Peak Performance Consulting in the Workplace with Thor Conklin

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Thor Conklin is an Entrepreneur, Profitability Consultant. Thor’s first business was a global risk management consulting firm that served the private equity community. His top 15 clients had a combined revenue of $12.7 billion USD and operated in over 100 countries worldwide. His background, in risk management, served him well when he lost 1/3 of his team, in the World Trade Center attacks, on 9/11. Since that time, he has started, bought and sold several multi-million dollar businesses making him a sought after, cross-industrial resource for entrepreneurs and executives in all stages of business.

Through his consulting firm, Peak Performance Group, he teaches the tools, tips, tricks, psychology and strategies necessary to be a Peak Performer. He qualifies the psychology of success in one word: “Execution”! “Nothing you’ve learned matters – unless you can EXECUTE”!

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Victor Ahipene: Speaking nation, what’s happening? Welcome to another episode of Public Speaking Secrets. I’m your host, Victor Ahipene. As always, super excited to bring you the behind the scenes secrets on how you can be a confident, charismatic speaker, but also get your message out there. Make a true impact on the world. Because I know a lot of you have been playing it small. You’re looking to play it back and look, we have got someone lined up and you’ll hear his first name. And I genuinely actually think we’ve got the superhero when I was going through his bio and looking up his things, his name’s Thor Conklin, and he is based in Atlanta. You have to, you have to chicken out before you even get started. He’s, he’s done a million different things. Uh, in regards to peak performance. I’m talking running Iron Man’s when he couldn’t swim, I’m talking, uh, you know, speaking, you know, consulting for companies with hundreds and millions and billions, attempting to basically climb other hills, the length of Everest and attempting seal training for the hell of it as you do. But what we’re going to dive into is how he’s been able to share his message with public speaking as well as a few other things. So Thor. Welcome to the show. And can you confirm, are you the marvel superhero or are you just a superhuman?

Thor Conklin: Well, just the superhuman. I hope, uh, you know, I don’t have the hair and in order to fit in the, uh, in the magazines.

Victor Ahipene: It’s a, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on. I’d love, I love if you could give us kind of a bit, a bit of a background, I guess, on what, I mean, you’re a peak performance expert. How did that come about and how did it lead to, I guess the speaking side of things that you do now as part of your Business?

Thor Conklin: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting because there’s a statute by an artist, uh, body Carlile that’s called the self made man. You can look it up on, uh, on Google and it’s a man that is carving himself out of a block of granite, uh, would a chisel and a hammer. And to me that really resonated. Uh, that’s who I am. Everyday I wake up and I try to figure out what doesn’t belong. I try to chip that away and just become a little bit better of a peak performer. Uh, and as you said, I love the, the intro. Yes. I have attempted a lot. There’s a lot of things I have attempted also so it didn’t end up in the bio because I probably didn’t get past first base with those, uh, those attempts. But you know, it’s all about just keep going and um, that’s the way I live my life. And uh, if you find the most successful people in the world, you know, you always see what they’ve done and what they’ve been able to achieve. But along the way, there are a ton of failures and a, it’s just part of life. It’s just part of the process. You’ve just got to keep moving.

Victor Ahipene: And I think that’s the big point is you’re O’Hare to fast track that mistake. You can learn from the things that we’ve done wrong in the past. And I know you’ve coached with, and with Tony Robbins, and I’m not sure if it’s the saying that he said or something that’s attributed to them a lot, but the fastest way to get from where you are to where you want to be is fine. Those people who are there and model what they’re doing. So, uh, I think that’s a, yeah, an admirable side of things. But let’s, let’s dive straight in. You’ve worked with a lot of businesses, uh, and run your own businesses yourself. How does that now translate into what you do with speaking? So are you more in the consulting space? Are you more in the keynotes space? A bit of both and, and take us through that.

Thor Conklin: Yeah. So, so thinking is probably, oh, about 20% of what I do. Uh, I do keynotes, but I try not to do too many of the key notes because I find so often keynote speakers have an interesting story. Uh, it’s a little inspiring, motivating, but then you leave that key note and it’s like, ah, what’s the takeaway? What’s that next step I need to take? I’m all about execution. Uh, so I enjoyed doing more, um, workshop based material where I’m actually getting the audience to do work during the presentation. And I always say, look, I don’t give speeches and I don’t give talks. I have conversations. I don’t talk at the audience. I’m talking with the audience. And in particular one person, I really try in my language that I use the word you, not you all or we’re everyone. As you mentioned in the, uh, the intro there, uh, I’ve been a trainer for Tony Robbins for the last 13 years and one of the things he’s a master at is as you sit in the audience, you think he’s talking to you because his language patterns are geared towards one person.

Victor Ahipene: Mm. It’s cognitively taking that, in my opinion, Tony Robbins, I’ve been to UPW and had the, had the fortunate thing to be able to experience that firsthand. And I’m just taking it in because I always say, you guys or you girls or,

Thor Conklin: yeah, it’s part of, it creeps in. But I try to very consciously think about that before I start a conversation with an audience. Is that I want to connect one on one. And when you say, you know, is this something that your struggling with right now? Everyone goes, wow, that, that, you know, just that he’s talking to me. Um, I don’t do it, you know, all the time, but I certainly try. I fail at it a lot of times.

Victor Ahipene: Yeah. I’m going to definitely stop, stop failing it added a bit more by actually concentrating on changing it with, with what you speak about what I, the other main areas. And who do you speak to, uh, apart from you out there? Um, do you, who do you speak to the majority of the time when you are out there?

Thor Conklin: Yeah, part of the entrepreneurs’ organization, Worldwide Entre Entrepreneur Organization, thousand members strong, uh, around the globe. Uh, everyone has a business of $1 million plus. So what I try to do is I try to speak to audiences that would make great clients for us. Uh, and our lane is entrepreneurs that are running a sizable business, uh, that need help on execution. That the owner is hungry, they’re driven, they just haven’t gotten to that next level. And there’s something getting in the way. One of the things that as entrepreneurs, we think, and I see it so often, I see it going back to Tony. I see a lot of times in the seminars, people go from seminar to seminar podcast, the podcast from event to event, book to book saying, I’m missing something. The only reason I’m not where I want to be is because I’m missing something and I’ve got to find that information. It’s BS. You’re not missing anything. What is happening is there’s something more in there in your life, in your business that doesn’t belong, and there’s a blocker. It’s not about lack of knowledge. It’s about not executing in the knowledge that you already have. So we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what are those things that are getting in the way. Sometimes it’s an employee, sometimes to police systems, sometimes it’s a piece of the business that that is not executing at the highest level. Um, so speaking to audiences, I’m always trying to get in front of people that would make ideal clients for us.

Victor Ahipene: Nice. And what are the steps you tend to do to, do you go to organizations in run the workshops? Do you put your own workshops on? Um, do you use keynote presentations as kind of a laden too, right?

Thor Conklin: Yeah. So, um, you know, it starts with your local chamber, you know, contact your local chamber and get an opportunity to speak in front of 20 people, then 50 people, then a hundred people. And here’s the thing, when you start to hone your craft and you start to become better, and there’s a reason I’m saying this is because when you start, you’re not good. Hmm. You don’t like anything. All you gotta do is go back to episode one of my podcasts. I cringe. I absolutely cringe. And I leave it there because it’s a reminder that we all start at a place and that place is not excellent. It’s, you just got to hone your craft. You’ve got to do it over and over and over and over and over again. So it just starts with those small, but then once you start to get some traction, uh, record everything, make sure that you’ve got somebody there doing some video tape for you, um, and just record it and you’ll start to get some momentum off that. And at this leapfrog, once you’re good, uh, people hear about it. And then once you at, uh, at their event.

Victor Ahipene: hmm. Every master was once a disaster, which is like that. It’s funny because I am the exact same night. This is, I don’t know, probably podcast number 300 for me out of my own show and, and this one, and I’m not saying that I’m a great interviewer, but I’m a lot better than what I was and the, and first one. And what’s really interesting is I’ve been, I’ve always been a confident speaker live in then going to podcasting was this whole different skillset utilizing the same things, but it’s still a different skill set. And then, you know, more recently it’s been getting comfortable in front of video, like not in front of video, in front of an audience. It’s fine. I can speak to the audience, but it’s when it’s just, you know, running alive and, and reassessing and picking all those things. So there’s, I mean there’s always a, for everyone out there. Yeah. You’re hearing from people who have spoken to audiences who are confident out there, but we always have these transitions and we’re always looking to improve upon it. But what you think is bad, you know, your, your first podcast was still good to somebody else and it’s just now that you’re, you’re bitter at it. Yeah. Everything levels up.

Thor Conklin: Yeah, absolutely. I love the idea of, of the videotaping because it doesn’t lie. You’ll see, you will hear and I still cringe. Hate looking at it. I, I swear I still do. My team will bring me some stuff on like, so how’d that go there? Like this is, this part was really, really good in this part. It was like, Eh, I was like, wait a second. That was awesome. That part that you don’t even like, watch it back on tape. I’m like, all right. And it wasn’t as good as I thought it was

Victor Ahipene: And it’s, it’s, so I find it really funny too, because I had Coby Brian talking about how he was like that most analytical play every game from when he first started, they’d bring, he’d have a TV and the video of the game straight after the game taking up to his room. And Him and, uh, video analyst of the team would sit there straight after the games and that analyze everything and he’d be looking at how we could make everybody better, what he could do better. Um, you know, and they all do game tape, but he would be watching each game four or five times and he said over the space of 10 years, um, you know, he’d watched that much tape so much things were just locked into his brain that he would go, that was horrible. I need to work that out. And the city took it into the businesses that is now doing the same work ethic. He said when he’s given keynote presentations, who watch it five times on the dry, on the, on the flight home, back to wherever he’s going. And we’ll absolutely dissect it. And He, yeah, same sort of thing. He cringes inside. He’s like, I hate it. But the only way that you get better as you confront it rather than your brain telling yourself a bit of a false story. Absolutely. When it comes to, um, workshops, because I think a lot of us out there will understand, like you say that the keynote presentation can often lead people, leave people with that who are our, I’m going to do something. But yeah. Not a lot of the practical side of things. What, uh, let’s say you’re running one of your workshops, what do they tend to look like and what are some of the, the key things that you have implemented over time with your workshops that you think have made them better?

Thor Conklin: Yeah, so this really goes for just about any, uh, talk that I’ll give, but a, I’ve got a couple of things that I can run through and hopefully you got a pen and paper. You can jot some of these. First thing is understanding your audience. I’m always getting with the organizer and I’m trying to understand not just who is in the audience, but what is the audience struggling with. Our entire practice is trying to help people get from where they are to where they want to go. And again, I talked about something getting in the way. So where’s the pain? What’s the problem? What are they struggling with? Um, obviously prep preparation. You’ve gotta be prepared. Um, practice, practice, practice, practice, use video beforehand. Um, and be prepared. Look, you know, sometimes the AV doesn’t work. Sometimes the audience shows up late or something might get in the way of your travel plans, your microphone, batteries, whatever it is, have a contingency plan and be ready to go.You know, nothing’s more awkward than to see a presenter. Something goes a little awry and then their entire presentation is off, uh, off base. Um, we talked a little bit about the stuff that I did with, uh, with Tony. I had had the opportunity, um, many, many times to actually be backstage when he prepares to go out on stage. Now he’s been doing this for 30 years. Every single time without fail at every single event period. He goes through a pre rou a routine where he is basically activating his body and his mind. It’s this crazy, um, high energy explosion, uh, where he’s just getting himself set. So when he goes out on stage, he has centered, he is energized and he is turned on. I see so many speakers like, you know, get from the back of a room, cut up, and up to the front. Uh, and you don’t have to come out with the same energy, but that’s another really key point is meet your audience where they are. It’s a somber room. Do not come in, you know, looking like you’re a, you’re leading a parade or a, you know, a rock concert. Um, meet, meet them where they are, where they are. Um, and then it’s about questions and connecting one on one, uh, with the audience up as, what’ll happen sometimes is we get into it. Um, it’ll, it’ll go in a different direction. I don’t come out with a set idea. I know where I’m going. Right. I know where they are currently or at least have a pretty good idea from the organizer. I know where I want to bring them, but there’s many paths to get them to that end destination. Um, I’m sure you talk about it all the time, you know, start telling them what they’re gonna, what they’re going to learn, tell them and then recap at the end, uh, exactly what, uh, what you did teach them. And then for me, it’s all that next step. What is the one step that they’re going to take next right now before they leave or as soon as they, uh, they get back home.

Victor Ahipene: All of them are brilliant points. We’re going to jot them all down at public speakingblueprint.com they’ll call it was, I think these are all takeaways that people really need to know. You need to understand your audience. I may not, I’m living in Australia on a kiwi and you know, I’ve, I’ve been in events where you’re Rah, Rah, Rah, and this isn’t trying to generalize that North American comes out with like, yeah, why do you for the dancing bears to come out right? Hey, everybody how’s everyone going? And it doesn’t go down well culturally like a, I’m not talking about like religion or culture or anything, but like we’re a lot, we’re pretty laid back bunch down here and yeah, it doesn’t work. I mean Tony knows how to read his audience and like you say, meet them where they’re at. Because if you’re on Tony Robbins events and you, there’s 5,000 people in there and the music cranked up on the first day, like literally you’re sitting there…

Thor Conklin: That on purpose and that audience has been cranked up. And by the way, people always ask the question when’s Tony it got to be here? Yeah, two answers. There’s two answers. One, when the room is 75% or more full period, he will not come out on stage. And second, the energy of the room is that a certain level, that’s when he comes out and starts the, starts the event. It’s not based on time. If anybody’s been to a Tony Robbins event on time, so he’s got the audience up to that level. But here’s something very interesting that you don’t see. You’re probably didn’t understand, but when I say it, uh, if you’d go to another one, you’ll actually see it. He then has you interacting, right? Uh, and again, for the people that haven’t been to one of his events, you can watch a, I’m not your guru on, on Netflix and get an idea of it, but he’s got the music up. So He’s, he’s his energies at that level. When it comes on stage, he meets them where they’re at, but he’s also knows that the audience is not used to interacting with each other yet. So the first thing that he’ll tell you to do as you’re starting to get to know the audience is hey, you know, give the guy next to you, you know, shake his head, you know, say a low pat them on the back, you know, and then what happens at the end of day one, you’re massaging this person, you’re crying with this person. It was all ramped up. It started out with a handshake, then it started out with a hug, then it started. So it all progressive upward. Then it starts to expand. So the same thing with your audience and I’m not suggesting to have your audience a hug and cry with each other unless it’s appropriate to what you’re doing. Uh, and that’s another really, really good point. Please, please, please do not do Tony. Do not do not do grant, just you. If you want to come across and have an impact on your audience, the only way to do that is one way and that is the authentic to who you are. Don’t do the gurus.

Victor Ahipene: Yeah, I love this. It’s an awesome cause because I know it’s going to say was at Tony’s event. Hey, ramps the audience something. There’s obviously a lot of people who have previously been to a stuff, so when the music starts cranking before he’s even come out on day one. Yeah. Are Up there dancing the support staff at dancing and moving around and you’re sitting there and you are not on that level yet. You’re sitting there and you’re going, what a, what have I signed up to? What is these next four days going to entail? I was sitting there, I’m going in with an open mind because I’d heard a lot of good things from a lot of people that I respect their opinion and I’ll still go going on here. And Yeah, like you say, yeah, he takes you through that transition, but even then he still lifts your energy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. If he came out and it wasn’t the music blasting and everyone was just sitting teary and just sitting there, um, yeah. Yeah. You’re not going to make that transition, which is super valuable. With, with the next step, uh, what are your general, what do you look for? Like, I just want to get a bit of an idea on yours. This is your next step, another type of workshop, uh, up, something more in depth online training. Is it working small group one on one? What does that tend to look like for you in general?

Thor Conklin: Yeah, for our organization, we, we started out being an executive coach and profitability consulting firm. And not only would it have expertise in that area, but that’s what our core clients we’re looking for. And just recently we’ve realized, you know, it’s kind of funny. What do you get a chance to disconnect from your business and doing the business they get to work on the business. You see other possibilities and opportunities. Uh, so my team and I recently attended an event that we had looked at for a number of years and what we realized is yes, that’s what we do for our core client, but we have so much material, so much content that we deliver, uh, to those higher end clients that is completely applicable to all kinds of businesses. And even those that are just starting, we just didn’t have a delivery system. So what’s next for us is really taking a lot of our content, uh, forming classes around that online programs, a lot of free content, putting a, a lot of stuff on video, quite frankly, breeding a studio where we can actually give that content and deliver it in a way that’s affordable to folks that you know, aren’t running a multimillion dollar business. So that’s what’s really next. So we’re excited about that. There’ll be online classes that we’ll be doing, some masterminds. I’m more speaking, uh, obviously, but uh, yeah, we’re, I’m excited to do that because really this journey, and you mentioned this in the beginning, it was really about figuring out how to take everything that I acquired in the last 30 years, both in business and on the psychology side. Combining those together and packaging it in a way that I can deliver it to. It was originally designed, uh, even before it became a business, uh, for my kids. I’m like, you know, I spent years and years acquiring all this information. I had these books they’re called, it’s a interesting things and stuff to pass along these little red, uh, notebooks. I’m like, first of all, my kids probably will never end up opening these pages that actually awaiting them. Uh, and if I do, I’ve delivered it to two people, which is great, but let me get this information out so anybody anywhere can see it in a live forever on the Internet. So, uh, that’s really the, was the start of the business. It was not about creating a business to make money. It was about passing along what I have learned and shortcutting the process for everybody else.

Victor Ahipene: It’s brilliant. And I I want just want to talk about one thing cause I know a lot of people are gonna take validation from what you said and I want to throw a word of warning out there, not from what the way you’ve done it, but you’ve got to understand it that you and your company have taken it out, uh, a period of time of nailing it down with their high level clients before transitioning and moving towards that transition to online and targeting other clients and things like that. I think often I’m guilty of it as well and many of you listening out there as well, it’s like Ooh, I want to target this slot and I’ll do an online training program and I’ll do a high end high end off at a high end executives in a low end offer to new businesses. And I think it’s the end. This is just my personal opinion, but it’s get something tied in and nailed it and then you can expand your product offering. Don’t try and be everything to everyone because it won’t end up well.

Thor Conklin: Yeah, I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last 21 years and uh, when we started this business, the first eight months in business, we had a grand total of $1,500 in revenue. I mean, our messaging was off, our marketing was off. Who knows what else was going and a lot of it we were building so that we weren’t an active sales process the entire time. But it took a lot of time. I remember the team coming to me and saying, adores this going to work. This seems to be going a lot slower than normal. I’m like, Hey, this is, this is my sixth company, six or seven. And I said, yeah, they all work like this. And I remember at night going, Oh my God, this can a long time. You know, the wheels are spinning but we’re not getting much traction. So you know, you gotta it takes time and figure out one thing and do it well.

Victor Ahipene: Yup. I agree. Well, I think from everything that I’ve looked up of, yours had this conversation. And just seeing that the amazing things that you’re out there doing and passing on that legacy. Uh, I think you are definitely doing some things very, very well. If people want to start following all the things you are doing well and find out more about you and maybe connect, where can they go and what can they do?

Thor Conklin: Yeah, really is he, so social media is all Tho Conklin, a website at thorconklin.com and uh, one thing for the audience a, this is what I do at each of the end of a podcast if I’m being interviewed. And that is uh, if there is something that you’re struggling with in your business, if you send me an email @thorconklin.com I’ll send you back a four. You’re not going to end up in some, uh, you know, funnel system or something. I’ll send you back an email personally and it’s going to be a four step system to ask that actually. Uh, too. It’s too early in the morning here at five 30 in the morning, send via email and I’ll send you a four step process that will eliminate your biggest issue in your business. And at the very worst that it won’t eliminate it, it will reduce it to the point where it’s no longer an issue.

Victor Ahipene: Brilliant.

Thor Conklin: A 50 words or less, please no books.

Victor Ahipene: Yup. Everybody take note. No one likes it. No one likes a long lingering email. Right. I will link all of that including thoughts, email, uh, with their generous, generous often. I hope that many of you take it up @ publicspeakingblueprint.com. So I absolutely appreciate your time getting up super early in the morning and sharing with us a ton of value, which I know a lot of people were going to take with them and hopefully make their bigger impact because these are the secrets that uh, until now a lot of people would never here who wanted to be able to get out there and share their message. And that’s a lot. Thanks. I appreciate it and I look forward to catching up in the future.

Thor Conklin: Brother. Thanks for having me on that.

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