Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD
Creating an Irresistible Brand Through Powerful Storytelling
Updated: Aug 23, 2022
Note: transcription provided by Otter.AI, which is a technology company that develops speech-to text transcription and translation applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome, everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, my mission as a podcaster and the host is to empower you to achieve different types of freedom, including financial, emotional, time, and location freedom. And in doing that mission, I always bring in guests that are on the cutting edge, doing really out of the box things and living life on their own terms and embodying those four principles. So today, we have Tyler Foley. And he's really interesting because he's a public speaker. He's an author, and he's had a lot of experience in media and acting. And I think you'll have a lot to benefit from his insights and wisdom on this show. So Tyler, welcome.
Tyler Foley: Oh, thank you for having me on. Christopher. I've been looking forward to it, actually.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, we connected on PodMatch. And we talked a little bit backstage, and I find your story really interesting, which is why I invited you on the podcast. And so you know, briefly tell people about your backstory and how you got into what you're doing. And we'll go from there.
Tyler Foley: Well, it's, yeah, it's a very circuitous journey, I will put it that way. I started acting when I was six years old, I was very lucky to start off early. It's the kind of thing that you know, experience trumps all, you can have all the talent in the world, but they're going to trust the person who has the experience over talent. Every time, talent gets into the audition. But it's an experience that usually books you the gig. So I've been very lucky in my career that I've had a very long career. And when I was around 25-26, I kind of became jaded and complacent. Because at that point, I'd had the career for 20 years. So I did what most people do at the end of their 20 year career. And I retired, I just got to do that at 25.
I retired from acting and went and got an engineering discipline, and specialized in geomatics. So I studied Earth, and I started my own photogrammetry firm. And for people who don't know if you've ever turned on a satellite view on Google Maps, the pictures of the ground is what I created. And that study is called photogrammetry. And so I studied photogrammetry, and cartography, and made picture maps for a little bit. But that was a beautiful business to be into, because it blended a lot of my passions. I really, really love geography. I really enjoy aircraft. And so I had a fleet of three planes, we were flying aerial photography, and LIDAR. And we were one of the first aerial survey firms to get a digital camera certified for aerial photography. It was a really exciting time for me.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoy the practice of geomatics, I was not a good businessman at the time, and that business failed. But when you're in that line of work, your primary client is the government. The government always insists that you have a health and safety program in place. So I had to take a whole bunch of safety training in order to have these programs that met government requirements. And when the business collapsed, a good friend of mine, who is a far better business man than I am, reached out to me and said, Listen, I need a safety officer. And you have all this safety training from running your business. And if you take these three extra courses, which I will pay for, you can get your National Construction Safety Officer designation. And I said, Well, that sounds interesting.
So I did that, and became his safety manager on a very, very large nine figure, construction build with multi multi players and multinational interests, and I was exposed to some incredibly influential and interesting people. And while I was there, they found out that I used to act and they would listen to me do my toolbox talks. And one day, a gentleman asked me if I'd be interested in giving a keynote presentation at his company. And I said, Absolutely. What is the keynote? And he explained to me what it was, I was like, oh, yeah, I could talk for 45 minutes. That's easy.
So I put together a presentation talking about how my time in film, and particularly the times where I got to do stunts, was the safest job that I had. And without any hyperbole or exaggeration, that really was, literally jumping out of a six story window, was safer than anything else that I've ever done in my career. And that became a very popular thing. And I had a lot of people come to me and say, Well, how do you do that? And so I would explain, I'm like, well, it's really easy. These are how you put together talks. And the next thing I knew, I had six and seven figure executives, asking me to coach them privately, on how to get better presentations and feel more confident, which I always thought was hilarious.
These guys and women are phenomenal human beings, doing amazing things and making millions of dollars every year, and they don't have the confidence to stand up in front of people and talk. And from that, I created a really interesting training program. And from the training program, I launched the book. And so now I have The Power to Speak Naked, which is a number one best selling book. And I get to speak very regularly around the world, and do my three day and five day seminars and workshops, and teach people how to speak from stage more confidently.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I love that story. And it just goes to show you, you can use all the experiences and then formulate and create a career of your own. I have a lot of friends that are public speakers, musicians, and it's just fascinating to see them travel the world and influence people. Your book title is very interesting. So I had some questions about public speaking, but we'll talk about your book. So tell us about the thesis of it, and we'll get more into the meat.
Tyler Foley: Well, my, my book is a nonfiction book, and it didn't really have a thesis so much as a theme. And that theme was that most people prepare for public speaking wrong. If you were typically, particularly people who are just starting out public speaking or have been asked to do it and haven't had any kind of formal training around it, they're going to spend the majority of their time trying to memorize lines and lines and lines and pages and pages of dialogue. And that serves absolutely no one. It doesn't serve you, it doesn't serve your audience, and locks you into a script. And I usually like to explain it as a trip, right?
We want to take our audience on a journey. And when you lock yourself into memorizing pages and pages of dialogue. I live in Calgary, and so I want to take my daughter to Disney World. So we've got to get from Calgary to Orlando. And if I memorize the script, it's like saying that I am going to fly on Air Canada flight 2256, from Calgary to MCO. That is how I'm getting there. And the problem with that is: Could it work? Absolutely. It could. But what if the flight goes mechanical? What if they don't have a direct flight from Calgary to Orlando? What if my daughter gets sick, and we can't travel across the border, particularly right now. Right?
When we lock ourselves into this one track, this one path we're on, we're literally on a train. And now we can't get off until we reach our end destination, where what we want to do is know that we need to go on the journey. And it's taking our audience on the journey that's the most important thing. And so being free, to know that we need to end up in Orlando, but how we get there is up to each individual audience and each individual presentation. So maybe I will take the plane because we only have x amount of time, and we need to get there quickly. Right? So those are going to be your quick five and 10 minute presentations. Usually at some kind of a networking event. You got to get the information there and you got to get it quickly.
But you may need to take a bit of a detour. And what I show people to do is, you don't need to memorize a script, because if you've been asked to speak you are the expert, you know that material better than anybody else. Even if there's other people in your field that are doing that very same thing. You are the person who was asked to do it, and we never ask the second best to do these things. We ask the best. So you are the expert, your audience is on your side. They want to hear that information, your job is to deliver it in a way that has an impact. And when you lock yourself into a script, everybody's heard it, right? They hear that in your voice when you have this thing that you have locked into your mind. And these are the words that you will say, and you're like, oh, Stop, just stop. Stop now. And what happens is, it just becomes rote dictation. And that's how it sounds when you deliver it, even when you are trained like I am.
There's still the difference between free flow conversation and scripted response. And that's where you really want to find freedom. So most of the book, and when people read through The Power to Speak Naked, it's a very quick read, it's 10 chapters, 136 pages, that goes very quickly. According to my publisher, on the back, it's read time is 114 minutes. So you're not even two hours to read this book. Most of what it does is cover the proper prep work. Mindset; understanding your material, not your script, understanding your audience's needs, so that you can serve them by focusing on them, instead of you finding ways to relax, your audience relaxes you on how to engage and re-engage your audience. A lot of those things come down to mental prep work, and 90% of our prep work happens prior to the talk. But so many people waste that time preparing incorrectly. And I try to show them the way.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, it’s interesting, because just when you think about giving presentations, you feel like you have to memorize this slide, and it almost feels very constrictive and restrictive. And then when you do what you're describing, like impromptu, and just kind of a thematic approach and serving the audience, it gives you a more freer, lighter feeling.
Tyler Foley: Well, and that's the thing too, especially with PowerPoint, because now you're locked into a set, set of slides and presentation. And I have, honestly, I've been on stage now almost four decades. And I have seen very, very few people who have successfully used a slide deck. Off the top of my head, Phil Towne, who is an investment guru, runs Rule One Investing is phenomenal. But he jumps around his slide deck, like that's like he has his presentation. But if you watch him use it, he's going backwards and forwards and he'll skip slides. He knows his slide deck, but he uses it as a for what slide decks are supposed to be for. They're just graphics, almost no text. And he uses it to show examples and support what the story is that he's telling. The presentation is not the slide deck, the presentation is his talking. And then the slide deck supports it.
And then the other person that I've seen do it phenomenally, obviously is Tony Robbins. But he again is not locked into a slide deck. And he doesn't even control his slide deck. He has a paid team on the back riser, who know his stories and his content and material. And as he brings things up, they're searching through slides. So they have a deck of slides, but they're not in any particular order. So if he's telling a story about Robin Williams, they'll bring up a picture of Robin Williams. If he's bringing up one of his main points. He has word graphics that have been created, but they're only ever three or four words, and his team will bring it up.
He's actually not doing it. He's just riffing on the fly, and he has a team that brings up the slide deck. And that's actually one of the reasons why the book is called The Power to Speak Naked, is because I believe that people should be able to give a naked presentation, in that they don't have a slide deck, they don't have a PowerPoint. They don't have props. They don't even need A/V, right? I can come into the boardroom right now and give a very powerful presentation. As long as I know who my audience is and what my constraints are. As far as time and presentation materials. I don't need anything. Can a presentation be made better and be supported by these things? Absolutely. But only if done correctly. Like when I do my presentation. My slide deck is five slides, zero text, and they're all images.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Oh, yeah, that's awesome. And one thing I've actually noticed is that a lot of public speakers now don't give keynotes. Now a lot of it's like, roundtable. So it's kind of like a fireside chat discussion. And, and what's interesting is, I feel like it's more dynamic and more impromptu. And you can the listener can pick out themes and you know, key points and takeaways just from being there. So that's interesting.
Tyler Foley: And I think, again, where that is stemming from is the mastermind idea, the jump to. Where we are more than the sum of our parts. And you can feed off of ideas, and you can support ideas. And the other thing too, in a format like that, you can have very civil debate. So you can have two opposing views, and it doesn't have to be combative. You can bring forward different viewpoints. And everybody's an expert, therefore, no one person is wrong. And you can say, well, that is an interesting idea. Very similar, I got challenged on stage about a year ago, saying that nobody actually is afraid of public speaking. And there I got well, there's statistics on this: 77% of Americans are going to have some form of anxiety around public speaking. And I said, No, no, no, no, no, they think they have anxiety around public speaking.
But if we actually were afraid to speak in public, which is what we're stating, when we say we're afraid of public speaking, commerce, as we know, would collapse. There is absolutely no way that you and I could go to a restaurant and order food if we were legitimately afraid to speak in public, because the restaurant is a public space. And if we were afraid to speak to strangers, we wouldn't be able to order if we didn't know our waitstaff, and I don't know most of the waitstaff that I go to any restaurant for particularly with the amount that I travel. So if you can go to a restaurant and you don't know your waitstaff, and you were able to order food and have that come to your table, you were able to speak in public. You were able to speak to a complete stranger. And you were able to ask for what you want and receive it. So this notion that we're afraid to speak in public, or we're afraid to speak to strangers, or we're afraid to ask for what we want, is null and void. If anybody has ever been to a restaurant.
And I can already hear your audience. I already know I already know where it goes, where they're like, no, no, no, whoa, wait, wait, wait, wait, Tyler. When I'm ordering food in a restaurant, people aren't looking at me. And trust me, if they were looking at me, I wouldn't open my mouth. And to that, I say, Great, then let's acknowledge that you are not afraid of public speaking. What you're afraid of, is public judgment. You're afraid that when you speak, if people are looking at you, that they will judge you for the words that you say. And when we acknowledge that, then I can help you. But if you're going to sit and claim that you're afraid of public speaking, I can't help you. Because if you're afraid to speak in public, I am not a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, there is no way that I can overcome that fear. But what I can do is help you overcome the fear of public judgment, because that's a real easy one to tackle. Particularly with the first couple of things that I noted; you are the expert and your audience is on your side.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. It's so interesting. Let’s say there’s someone in their career profession, and they want to start being a thought leader or influencer or a public speaker, how can they start? What's the best way to just get started?
Tyler Foley: Today, start telling people that you want to do it. Because here's the thing, that statistic is not wrong. If we were to pull a room right now, if there were four people in the room, three of them are gonna say, I'm not going to get up on stage and speak. So if you can be that one out of every four, you're already a step ahead. And if you let people know, they're going to very gladly hand that baton off to you. So the first thing is to start saying, this is the thing that I want to do.
The next thing is to start looking for help in getting better with that, in training, whether that's something like me, or if you just want to get some practice in, finding a thing like Toastmasters or local speaking clubs because they're everywhere too. And then once you start developing a talk and you're really confident, and maybe not even before you're really confident, start gaining confidence in it. Once you have an idea for a talk that you'd like to present. It is a simple internet search, call for presentations, call for speakers. And put in whatever topic it is that you want to be talking about. And then you can get even more granular and say, these are the cities that I would like to go to.
I wanted to speak in Houston because I wanted to take my daughter to NASA, because she was entirely fascinated with space. So I literally did call for presentations, Houston, and ironically enough, found a call for presentations to be presented at Mission Control. I put together a proposal, and I got to fly down to Houston and speak at Mission Control. And I've got a beautiful picture of it. It's super fun, because I'm standing next to an actual, real, gone to space, space suit. And I'm at mission control at the Johnson Space Center. And that is just one of the highlights of my career. And it sounds difficult until you start delving into it. And, particularly if you want to step forward and say that you want to do it, because nobody wants to. So there are always opportunities to speak even at your professional associations. And I know your audience is primarily doctors, I assure you, there are multiple professional associations for doctors, and always presentations.
I actually helped my wife's ophthalmologist, my wife had scoliosis in her eye, and her retina was detaching. And my wife is young. She's in her mid 30s right now. And this is typically a thing that doctors don't see developing until people are in their 60s or 70s. And she's a super, super, super rare case. And my doctor was like, I've only seen this once in my career prior, and it was like 25 years ago. And he wanted to make her a case study. We were chatting about it. And he's like, I'm actually terrified to talk. And I'm like, Really, I can help you with that. So he already knows the conference that he wants to go speak at. This is a perfect case study for him to do it. He just needed the confidence to go up and do it. I literally gave him a copy of the book, signed it. And I said here, do you want to work one on one? Let me know. And I'll give you a pretty good discount, because my wife can see because of you. And so the opportunities, particularly in the medical field are quite literally endless.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. I've looked through your material. And it looks like you teach clients the power of story telling a compelling story and discovering audiences. So it's been a fascinating discussion. I've always really admired people that were public speakers full time. Because it's just, it's so fascinating how you're basically pitching your personal brand and your message to others. It's not a product or service, you're pitching a message. So it's really interesting how you can make a full time career out of that.
Tyler Foley: Yeah, we're, we're essentially teachers that go out and do a roadshow. And that's really the key to it, it's not necessarily pitching me. I've created an idea, and I am my brand. But what I'm pitching is really lessons. And particularly with mine, it's showing people that they do have a story, that there is a power behind the story, and that they have the ability to move an audience with their presentation. And then once we've unlocked that, then it becomes really fun. And that's where I get the most satisfaction out of it.
I'm not doing it to stroke the ego of Tyler Foley, I'm doing it to ensure that other people understand that they can have impact with their words, and can really make a change. If I can teach my wife's doctor how to present this very interesting case study, and he shows somebody else. So the next time another 30 year old woman comes in and is in danger of losing her eyesight, which could drastically impact her career and her family life. That doctor will go, oh, I remember hearing about this at this conference, I can reach out to this doctor. Now I have the tools and I'm equipped with the ability to address this issue. So by me showing my wife's doctor how to better present this to a conference. Hopefully, I can have a little bit of influence in helping somebody else so that they don't lose their sight. And that's why I do it.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: This has been wonderful. I've really enjoyed talking with you as an individual and as a guest. I know a lot of people, be interested in you. How do they learn about you and possibly work with you?
Tyler Foley: Well, the best thing that they can do is to go to my website, seantylerfoley.com. And Sean is spelled the proper Irish way, Sean. And there that's going to have every way of getting a hold of me. But I would ask, I would ask a favor of your audience, Christopher. And that is, if they are listening to financial freedom for physicians quite regularly, before they come to my website, because that requires them to stop what they're doing right now and go to it. They're already on the platform right now. They're listening to you, whether that's on YouTube or your other podcast channels. Hit pause right now, on whatever you're doing, and give Financial Freedom for Physicians a five star review? And if you're willing to do that, and be specific too, like, what was an episode that you found interesting, maybe it was the discussion with Dr. Bonnie when she was talking about entrepreneurship? Or any one of those other episodes like, is there a specific episode that that brought interest to you like, Why? Why do you come back and listen to this podcast time and time again, and if you can give a really detailed review of the podcast that will help Dr. Loo bring on better guests that serve your needs, and you know, guests like myself.
And if you can do that, if your audience is willing to do that, for me, Christopher, I would, as a gift to them. And as a thank you for them giving you a five star review. If they come over to SeanTylerFoley.com. I will give them a right at the top of the page, they can click on it. And I will invite them into Endless Stages, which is my free Facebook group. And if they go through the website, as opposed to just searching for it on Facebook, as a as a bonus gift, I'm going to give them a free PDF download of my book, The Power to Speak Naked, will give them access to my Drop the Mic Trainer Series, which is a series of seven videos that give them an introduction into public speaking.
And as a member of the Endless Stages Facebook group, I go live every Tuesday for 20 minutes at 12PM PST / 3PM EST, and do a live training from whatever topic happens to be buzzing around the Facebook group that week. And that's a really great way for people to get introduced and get some free training, start to find their message, start to find confidence in public speaking, so it would be my gift to them, if they come to SeanTylerFoley.com. But only if they're willing to hit pause right now give Financial Freedom for Physicians a five star review and then if they're willing to do that, I'm more than happy to give them on my end.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome, awesome. For all the guests and listeners, Tyler's resources and links will be included in the show notes. And you know, it's been a great discussion and we hope to have you on the podcast as a guest in the future.
Tyler Foley: Anytime, just reach out, it would be my joy.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.