message to say, "Hey, I'm really grateful to have you in my life. Thanks for being here." And if we did just these three Easy Threes, our communication skills would improve rapidly.


[00:08:15] Steve: So far so good, but I pushed Brenden a little further.[00:08:20] While we're practicing practice our Easy Threes, what are the specifics we should consider during each to ensure we really are improving? Brenden promptly produced his Five Speaking Tips.


[00:08:40] Brenden: Number one is pausing. Pausing the most important skillset to every communicator because it allows us to emphasize key points in our message. So instead of just rambling and rambling and rambling, we pause so that it draws people's attention to what you're about to say. We all have that [00:09:00] friend, Steve, in our life who just keeps talking and tells us a story, and we're like, "What's the point of the story? Like he just keeps talking . It doesn't stop." So don't be that friend in people's lives. That's number one.

[00:09:10] Brenden: Number two is eye contact. So eye contact is a little bit different in the real world than it is online. So in the real world, what you wanna do is you wanna [00:09:20] look at people directly in the eyes. And if you're presenting to a small group of people, you move your eyes around and your body around to look at the different people in the crowd. Online's a bit different where regardless of who you're speaking to,you always wanna keep your eyes on the camera lens so it gives the illusion that you're looking at everyone. And it's not perfect, even I don't do [00:09:40] this a hundred percent of the time, but just that knowing that really helps us. That's number two.

[00:09:45] Brenden: Number three is posture. So posture just means don't slouch whenever you're giving a presentation. Whenever you're talking to somebody, you don't wanna slouch, 'cause if you slouch and your body language is really down, it gives [00:10:00] people the illusion that you're not really confident in what you're saying.

[00:10:07] Brenden: Number four is audience mastery. The best communicators understand their audiences at a level that sometimes they don't even understand themselves. I'll give you a great example of what I [00:10:20] mean here: Let's say you're with a significant other and you're debating between Mexican food and Chinese food and you love Chinese food and you hate Mexican food. Whereas what a lot of people do in the situation, , they go to their significant other and go, "I wanna eat chinese food 'cause this is what I love and this is what we have and let's go get it. And it's incredible. I don't want Mexican food." That's actually [00:10:40] the wrong way to communicate that message. The right way is to understand how do we be more empathetic to the other person we're speaking to? So instead, the conversation shifts from "me me me" to "we we we". "Hey babe, we should totally get Chinese food tonight. The dumplings are 50% off and [00:11:00] I know how much you love that specific dumpling at that place, and I'll order for us. You don't have to worry about it. What you say?" So that person's on your side, 'cause you're not making it about you, you're making it about them. So that's number four.

[00:11:11] Brenden: And then finally, number five is facial expressions. The way that you convey your message through your face. When you [00:11:20] smile a little bit, it goes a long way. Whereas a mistake a lot of people make when they communicate is they look really stale. So they're facials and their vocal tone variety's super monotone. " Hey everybody. I'm really excited". It's like, "Well, you don't feel exciting to me. I don't believe you." There's a misalignment between the words that you're talking about versus [00:11:40] how your audience is perceiving you, even if it's an audience of one. So those would be the five speaking tips.

[00:11:44] Steve: I mentioned to Brenden that quite a lot of my editing for this podcast involves removing filler words: "Uh". "Um". "You know what I [00:12:00] mean?" "Right". "You know". Where does this fit in with his five speaking tips?

So the way that we do it differently is by replacing the filler words with pauses, which is one of the first tips we shared. We replace our filler words with the pausing, and that's what the best communicators on the planet do. They aren't smarter than us, [00:12:20] it's just whenever they wanna buy time to think, they just look at the camera or look at the person and pause for two seconds and just keep talking.

[00:12:28] Steve: Is there an introvert extrovert angle to this story?

[00:12:32] Brenden: Absolutely. Let's focus more on the introvert angle, 'cause I don't think the extroverts need any help. Introverts often feel that they're not as good as [00:12:40] extroverts, which is actually not true. So let's jump into that myth and break it. What are the three strengths?

[00:12:45] Brenden: Number one listening. Introverts speak less on average, factually. So naturally they'll listen more on average, they're more thoughtful. Whereas me, I make a great guest 'cause all I do is I ramble all the time. I'm always talking. [00:13:00] So because of that, I have trouble listening. So introverts are really good at getting to the core of somebody's message and adapting it for their presentation. That's one.

[00:13:10] Brenden: Number two, introverts are masters at the pause once again. They live in silence, so it's really easy for [00:13:20] them to pause, whereas me when I'm at an event, a party, a bar, and the conversation goes numb for like two seconds, I immediately start fidgeting and I go, "So what's your favorite colour, Steve?" I can't live in the silence like an introvert can. Like an introvert can just read a book and just go happily and do nothing the whole day.

[00:13:38] Brenden: And number [00:13:40] three, Steve, is introverts are much more accessible as communicators than extroverts. What does that mean? Let's take two people as an example here. Let's say Gary Vaynerchuk, Brené Brown.

[00:13:52] Steve: In case you haven't heard of these two names, Gary Vaynerchuk is a Belarusian-born American, [00:14:00] originally known as a wine critic, CEO of Vayner Media and now a massive personal brand right across social media. Brené Brown is also a very popular American, known for her research on courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. So Brenden [00:14:20] started with Gary Vee.

You either love him or you hate him. So there's no middle ground with this individual. Like whenever you look him up online, he's always yelling at something. So if you're more introvert, you go, "Oh my God, I don't wanna hear this guy talk." And if you're more a little bit more crazy like me, you go, "Yeah, I love this guy". But nobody says that about Brené Brown [00:14:40] because she's more introverted. She has a lighter touch whenever she communicates a message. And those are the benefits. The message is - understand your strengths as an introvert and triple-down on them.

[00:14:50] Steve: Wow! That was a bit of a whirlwind, wasn't it? You may need to listen to this episode a few times. I like what Brenden has to say, [00:15:00] and I love the energy with which he gets his message across. If you go with the Easy Threes for a month, remembering Brenden's five speaking tips, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more to explore with Brenden. [00:15:20] Check out the show notes. As the extrovert in this conversation, let's leave the last word to Brenden.

Brenden:The way that we get better at communication is not by focusing on the fear, but rather spent on saying, " What is exciting to me in life?" Because communication is an amplifier of our dreams. If you know how [00:15:40] to talk better, you'll get all the job opportunities you want. You'll have all the friendships that you want. You'll be able to travel, talk to strangers that you've never met in your life, and build a lifelong friendship with them, you'll be able to order dinner at a restaurant, and the waiter goes, "Wow, these people are so nice to me", [00:16:00] and the whole world unlocks for you.

 [00:16:20] [00:16:40]