Tricia Brouk works in the entertainment industry and applies her expertise as a director and writer for film, television and theater to the art of Big Talks. She’s written two musicals, a play, a sitcom pilot, a feature film, and is the organizer of TEDx Lincoln Square. She also hosts the podcast The Big Talk on iTunes.
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3 Value Bombs
1) Repetition and practice are key to getting better.
2) Be willing to ask for help from people who know more about a topic than you.
3) Don’t be somebody you’re not – be consistent with who you are on and off stage.
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:01] – Tricia originally comes from Missouri but moved to New York years ago to pursue her career in performing arts
[01:16] – She started her own company because she didn’t want to wait tables
[01:57] – Public speaking and giving people a voice are her areas of expertise
[02:09] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Everybody has a story and trust that what you have to say is important and of value. The key to speaking is repetition
[03:26] – “If you want to be, do”
[04:13] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: When Tricia initially got the idea to start a podcast, she decided she would do 20 episodes and stop. She put her podcast on a free-hosting site – the worst thing she could have done. It was basically an all-around disaster. She realized she wanted to continue the podcast and she needed to upgrade to create a better environment. She discovered her hosting site was holding her RSS feed hostage. She had to beg to get her feed moved to another site. In the end, she had to start over and she lost all of her current subscribers
[06:16] – “You have to be willing to invest in yourself”
[06:43] – Do the research, invest in yourself, and ask those who know more than you do
[07:40] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: When Petra Kolber approached Tricia to direct a TEDx, she was so excited. She realized she was able to guide a powerful and inspiring woman and everything just opened up. She realized she could help people with an important message
[08:44] – “It’s about the message”
[09:41] – Being a TEDx organizer gave Tricia much more credibility
[15:10] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Fear”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Steal what’s good”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “My routine – I meditate first thing in the morning”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – LastPass
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Grit to Great – “it is all about perseverance and passion taking you from ordinary to extraordinary”
[17:42] – Be who you are on stage and off
Tricia Brouk: I am so prepared.
John Lee Dumas: Yes! Tricia works in the entertainment industry and applies her expertise as a director and writer for film, television, and theater to the art of big talks. She’s written two musicals, a play, a sitcom pilot, a feature film, and is the organizer of TEDxLincolnSquare. She also hosts the podcast The Big Talk on iTunes.
Tricia, take a minute, fill in some gaps from the intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Tricia Brouk: Awesome, John. Well, I am from Missouri. I moved to New York City many years ago to pursue a career in the performing arts, and I’ve been so fortunate that I’ve been able to do that. And when I started out in the city, I never wanted to wait tables, so that was when I started my own company. My first company is over 26 years old, and I love it.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! What is that first company?
Tricia Brouk: The first company I started is an in-home personal training company called Brouk Moves, and I send my trainers to people’s homes, and we keep everybody happy and healthy and fit here in New York City.
John Lee Dumas: Wow, that’s been on now for, you said, 26 years?
Tricia Brouk: Yeah. It’s enabled me to have a career in the performing arts and in show biz, but also to give me the experience to start my new company, The Big Talk.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! Well, you’ve had lots of different ventures in your life. You have quite the entrepreneurial journey, which we’re going to be getting into, but first, today, Tricia, what would you say your area of expertise is?
Tricia Brouk: Definitely public speaking and giving people a voice.
John Lee Dumas: What’s something that we – and by “we,” I mean us as entrepreneurs – don’t know about public speaking that we really need to know?
Tricia Brouk: I think the first thing people need to know about public speaking is that everybody has a story. Everybody has a message, and if you trust that what you have to say is important and of value, then you should get on a stage and share it because you could potentially change someone’s life.
John Lee Dumas: Let’s get a tip or a tool or a tactic that’s really helped you on stages before. People are terrified of public speaking. What’s something that you’ve seen really helps people get over that fright?
Tricia Brouk: Repetition. Just like ballet dancers who do pliés over and over and over again, you have to rehearse. You have to say the words. You have to chew on the words. You have to spit the words out over and over again and continuously put yourself under mild stress. You can’t just rehearse by yourself in front of the mirror. You’ll have no idea what your body’s going to do in front of an audience.
So, put yourself in front of an audience. Start with your family, where the stress is less. Then, move in front of your coworkers, where there’s a little bit more stress, but you know they won’t throw tomatoes at you. And then, start rehearsing in front of total strangers where the stress is even more, and you will learn how to manage that when you step onto a stage and deliver your big talk.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, this is critical, and it’s so key in so many aspects of life. I love that Chinese proverb: If you want to be, do. A lot of people will say, “John, I wanna start a podcast, but I’m not as good as you are.” I’m like, “Well, are you talking about the 1,767th episode JLD or the 17th episode? Those are two different people. I had to do the thing over and over again to get good. I had to speak on 100 stages before I was good at presenting on stage.”
These are the things that you have to do, Fire Nation. You have to do that thing. But the fun part is it’s a simple math equation. If you wanna be X – and let’s say X is a good public speaker – do X, which is speak publicly.
So, Tricia, let’s move into one of your stories that I really wanna feature today, and that first one’s gonna be what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Tell us that story.
Tricia Brouk: This is fantastic. So, when I first got the idea to start my podcast The Big Talk, which was from you, so thank you very much, by the way.
John Lee Dumas: Aw, you’re welcome.
Tricia Brouk: Yes, thank you. I decided that I was gonna do 20 episodes and probably not continue, so I put my podcast on a free hosting site. Dumbest thing I ever could have done because there was zero customer service. There were no help lines for troubleshooting. The site was always freezing, and it was basically an all-around disaster.
And then, I realized I really liked hosting The Big Talk and interviewing people, and wanted to continue. So, I learned from that mistake that I needed to upgrade, and actually pay a small monthly fee, and stop being cheap, and create a better environment for my podcast.
So, what I ran into, though, was that the hosting site I was using likes to hold RSS feeds hostage. So, I had to beg, plead, and hope that they would give me my RSS feed so that I could move it over to another site. And that was probably the most stressful three weeks because people wouldn’t call me back. They were completely unavailable. Nobody was helping me. And the podcast hosting site that I was going to transfer to – I already created my membership with them – they said that this site is notorious for not giving you the feed, and I would have to basically start over, lose all my subscribers, and it was really awful.
That was absolutely, by far, my worst entrepreneurial moment, and it’s something that I learn from every day. Just because something is saving you a little money, it’s not always the way to go.
John Lee Dumas: And unfortunately, Fire Nation, in Tricia’s case, we are talking about a little money. Libsyn starts their plans at $7.00 a month. And then, you have stats. You have support. You have all the stuff. And so, you have to be willing to invest in yourself. That’s my big takeaway. If you’re going to do something, especially someone like Tricia who’s had the experience, who has the skill set, who has the get-up-and-go and the drive, you just need to trust in yourself, invest in yourself, do the right things at the beginning, and make stuff happen.
Now, Tricia, that’s my big takeaway from your worst moment, but what do you wanna make sure our listeners get from that story?
Tricia Brouk: That you do the research, you invest in yourself, and ask people who know more than you.
John Lee Dumas: Yep, absolutely. I love that quick quote from mentors, Fire Nation. You gotta find people who are where you want to be and then find out how they got there. I didn’t get to where I am from starting on a free hosting course. I would never recommend that, on a free hosting site. So, find those mentors who are where you want to be, and then follow that path. Or, hopefully, they’re sharing their mistakes that they’re making, so you can even avoid those mistakes that they did make as well.
Now, let’s move into another story, Tricia. Let’s talk about one of the greatest ideas that you’ve had to date. You’ve had a lot of wonderful ideas. That first one was brilliant, that’s now been going for 26 years. That’s phenomenal. It’s allowed you to do so many cool things throughout your life. But what’s the story you wanna tell us about that aha moment? Bring us to that moment, but also tell us how you turned that idea into success.
Tricia Brouk: I’m so excited to talk about this, JLD. So, when I was first approached by the amazing Petra Kolber, she asked me to direct her TEDx Syracuse. And she had been coming to shows that I’d been directing, so she knew that I worked in the theater and in show business, and I thought, “Sure, I can direct a TEDx. That sounds fun.”
But when I got in the room with her and realized that I got to guide a powerful and inspiring woman to be who she was meant to be as a speaker, everything opened up. It was a huge aha moment. I realized that I could help people with an important message and help them share it in a way that could be heard, and they could finally become the speakers they were meant to be. And that was the most amazing gift that Petra gave me.
John Lee Dumas: Take us through that process. What did it look like when you got there, and how did your eyes just open to that opportunity?
Tricia Brouk: I work with actors all the time, and it’s all about actors. It’s all about them. When I was in the room with this woman who had a very important message to share, what I realized: It’s about the message. So, I wanted to be around that. I wanted to be in on that. I wanted to help that.
And so, I started The Big Talk and hired somebody to help me: Jamie Broderick, who is an incredible visibility strategist. I hired her to take me through the steps of how the hell to do this. I knew how to start a business, and form an LLC, and all that stuff, and bookkeeping. I had no idea how to place myself, how to leverage credibility, how to create a Facebook page for the company, and that sounds really silly, but I was all hands-on with the other company, and this was all about getting my face out there and getting the word out there.
So, basically, I started The Big Talk so that, as you suggested, people could hear how I do this, which would help leverage credibility, and I hired Jamie to help me with social media. And then, I became a TEDx organizer, which gave me really a lot of credibility because that organization is incredible, and I’m honored to be one of their licensed organizers.
And then, I asked people who knew more than me, over and over and over again, and I hired people, and I asked people who knew more than me so that I could pursue this new career, and so I could help speakers have their voice.
John Lee Dumas: See, there it is, Fire Nation. Tricia’s investing in herself with the right people who are filling in the gaps to help her along that journey. So critical. And what’s the deal with TEDxLincolnSquare? How many events are you putting on per year? Does it always take place right in Lincoln Square within New York City?
Tricia Brouk: It does. Part of the application process for organizers is you choose the name of your event, and I chose the location based on the theater I wanted to produce the event at, so that is considered Lincoln Square. So, my event TEDxLincolnSquare happens on 72nd Street. Also, by the way, Jamie Broderick is my co-organizer. We produce this together, which is amazing.
So, TEDxLincolnSquare happens every year, and the next one will be on March 27th, and the theme this year is Looking Beyond.
John Lee Dumas: Looking Beyond. Well, Fire Nation, just google “TEDxLincolnSquare.” I just did that. It’ll take you right to the website. You’ll be able to check it out for sure. Sign up for email updates, etc. Awesome stuff.
I was actually just in Maine on vacation, and I got to see The Moth live in Portland, which was a great podcast where people get up and they just tell stories, and it’s just so cool to see these things live and in action. You can watch TEDx videos all day long, but being there, meeting the people that are there, that’s such cool stuff.
Now, Tricia, obviously you’re fired up about this. You have a lot of things to be excited about, but what’s the one thing that you are most excited about today?
Tricia Brouk: I am really excited because on Friday, I am shooting a documentary short about Chris Schembra of the 747 Club. He is this cool guy who decided, two years ago, to start inviting people over for dinner. And he made a pasta sauce, wanted to try it out, and every Friday, he invites new people over to connect, to become compassionate and empathetic people towards one another. And he’s so awesome, and I cannot wait to shoot this doc on him on Friday. Friday is his 200th dinner.
John Lee Dumas: Man, and I thought that 1,764 episodes was impressive, but literally, I wanna give a 5x per dinner. That means that’s over like 2,000 equivalent podcast episodes this guy’s done. I can do 15 of these in a day, Tricia. He can only do one dinner a night, I’m assuming.
Tricia Brouk: Yeah.
John Lee Dumas: That’s incredible.
Tricia Brouk: It’s really cool. And he serves the most amazing pasta and with pasta sauce and everybody’s there just to connect. That’s what it’s about, connecting.
John Lee Dumas: Okay, my mouth is too full of saliva right now to continue. We have to change the subject. So, Fire Nation, we’re going to continue dropping value bombs in the Lightning Round as soon as we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Tricia, are you ready to rock the Lightning Rounds?
Tricia Brouk: I am so ready.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Tricia Brouk: Fear, simply. I knew I had something important to share, and I wanted to do that by guiding speakers to the stage, but I was doing it in a rehearsal room. I was doing it behind closed doors. So, I had to get over that, drop the fear, put myself out there, and stop concerning myself with haters.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Tricia Brouk: I love what Martha Graham said, which is, “Steal what’s good.” Now, I don’t steal anything, but I definitely educate myself and spend time with people who know more than me because I believe we only get better when we get better, and we only get smarter when we get smarter.
John Lee Dumas: Hey, I believe the phrase that, “Good artists borrow, and great artists steal,” so I’m totally good with all that, Tricia, no problem. Fire Nation, we are all standing upon the shoulders of giants. What’s the personal habit that contributes to your success?
Tricia Brouk: My routine. I absolutely work out and meditate first thing every morning, I limit myself to only 90 minutes of emails at a time, and I don’t take calls or answer emails after 6 p.m. This allows me to be highly focused and gives me the expectations for what I can accomplish each day.
John Lee Dumas: Can you share an Internet resource?
Tricia Brouk: I have physically experienced relief when I go to LastPass. Knowing all of my passwords are in one place, it’s the best feeling ever. So, I definitely love LastPass.
John Lee Dumas: There’s only one password you need to remember for the rest of your life, and that’s the password into LastPass.
Tricia Brouk: Yes, exactly.
John Lee Dumas: If you were to recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Tricia Brouk: I would recommend Grit to Great by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. It is all about perseverance and passion, taking you from ordinary to extraordinary. Hard work and grit does mean something, and it does pay off. And I always say that I’m a turtle not a rabbit. I’m here to win the race, and that’s with slow and steady hard work.
John Lee Dumas: “Grit” is definitely a word, Fire Nation, that people are finding is such an important ingredient to entrepreneurial success, absolutely. And, Tricia, let’s end today on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, share the best way that we can connect with you and with what you have going on, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Tricia Brouk: Awesome. I would say, as an entrepreneur and possible future public speaker, be who you are on stage and off, not someone you think we want you to be.
And you can connect with me at TheBigTalkNYC.com, and I would also love to offer your listeners, JLD, a free eBook on how to inspire your audience, create adoring fans, and organically drive new business, and you can get that at TheArtOfTheBigTalk.com/Fire.
John Lee Dumas: Boom! Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with TB and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Tricia” in the search bar. Her Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz – timestamps, links galore. Of course, head directly to TheBigTalkNYC.com, and correct me if I’m wrong, Tricia, but TheArtOfTheBigTalk.com/Fire for the gift.
Tricia Brouk: You got it.
John Lee Dumas: Nailed it! TheArtOfTheBigTalk.com/Fire. And, Tricia, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Tricia Brouk: Thank you for having me.
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