In 2015 I had the privilege of seeing Vinh Giang speak at an event in Adelaide; to describe him as an “inspirational speaker” is an understatement. He refers to himself as “a small individual from a refugee family, born and bred here in South Australia in the northern suburbs.” But he is also a magician, an entrepreneur, he runs a video production company and is now a highly sort after keynote speaker, in such high demand in the US that he is in the process of relocating to the US. I knew that Vinh was a must-interview for Be The Drop.
Timing, they say, is everything, and as Vinh dives deeply into his new role as a father, time-constraints prevented him from being able to join me in person for this interview. However, lucky for us we live in a world that allows us to connect face-to-face, even if our faces are slightly pixelated on a laptop screen! So that’s exactly what we did; my first Be The Drop interview via Skype! Expertly spliced together for Be The Drop’s YouTube by our Chief Videographer, Chris. Technology eh?!
In today’s episode of Be The Drop, Vinh talks about the critical importance of video, discusses the delicate balance between giving and selling to your community, and reveals his top tips for avoiding Tall Poppy Syndrome…
Play! Feed your soul.
Vinh’s love affair with magic began as a child in the library after school. Now he has an online magic school, 52kards, through which he teaches his students slight of hand and showman skills etc. But he doesn’t just teach magic. Magic is his “metaphor”; it has become the way he communicates with his community. And his community now includes those audiences he stands in front of as an event speaker, and his “tribe” on Facebook that follows his personal journey. It was after having dinner with a friend in Philadelphia that Vinh was alerted to his gift for teaching. And to all of these audiences, what Vinh teaches is the art of storytelling. Whether it’s presenting to new business partners, performing magic tricks, or engaging with your online community, storytelling is what makes you memorable and motivates your audience to action. I couldn’t agree more! And that’s why I started my business, Narrative Marketing.
Vinh says he learned storytelling from theatre and singing teachers. He emphasises the importance of play in communication. After all, storytelling is essential to entertainment, and integral to the life of children, but as adults incorporating this notion of play in our work and personal lives is something that often gets overlooked.
Having a community means you have people backing what you do; they’re on board, but they’re also not afraid to tell you how they actually feel. So, experiment with what you’re doing, play, and listen to the advice/feedback you receive from them. Community, Vinh says, is valuable support for the businesses that you run, but it’s also food for your soul – there are just so many benefits to nurturing that relationship.
Head to our Facebook page for more Be The Drop content and behind the scenes videos! Listen to Vinh’s podcast episode here:
Give when you give, sell when you sell.
Playtime, experimentation and feedback is all very well, but what motivates that community to action? You have to give first, says Vinh. If you add enough value to somebody, they will be obliged at some point to help you. Especially if your community is aligned with what you want to do with your business. Give without asking for anything in return in the beginning. Just give. Then eventually you can cash in that social currency.
Vinh also stresses the importance of not confusing the two: When you’re giving, you’re giving, and when you’re asking your asking. And you should be able to self-regulate to know when it’s appropriate to sell. It’s only after you’ve given a tonne that you don’t feel bad to ask for something. “I don’t sell too often,” says Vinh. You don’t want to “burn” your email list or social media following. “I restrict myself to 3-4 times a year when I actually ask for something.” Keep the balance right, Vinh says. “If you’re starting to feel dirty afterwards, then you’re asking too often.”
Video speaks a million words.
Vinh also has a video production company and uses video as his main method of communicating with his community. “I think email is dying. … It’s hard to be sincere when you’re bulk emailing people.” And there are two very good reasons why you should be using video content to tell your brand story: 1. Video content is the most rewarded on the majority of social media platforms in terms of how the algorithms deliver organic reach. 2. There’s one rule in the world of videography – what you can show, don’t tell. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video speaks millions.
However, Vinh advises caution. Not everyone has the “right ingredients” to be in front of a camera. If you do have them, make sure you know what you’re doing – seek a presentation skills expert, engage a video storytelling pro, have a content plan mapped out, get someone to coach you on camera delivery, get a scriptwriter. This is an absolute must for building business/personal brand in the long-run, says Vinh. “You can shortcut years of learning by getting the right teacher.” When we’re overwhelmed and not willing to spend to get experts to help us, that’s when we get into trouble. If you’re going to do it, give it a really good go, instead of half-arsing it.
Just as the RackaRacka boys said, don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t balk at any negative feedback you receive. YouTube is the place where toxic trolls breed, says Vinh. Dealing with that is an essential part of the journey. If you’re someone who needs feedback to grow, learn how to look past the toxic comments and see the constructive feedback that sits within all that negativity. It’s a process of desensitisation. But having that third party is important. Once a month, Vinh sends the film of him speaking at an event to one of his mentors in the UK for minute by minute feedback. It’s about continually improving and not plateauing. It’s an evolutionary process. There’s a word for it in Japanese: Kaizen, which means the continuous and relentless pursuit of perfection but knowing that perfection isn’t attainable. It’s about patience. If you focus on being patient, you’ll win the marathon because other’s give up.
Magic is my metaphor. It has become my way of communicating with my community.
Shine your light as far as you can.
Tall Poppy Syndrome can be terrible for us Aussies. There’s no such thing in America, Vinh says. You succeed over there and people congratulate you and want to help you to achieve more. Everyone in the US has a dream; it’s a badge of honour!
So Vinh’s Be The Drop tip is to learn how to amplify the best parts of who you are. Become super aware of all your strengths, then once you’ve identified what they are (with the help of others), you must seek help on how to amplify them. “Look at your business as a lighthouse; the way you amplify your strengths is how you send your light out into the ocean to attract the right ships. If you don’t amplify your strengths, you’re a lighthouse attracting the wrong community or you’re not sending the signal out far enough to get enough traction.” And amplify the SHIT out of it. It really comes down to how well and how far you can shine that light.
Once again, my exploration into the world of connection, communication and community through Be The Drop has revealed the importance of that dedication and clarity of purpose that is essential to being the drop that goes on to create a waterfall. Vinh talked a lot about mastery, which is rare in today’s world. Mastery requires discipline and time. In order to master a magic trick, it takes hundreds, even thousands of hours! The nature of magic is to spend a lot of time practicing, then you receive the “wow, that’s amazing!” feedback, so you’re sold on the formula to success. Start a business with that same attitude of mastery, that same patience, focus and commitment. You have to have absolute clarity with what you want, says Vinh, “but once you have that clarity, nothing stops you. You’re like a blood hound that has the scent.”
In general, Be The Drop is a human podcast where I interview my guests face-to-face, because I believe the human element in impactful communication to create connection is super important, even in today’s digital world. However, this episode was so value packed and Vinh is such a charasmatic communicator that I was happy for it to be an exception!
JOIN ME – HELP REDUCE HOMELESSNESS!
Let’s Be The Drop and create a waterfall together! This year, I’ll be participating in the CEO Sleepout to raise money for Vinnies (click here for the Vinnies SA CEO, David Wark, interview blog post) with hundreds of other CEOs and business owners. Community action like this really embodies the spirit of Be The Drop for me. United, we can make a difference; individually, we’re just single drops, but if we work together, we can create a waterfall. I believe passionately in this philosophy and want to live it wholeheartedly, not just talk about it in my podcast.
So, join me in supporting Vinnies and we can change the lives of hundreds of thousands of homeless Aussies. Homelessness is not a choice, but I’m choosing to experience it for just one uncomfortable winter night to raise money to help those people that desperately need it. You don’t need to join me on the soggy cardboard, but you can support my fundraising efforts >> just follow this link to my fundraising page. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you again for tuning in and listening to the BTD podcast. I can’t wait for the next installment to bring you more inspiring people talking about their strategies for connecting with and building a positive community. And if you want more behind the scenes stuff and bits not included in the show, head over to our Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.
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