Master Your Talk and Change the World
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Brenden Kumarasamy is the founder of MasterTalk, a YouTube channel he started to help the world master the art of public speaking and communication. Brenden works a day job in addition to his coaching business, all from his basement office. He coaches purpose driven entrepreneurs and executives on how to master their message and share their ideas with the world. Brenden has more recently been able to switch to professional recording and editing and has been batch recording some of his videos in a suit shop. In this interview, we talk about how he went from hating public speaking to embracing case competitions to guest speaking for Toastmasters and making a business as a speech coach. He talks about how he feels that everyone has a message worth sharing that could change the life of at least one person and why communication is such a central aspect of our lives and relationships.
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April Malone 0:02
Hello Hello Hello! my name is April Malone and I'm with Yes, I work from home and this is the podcast. Today I have Brenden from MasterTalk with me. Brenden is--He started a YouTube channel, and he teaches entrepreneurs and executives how to be more confident on camera and speaking--public speaking. So, take it away Brenden! Tell us about yourself and what you do, who you help, and what you're here for!
Brenden Kumarasamy 0:30
Of course, thanks for having me, April. So, my name is Brenden. I'm the founder of MasterTalk. It's a YouTube channel I started to help the world master the art of communication and public speaking. How I got started is, was when I was in university, I used to do these things called case competitions. So think of it like professional sports but for nerds. So other guys my age were, you know, playing football or soccer or some other sport that I'm clearly not equipped as you can probably tell from looking at me. What I was doing instead is, with the same competitive spirit, I would do presentations competitively. So suffice to say, in three years, I presented 500 times, coached dozens of people on public speaking. By the time I joined Corporate Canada, similar to Corporate America, I just asked myself the following question: What can I do to make a difference in the world? And I noticed that a lot of the communication content on YouTube was pretty bad. So, I started making videos in my mother's basement, one thing led to another, and here we are today.
April Malone 1:27
Okay, did you actually mention what you were studying in school, or just that you were doing these competitions?
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:32
Oh right, yeah. So I studied in accounting. So I worked at Price Waterhouse at the beginning of my university degree; and then, after that, I did something completely different with my life.
April Malone 1:42
Yeah, same here, same here. I studied music and art; and here we are.
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:46
April Malone 1:47
Did you have like a strong interest in communications? Did you like take extra speech classes or anything like that back in school?
Brenden Kumarasamy 1:54
It's actually the opposite. I hated communication my whole life, and the reason is because I grew up in a city called Montreal, up in Canada, as you probably familiar with.
April Malone 2:03
And you're there now?
Brenden Kumarasamy 2:04
Yeah, I'm here now, born and raised, I don't plan on leaving so soon. It's too nice here. But the the idea that not many people know about is Montreal is one of the few cities in the world where most people who live in the city speak either two or three languages. And the reason is because French is a required language in the city. So, my parents looked at me; and they said, "Well Brenden, you don't know how to speak French. So we have to put you in a French education system." So, not only was I uncomfortable presentation like most of us listening, I had to present in a language I didn't even know. So public speaking was definitely something I didn't like and that I learned later.
April Malone 2:41
Wow. So how old were you? Okay, so you were raised in a family that wasn't French speaking; so, you had to take French classes in school?
Brenden Kumarasamy 2:49
Yeah, like, actually, the whole education system was in French.
April Malone 2:53
Oh my goodness.
Brenden Kumarasamy 2:54
So everyone was--obviously, I'm super grateful for that today. Like, I'm trilingual, which means I speak three languages for those who are listening; but the idea is the process was not too fun. You know, you're standing up there in grade one, and you're just going "bonjour?" and you figure out the rest.
April Malone 3:13
Oh man. The rest is history. So, why don't you go ahead and chat a little bit about some of your journey. So, just for the listeners, Brendon I don't actually know each other in person. I usually like to talk about how we know each other. We found each other through a podcasting connection system called Matchmaker FM. It sounds like a dating website. I'm almost embarrassed to say the name of it, but it's actually a really useful tool; and I'm really thankful that you reached out. So thank you.
Brenden Kumarasamy 3:41
April Malone 3:42
Ah, so you you've graduated, and then?
Brenden Kumarasamy 3:47
Yes, so, I graduated; and, then, after that, you know, I started working at IBM as a consultant there and I still do to this day, and I really love working there. But I think what I noticed with my life was, I was achieving everything I wanted in terms of financial goals. You know, if I get this job, I'll make this money; and then I started making this money. Then I just realized, wait is that all I'm going to do with my life? Just maximize the next dollar? But then, over time, I just said "Hey, maybe there's something more that I could do with my life. Maybe there's something more that I could contribute." So, I started MasterTalk probably four months before I started working at the firm, and I never thought much of it, I always honestly thought master talk was a stupid idea for probably the first six or seven months,
April Malone 4:30
Wait, this was your idea?
Brenden Kumarasamy 4:32
MasterTalk, my YouTube channel? It was like a mix. So what happened was, in my last semester of university, all of the students that I coached in that competition program for the past three years kept asking me the same question that I never had an answer to. And the question was "How did you learn how to speak?" And I just went "Well, I don't know, I kind of just taught--I obviously didn't have money for a speech coach. I was like, I don't know, I just figured it out." But so many people start asking this question, that I kind of just wondered, I mean, why do they keep asking me this? What is out there? So, out of curiosity, because I didn't have anything better to do with my life, I started watching a lot of YouTube videos on communication, after four years of never watching them, and practicing on my own, and the results were horrifying. Like every video was just terrible. We could have a whole podcast about that, but the summary is just, they didn't know what they're talking about; or they were way too old, so they couldn't tailor their message to someone who was like 16, someone in high school. And no one was catering to that audience either. So, I saw a lot of holes in the industry, basically.
April Malone 5:37
So you figured out speaking, and you were coaching people; and then you wanted to go watch and see how people were learning; and so that's when you started to watch the YouTube channels?
Brenden Kumarasamy 5:48
Correct. So I'm almost 100% self taught. By almost, what I mean by that is not that I took a special program. The main reason I got better, similar to being on a professional sports team is, when you're around really high performers of that specific skill, you want to get better. So let's say you're surrounding--your friends with the top five podcasters in the world. You would be like, "Okay, well I got to step up my game, right? You'd be like "Brenden, put a suit on for next time."
April Malone 6:18
I'd have to get rid of my wrinkly map background.
Brenden Kumarasamy 6:22
Like, discontinued. Right. So the same thing. Same rule applied for chase competitions. So, even if most of the world doesn't care about presentations, which has some logic to it, I guess, in our specific community--think of it like a subculture within a subculture. Our whole life was presentations. So like dinners, lunches. It wasn't like "Hey, let's watch the football game." I don't care about football. We were watching about--we were watching the presentation that the University of Florida gave yesterday, and we were taking notes on it to see how we can beat them for next time. It was nuts.
April Malone 6:57
Living and breathing it, huh?
Brenden Kumarasamy 6:59
Yeah, I loved it. I really enjoyed it.
April Malone 7:02
Wow. Okay, so you are working from home now?
Brenden Kumarasamy 7:06
That's correct, especially though. Yeah.
April Malone 7:08
Yes, yes. So, what is the typical week look like for you? Like, how do you break up your time?
Brenden Kumarasamy 7:13
Yeah, for sure. So, for me it's a bit peculiar; because I separate a lot of my time between the business and the work, like my day job? So, most of my days, depending on what's happening. I'm probably working nine to eight, nine to seven, sometimes nine to five. And then, after that, I'm spending time on podcasts, I'm making YouTube content. I'm focusing on MasterTalk. And, then, of course, I leave an hour or two at the end of the day or during the day, in this case, with family.
April Malone 7:42
Yeah, we have a very late podcast for you tonight. This is like midnight I think for you.
Brenden Kumarasamy 7:49
It's fine, I'm used to this, not a big deal.
April Malone 7:52
I also work and sleep very strange hours; so, I get it. Now, are you working your day job also from home right now.
Brenden Kumarasamy 8:00
April Malone 8:01
Wow, so you put in some long, long hours. And tell me about your office space? Where are you at?
Brenden Kumarasamy 8:06
Yeah, for sure. So, my office space is my mother's basement.
April Malone 8:10
Brenden Kumarasamy 8:11
Still, yeah. I think if there's anything I've learned from COVID that I think a lot of people, at least, especially in my age range like 20s don't think too much about, is I think a lot of people move out of their parents' house too quickly. And, especially now with COVID, especially people in New York. You know you leave for for the life of the party that you're paying what $3,000 a month, for a small space that you can't move out of. So, it's not--so, I'm glad I stayed home.
April Malone 8:39
Oh yeah. I stayed home with my parents until--well, I was in the dorms for a couple of years; but I was home every weekend. I have a very large family; and, so, there were a lot of just responsibilities, I guess you could say. You know, I had a job back home; and, then, I'd go off to the university during the week, and I'd drive back and forth like 70 miles. But I didn't officially move out of my parents' house until I was like 24. But, man, there's nothing like free rent. I think I did help out in some ways.
Brenden Kumarasamy 9:06
Yeah, I pay the rent.
April Malone 9:08
Yeah, I definitely was helping cover a little bit. But, you know, they also were letting me use their cars for a lot of that time; so, it was a pretty good arrangement, I guess. So, what about social life right now? You're working some super long hours.
Brenden Kumarasamy 9:25
Yes, social life is not--the only social life is right here.
April Malone 9:28
This is it, right? Well, I wanted to ask you, if you're communicating with people, do you have like any in-person clubs that you're part of now, or is it all like these podcasts and summits and things?
Brenden Kumarasamy 9:40
You got it. All of it is podcast, is virtual. Pre-COVID, though, I would say a lot of my stuff was in-person events but always out of the city. So, for example, I was supposed to be in Amsterdam for a month this year, things like that. So it's always about changing the look. But I'm really happy. You know, it's always about seeing the opportunity. And I think the opportunity now is you can guest on 1000 shows without ever having to travel or take a flight.
April Malone 10:06
Is that your goal for this year? 1000 shows?
Brenden Kumarasamy 10:09
Hopefully, I was kind of joking with that number; but you know, just maximize the time in better ways.
April Malone 10:14
Yeah. Okay, so I have seen your YouTube channel, I saw a couple of your shows, or a couple of your, I guess, episodes? Is that what you call it on podcasts? Is that what you would call it on YouTube?
Brenden Kumarasamy 10:26
I have no idea, to be honest. Let's just call them--let's call them episodes, it sounds nice.
April Malone 10:30
Okay, that works. You were sitting in this beautiful setting with, like, this fireplace behind you; and I don't know what you were sitting on, but it looked great. So, tell us, how do you how do you record your YouTube Channel show to look so good? How do you--I can't even talk so good right now!
Brenden Kumarasamy 10:53
No, it's all good. I mean, same here. You know, a lot of people, they have me on, and they're like "Oh man, the speech coach is on, he's going to be judging me."
April Malone 11:02
I feel a little nervous!
Brenden Kumarasamy 11:02
I kind have a hair on the back of my head, kind of just flicked it there. So don't worry, I'm pretty casual as you can probably tell. But you're right in the sense that the appearance that I have right now is very different than the appearance that I give in my videos, because I'm very suited up, my hair is cut, everything is very professional. And the one sentence explanation of those videos is my best friend, Danny. You know, if you don't know something, hire someone who does. So I give him--I pay him a lot of money to execute my videos to do all my editing, editing, he even picks up my suits. He does everything.
April Malone 11:37
Brenden Kumarasamy 11:38
The only thing I do is I write the scripts, and I bring them to life.
April Malone 11:42
I have to ask you, do you use a teleprompter?
Brenden Kumarasamy 11:45
No, I do not. That's a good question.
April Malone 11:47
You just have like that good eye contact, and I thought for sure he's got to be using a teleprompter. I bought one. I haven't been able to use it yet. My problem is that, like I mentioned, I'm in a closet. And, so, I've got--it's about, maybe, I don't know six feet this way and about maybe eight feet this way. So these podcast episodes, we record as a podcast as well as the video version for YouTube. So, if I'm going like this and that, you can see, but maybe--yeah. So, it's a small, small walk in closet that I'm sitting in; and I don't really have a lot of space to set up a tripod behind my, you know, camera. I did try to do that in my living room in front of my nice bookshelf and everything, and it looks nice; but as far as, like, having a family who's all home all of the time, it wasn't really conducive for like, you know, family life. Because they would all have to be like hunkered down in the bedroom being quiet upstairs. I'm trying to record; and, because I was nervous, I was recording a three-minute take like 80 times; and I would delete every single one. So, I've had to--I actually decided that I do better with this interview style, because I'm not going to just delete your interview, because I messed up. You know, I'm comfortable talking to people. So let's talk a little bit about stage fright on camera and how that might relate to people who work from home.
Brenden Kumarasamy 13:12
Yeah, absolutely. I'm happy to do this talk about that. So, the idea with camera is, I get it. You know, it's not easy; and I'm a good example of this. And if you don't believe me, watch my old videos, I leave them up there for a reason. When I started YouTube, I sounded something more like this. "So, hey guys, today at Master--MasterTalk." It wasn't the person I am today anyways. So, the key is, we need to understand that camera has specific advantages that in-person workshops do not have. I never wanted to be a YouTuber, I just wanted to be a senior executive at a company, make a lot of money, have a great family, and die. I had no other big ambitions, until one of the people I was coaching came up to me; and they said, "Brenden, do you have time to coach the world on communication?" And I said, "Well, no." And then he looked at me and he said, "Exactly. That's why you need to get on video, because there's people that just can't buy your time, and even if they could, you couldn't coach all of them anyways. And that's when it hit me. We need to realize that as creators, as who people have ideas worth sharing, that's all of us, by the way, that if we do not share our message on camera, we are doing a disservice to the people who cannot afford our services.
April Malone 14:40
Brenden Kumarasamy 14:41
A great coach summarizes this best: Marketing is what changes the world. Coaching is great, I do coaching, you know, I make an impact on those who can afford me. But at the end of the day, 40% of Americans don't even have $400 of savings, you know, just as an example and just the world, a lot of people, just can't afford the rates that I have now and with success with the business, which--So the question is, what am I going to do for them? And the answer for all of us, means sharing. Democratising--all of our best knowledge, all of our best stuff, for free. That's what it means to be a content creator, that's what it means to be an influencer. So, if you're someone who's scared of camera right now, understand that everyone starts there. But also understand that, if you get your video right one time, even if it takes 100 times, if you get it right one time, you can share it forever.
April Malone 15:34
So, how do you feel about.--okay, so my problem was I kept trying and trying and trying eighty times before I would finally be happy with that three-minute take; but, by that time, I was like having all this self talk and, like, self hate, like "You're not any good at this. What do you think you're trying to do? You know, you can't even say three minutes without making a mistake." And, at one point, I could just feel like all of that joy, you know, and like the hope that I had for what we're starting here just drain out of me. And then it doesn't come across as authentic anymore. So, when when you go again and again and again, you lose some of that like freshness. And so, like, I wanted to get it right, because I knew a video is forever; but, at the same time, when is imperfect okay?
Brenden Kumarasamy 16:22
Right. So, that's a great balancing question. So there's two parts to it. The first part, okay, is if you do get it right, you can use it forever. Right? That's the benefit with a lot of my videos today.
April Malone 16:36
Brenden Kumarasamy 16:37
But the other part of that that's more important is the only way to get to that level, the only way to get to that point, is by reiterating multiple times. Because, if you're keeping it to yourself and you're just trying it 30-50 times, that's good; but you're never going to be exceptional, because you're never getting the feedback, even the people who give you hate comments. You're not getting the feedback that you need to 10x your presentations. And I'll give you the best example, there's a video on my channel called Five Public Speaking Tips.
April Malone 17:06
Brenden Kumarasamy 17:07
But what people don't know is that the video that's up now currently that looks all nice and, you know, I got into the suit shop. That's actually the second version of the video, not the first. The first one I did over there, literally in my basement.
April Malone 17:21
In this room?
Brenden Kumarasamy 17:22
Right, in the other room actually. But, yeah, you got it in the basement with no lighting, no budget. And I sent it to a couple of teachers, and they ripped it apart. They were like "You suck." They were actually really hurtful, actually.
April Malone 17:34
Brenden Kumarasamy 17:35
Like, "You should have used this example." And did it hurt? Absolutely. But, man, was it good feedback. So, I started writing all this stuff. So then a year later, now I had made this video that's 100 times better, and I was like "Now what are you gonna do, you can't say anything bad about this video now." Right? So--
April Malone 17:50
Did you send it to them again?
Brenden Kumarasamy 17:51
No, I was too lazy there's too--
April Malone 17:54
I don't want the pain again!
Brenden Kumarasamy 17:56
I don't want the pain! But, yeah, I think the bottom line is it is important to understand the impact that we can make with video. But we're not maximizing our potential if we're not sharing consistently; because, by not sharing consistently, we're not able to ramp up our camera skills at a level that allows us to share a message with millions of people, if that makes any sense. So, for me, what made me great on camera was not the fact that I'm MasterTalk, the communication guy, the guy who's done all these presentations in university. What made me great on camera is because I practiced 500 times last year. Not five times, not 50 times, I practiced 500 times. And I'm sure you get scared of that number, you're like "Oh man, he did like 500 ten-minute videos? No, no, no. All you have to do is go on your Instagram. Go on Instagram stories and just go like this. "Hey guys, here's a thought--See you tomorrow." That's it. I did that every day. That's 365 times a year, and the other 140 was the YouTube videos. That's how I practiced 500 times. If everyone did that, they'll be better. It's like you, April. How's your communication skills, on a scale of 1 to 10, relative to where you started in episode one to where you are today. In this episode,
April Malone 19:16
Well, I'm only on episode--I think this will be episode eight. One thing that I'm learning is that I am--Well, I'm transcribing the transcript. I'm typing out all of the words that both of us say; and I do use some speech recognition technology to help me with that, but then I have to go through and listen and see. And I can hear myself saying, "you know, um like, so" like 500 times in one episode. The last episode that I just did was a solo episode. I was telling my own story, and as I went back through, I'm like, "Oh man, I'm gonna be interviewing Brenden, the speech guy, and I just said 'you know' about 50,000 times in 45 minutes." Um--And there I go, I say "um" again, and it's--I think the awareness of that is going to be helpful for me, but it's going to take some practice to break that habit. I think where I started to get a little bit more confidence on camera is when I started teaching English as a second language, just to be comfortable seeing my face, you know, and talking, having a conversation, and knowing this is being recorded and just getting comfortable with that. Forty hours of that for two years, I got comfortable on camera. Now, I need to get comfortable with how I'm speaking.
Brenden Kumarasamy 20:30
Right, absolutely. So I guess the question for you is, where do you think you'll be at Episode 80. Episode 200?
April Malone 20:35
In a better place, I hope?
Brenden Kumarasamy 20:37
It's--you know 100% of the podcasts. So, this is not like a 97%, not like 82%, but 100% of the podcast hosts that I know who have done more than 100 episodes, they'll always say that their hundredth episode was 100 times better than the first episode.
April Malone 20:57
Brenden Kumarasamy 20:57
Always. So the point that I'm driving with that and you've, I guess, demonstrated that through your two years of English coaching through video is that progression almost always leads to obsession. You start at the beginning. You're in your mother's basement, you're making some videos, you think it's a stupid idea--I'm talking about me right now. And then a year later, I think I can be the next Dale Carnegie. What happened in a year for me to say that? Consistent, consistent practice. I saw the progression. I got obsessed. And now I write my content out three years in advance.
April Malone 21:37
Wow. Wow, that's ambitious. Do you ever think about perhaps publishing more often? I know you're doing once a week.
Brenden Kumarasamy 21:50
Definitely not, and I'll explain why.
Everyone's got their own style. But for me, especially, in my niche, public speaking videos is very hard to make. Not because of the editing or the process or the suit shop that I go to. It's because of the content. There's only so much you could talk about in speech coaching ums and ahs, silences. That's why podcasting is great, because I can always just say the same thing over and over again. "So , Brenden, tell me about virtual presentations, I'm sure you don't get this a lot." Yeah, well, I get it all the time.
April Malone 22:22
Brenden Kumarasamy 22:23
It's like every day--it's like every show. Not this one, though, it's interesting; but I'm happy to answer that question.
April Malone 22:28
We'll get there.
Brenden Kumarasamy 22:29
Yeah, we'll get there, it's coming. But the point that I'm driving is that-that's why, especially on YouTube, I'm a big believer of quality over quantity. So I really want to make sure that whenever I post, its gold; so that people watch it every week. So that's why my strategy has been--I'm actually going pretty crazy now since I'm in COVID mode, is I want to actually write up my next decades. Right now, I'm writing 2023. So, the goal is, by the end of COVID, which I think will take maybe another year? I should have my content 'til I'm 35, which is 10 years of content, that's the goal, anyway.
April Malone 23:07
How much of that will batch? How much of that will you batch and get done ahead of time and then just--
Brenden Kumarasamy 23:11
I'm actually debating that, because, I don't know, I guess I'm so mission driven that there's a small fear that lingers on in the back of my brain that I might die in my 20s, even if the chances of that happening are almost zero to none, I don't want to take the risk; because there's nobody else in my age group who's sharing these videos right now at this level of quality. So, I've been pretty obsessed with this; but the point is, for the audience, I know they think I'm deranged now--the point that I'm driving, you know, me and April are trying to drive here, is the worst thing that you can do is not start. Not for your own ego, not for what you think about yourself, but for what you're doing onto others. I started MasterTalk when I was 22, and I started coaching CEOs and executives when I was 23. Who am I to coach them? Where did I come from? Why do they trust me with their transformation? The reason, two reasons, one is preparation. You know, I know a lot about the subject, right? And knowing your stuff is important. But the second thing that's more important is having a belief system. If Julia is 16 years old, is in high school, and wants to get better communication, what resources does she have today? The answer is nothing.
April Malone 24:24
Her English teacher?
Brenden Kumarasamy 24:25
Right. If I don't make videos, nobody else will. So I'm very mission driven in that way. And that's what made me start MasterTalk, not because I could be famous, not because I'm great at camera. I sucked at camera and still do in many ways, but the idea is, it's for Julia. It's for people like her, that need resources to share their ideas with the world that only I can provide.
April Malone 24:49
So, we are speaking to not only entrepreneurs and people who are trying to make like coaching videos and, you know, selling a product or something like that on YouTube or on a video on, you know, behind a paywall; but we are also just talking to employees. And, so, you know, I hadn't asked you about virtual meetings yet. But how can you speak to both? Like how can, just becoming more confident on camera or building your speaking skills, how do you think that will help people in their daily life now?
Brenden Kumarasamy 25:23
Absolutely. So, so let's take this from from top to bottom. So top of the line is as follows: Realize that communications is a much bigger part of your life than you realize. Presentation skills is actually a very small component of communication. Truth of the matter is, communication is everything. It's the tough conversations you have with your family. It's the great conversations you have with your family. It's the way that you get dinner with your kids or the friends that you like. It's the people that you negotiate business deals with. Communication is everything. And by understanding that, you'll realize that the better you get at it, it'll be better not just for you but for your life and the people around you. That's why the question I always ask people, especially those who are really scared of communication, is the following: "How would the world change if you were an incredible speaker? If you were an exceptional communicator, how would the world change?" And most people go, "Uh, you know, like, I would get promoted at work." No, there's a lot more to that. You would fight less with the people that you love, because you'd actually understand what they're trying to say. You try to seek to understand them. Communicate in a clearer way. It'll be much easier to do a bunch of other stuff. You could travel to countries where you have no clue what the language is and, for some reason, still understand what they're saying. That's what communication is about. If you can understand that, I think you'll be mastering a lot more than just communication.
April Malone 26:59
So, are we talking about body language and understanding nuance and all of these things then, too?
Brenden Kumarasamy 27:04
Exactly. So, think of it like this. And we don't even need to go into the details here. The idea is that, as you become a master of one, you become a master of all. So what happened with me was I got really good at presentation skills; but, because I only focused on that skill, I got better at everything else automatically. So my conversational skills improved. The way that I ran meetings improved, whether it was virtual or in person. The way that I did negotiations improved. And then, when I focused on the next one, "Okay, let me just focus on conversations. Let me go meet a bunch of executives and put myself out of my comfort zone." I did that. Then my presentation skills improved. The way that I interacted with seven-year-olds improved, you know, like all of that stuff. So the key idea for people is that communication is a multiplier effect. If you get better on camera, you'll automatically get better in meetings. If you get better in meetings, you'll automatically get better on camera, and it creates the spiraling effect where you just become an overall amazing communicator.
April Malone 28:07
Wow, so closing a business deal and communicating with a kindergartener. How are they related?
Brenden Kumarasamy 28:13
Oh geez, so many, so many ways, I'll give an example. So I'm very peculiar in my industry in the sense that I do have conversations with a lot of people who are much younger than me? My most successful client is actually six years old. And the reason is because I always want to keep a pulse on the moment in which, in the kid's life where they go "Public speaking is a bad thing." So, for example, those discussions that most people aren't willing to have in my industry lead to insights that only I can take advantage of. So simple example, going back to the six-year-old, my most successful client, it was one of my executives' kids. She was incredible. She had a professional mic on. She was singing songs, she was singing like "The Wheels On the Bus Go Round." Really, so much confidence. Why? I asked myself, why is it that she is such an incredible speaker, like amazing? I'll send you the video after, you'll be mindblown. It makes no sense. But her dad, terrible, absolutely a terrible speaker, at least before he met me. But the point is, why is that? And then I understood. The perception of public speaking was completely different. The six-year-old saw public speaking as a fun thing: "Oh, Brenden's like yelling on his screen; and he's, like, you know, jumping up and down. He's like having a lot of fun. This is great. It's like going to a park or something." The executive is like, "Oh, you know, Brenden, I got to get an ROI on this investment. I need to have a business deal and all that stuff."
April Malone 29:41
The stakes were high.
Brenden Kumarasamy 29:43
Right, exactly. So, the way that this ties in is it helped me realize the most important lesson from from speaking to her and coaching her, the six year old, which was the following, the following is a quote from a movie, actually, Yes, Man. "The world is a playground; but, somewhere along the way, most of us tend to forget it." And I bring that insight from a seven-year-old, from a six-year-old, into my business negotiations; because, at the end day, if I feel that this negotiation isn't trying to--if the other person isn't trying to help me, I shouldn't even be doing the deal. "Life is a playground." I should just go work with people that actually enjoy my company. So that's an example of how things that you really wouldn't expect, like my karaoke videos, my dancing videos, I have a bunch of weird stuff on my channel, tie into something that's actually very formal and professional.
April Malone 30:33
So, the playfulness--I mean, I know a lot of people that feel, you know, physically ill from the idea of public speaking and are always told that old "Well, just pretend that the whole audience is naked." I mean, really?
Brenden Kumarasamy 30:45
Don't even get me started on all of that.
April Malone 30:46
I know--no, no, no. Like, is that where you're going? Like, it just you just need to remember how to have fun with it?
Brenden Kumarasamy 30:53
There's that, and there's the other part; but let's talk about the system itself, that might be useful for people. Why are we scared of public speaking anyways? I've been on shows in a couple of places around the world, and we're all scared of public speaking. We don't know why. The answer is very simple. Think about it: 100% of all the presentations you given, not like 80%, pretty much all of them. You never gave for fun, it was a chore. It was an obligation, it was the thing you needed to do. We don't wake up in the morning and say "Hey, April. Do you want to get breakfast and present all day?" Nobody says that, nobody does that, it's not a thing. We're sitting in high school together, it's more likely. Three things happen: We never get to pick the topic. And, if we do, it's generally something we're not passionate about. Number two, students. Students don't care to listen to us, not because they don't care about us. Your name is a month. Of course people like you, April, it's not the issue. The issue is that they're not listening to you, because they are going 10 minutes after you. You're presenting. You think you're a bad speaker, not true. It's because I'm biting my nails in that room going go "Oh, crap. I've got to talk about Egypt after April's done speaking."
April Malone 32:02
They're thinking about themselves.
Brenden Kumarasamy 32:00
Exactly. Number three, teachers. Teachers are very well educated, very well intentioned, but also very stressed. You got 70 students in a classroom, 50 students in a classroom, and you've got to go through all of their presentations in two classes? What else are you supposed to do? Coach them for 10 minutes each? You don't have time. And this happens in every subject, math, science, language, on and on. That's why we're scared of public speaking. That's why we're afraid of it. So if we start to acknowledge that fear, we're actually taking the wrong approach. We have to realize the fear is the default. You have to go "Hey, wait a second, fear of public speaking is nothing to do with me." That's because the system forced me to perceive public speaking in a bad way. And the flip argument to that, April, is using the Julie example. Why is it that Julie is an introverted 16 years old, happens to love theater? Because her perception of theater, her perception of public speaking in that environment is different. But Brenden, it's to share an idea. It's to share ideas that matter, to make people laugh. It's to entertain people, and that's the punchline.
To entertain people?
In some way. Well in that situation, but the advice I have essentially is, after you've reflected on how the world would change if you were a great speaker, then ask yourself, "What happens if you don't do it?" If you aren't clear about the person that is suffering if you don't put the videos out. So for me, actually, let's go with most people. For most people, option A and option B looks something like this: Option A is do the thing, post the video, do the podcast, have the conversation with April. Option B is watching Netflix. So, obviously most people--and eat those potato things you were talking about, they sound really good, I need to get some too.
April Malone 34:06
Sweet potato fries.
Brenden Kumarasamy 34:08
Yeah, I need to try those, too. But for me, the ultimatium. Option A is make the videos for Julia, or Option B, watch Julia suffer. And millions of people like her, from around the world, in Cambodia, in, you know, Germany, whatever. But not just for today, April. For the rest of eternity. Because public speaking--communication will always stay the same. Some are going to change. So, if I don't make videos, I'm not just hurting the millions of people today, I'm hurting the millions of people tomorrow. And that is unacceptable to me. That's why I'm so committed to the YouTube channel.
April Malone 34:46
Wow. It's good stuff. It's good stuff. I want to talk about How did you find your way into a place where you found speaking to be fun? Before you had any training? Like, how did you fall into a club or the case thing that you were talking about where you were competing? Like, did you find that through Toastmasters? Or your did your speech teacher make you do it, or how did you find it?
Brenden Kumarasamy 35:19
Yeah, I'm happy to add more light to that. So, what a case competition is essentially, April, is a business gives you a problem. So, let's say McDonald's comes up to us and says, you know, Brenden, you know, April, all these yogis, you know, they love health and all that stuff. They don't eat burgers anymore. What do we do? How do we get them back in our stores? This is called a business problem. How do you get people to eat salads now, to go back to McD's and have a Big Mac or something. So, what we need to do as a team is, in three hours, we need to come up with a solution, make a financial statement, do a bunch of stuff, read a 20-page document. With no internet, at the end of the three hours, we need to present our presentation, our solution, to the actual executives of the company. That is a case competition. Pretty intense, right? So now the question that's probably on your mind is, "Why would anyone put themselves through this? You know, like football or cheerleading or something else, just walking sounds more interesting. The reason is because, much like how--how do I explain this--as much like how universities are feeder schools to professional sports teams, you know, you have to go to like a professional--a big school, and you get drafted. Business school, that's the equivalent.
April Malone 36:39
Brenden Kumarasamy 36:39
So, a lot of the people who go on to work at these big companies, think about bankers on Wall Street or management consultants, like all these big like business jobs, most of those people are case competitors, or people who did case.
April Malone 36:53
It's outside of my realm of experience, because I studied music and art; and I never had to do one of these.
Brenden Kumarasamy 37:00
It's totally fine. You didn't miss out on much, trust me. But I enjoyed it.
April Malone 37:03
You liked it.
Brenden Kumarasamy 37:05
Exactly. So, what happened was I mostly just did case competitions to get a job. It wasn't really like "Oh I needed to--I love this." But, when I started doing them, they became an obsession. Like the first six months, I was like, "You know, I'm just doing this for my CV." Actually, no, the first six weeks. It was, "Oh yeah, I'm just doing this for the CV." But then two months into it, and I was like, "Hey, we're putting a lot of effort into this, we better win this competition." And then we didn't win. And then I was frustrated. I was like, "Well no, we're gonna win next." And then it just spiraled. I did it for three years. I did 50 case competitions. I was maniacal about it. I loved it. So, yeah, that's that's how I learned it. But, I think to answer your question, though, it's this idea that I fell in love with public speaking. It was something that I was good at. It was something like--it was like a competition that was sports related but not had nothing to do with sports, and it really connected with my competitive spirit. So, the advice I have for people, especially if you're struggling with public speaking or you're just getting started, find a topic that you believe you're really good at that solves a problem for somebody else, and do that same presentation hundreds of times. This is what I call the repeatable presentation. Because the issue with most people, April, is they only present one presentation once; and then they dump it and go on to the next one, right? So let's say for you, if I made this a bit more of a coaching session. For you, the presentation is your own podcast. What does work from home mean? What are you trying to achieve with it? Who are you trying to inspire? When you start presenting that to a business commerce area, to a chamber of commerce in Arizona. At the beginning, it's going to sound something like this. "Hey guys, April here, you know, you know."
April Malone 38:58
Brenden Kumarasamy 38:58
No, no, but hear me out though, because I know you can do this. But after you do this 25 times, then your presentation is gonna sound something like this. "Growing up in a family with 10 kids, I understood the importance of managing my time, and there's so many people out there who don't know how to do that at home. Imagine this..." See, like that's what I'm saying. There's so much room there, and you can totally do that after a couple of times.
April Malone 39:25
You have a good memory. I showed Brenden a picture of my huge family right before we started.
Brenden Kumarasamy 39:32
It was really nice. I mean, it's not something you can forget--it's a shocker.
April Malone 39:35
It is pretty memorable. But I mentioned Toastmasters a few minutes ago, and I wanted to come back to that for a second. I actually was--I think it was at a speech class back when I was maybe in my undergrad, I had to, I think, visit a Toastmasters. I can't remember if I did in high school or college, but I just sat in on one Toastmasters class. It might have even been 20 minutes. I don't think we even stayed for the whole thing. But I never went back again for 20 years. And, just last week, someone invited me to join them for our virtual Toastmasters. I was like "So, I don't exactly know what that would like look like or entail." And he sent me a video, and it was talking about the guy who counts all the ahs, like the the uh-ah counter, and then someone who's--I don't know, they have five or eight different types of roles; and everyone's basically critiquing a different part of your speech, and then you get reviewed on that. And I'm like, that sounds terrifying to me. I don't know if that's gonna make me love speaking. Can you speak to that?
Brenden Kumarasamy 40:43
Absolutely. So, my overall recommendation for those who don't have time for the full story, is I do recommend Toastmasters. And the reason I do is because it's very cost effective. It's like 100 bucks a year, and it gives you that community. And, contrary to popular belief, Toastmasters is actually a very positive supportive environment. I've been fortunate to, you know, I've been a guest for maybe 50 or so clubs around the world, just because of COVID, so I don't have to fly. No, no, isn't in person.
Yeah, virtual. So, I've had the chance to speak at a couple of them. There isn't one club where I said "Oh, these people are really rude." No, this is a great environment for you to learn, to be positive. And, yeah, sure, you'll get some negative feedback sometimes; but it's always given with love. So, for those reasons, I do recommend overall. But the caveat I will add to it is that the issue with Toastmasters is, if you want to be exceptional as a speaker. So, this is great if you're getting started. So, if you're someone who's just scared of public speaking, I highly endorse Toastmasters. But the next level to that is understand that the best speakers never stay in Toastmasters. When you get really good at communication, well, you don't need Toastmasters, you leave. So, you will never always get the best evaluations. That's why my recommendation--that's why I love Toastmasters and working with them, is take my free videos, bring those tips into that club, so that everyone has access to the best knowledge in the world. You know, the knowledge I share costs, what, like hundreds of dollars an hour these days; and all that's free now, and then make everyone in the club better so that you can all evaluate better, for free, and then be a better club. That's that's the way I approach it; but, overall, I recommend going. Absolutely.
April Malone 42:30
Wow. Brenden, I want to talk a little bit about some of the technical things that, you know, now that we're all virtual, how can we be better communicators in this technical world. I know you told me that you're into tech, that you have some good tech stuff. Like, where do you draw the line? Like, what's necessary to be a good communicator, and what is just extra? A barrier to communication? Sometimes I think some people won't communicate until they feel like they have everything just right. I don't feel like I have the best microphone, and it kind of made me nervous about starting the podcast, I thought maybe I should wait and get a better one; and then I'm like, "Screw it, I just need to get started."
Brenden Kumarasamy 43:14
I completely agree. I mean, my first 50 videos. No sorry, my first 25 videos, and my first 50 videos. First 25, I did with my phone. And the next 25, I did with the camera; but I was still in my mother's basement. So it was only six months ago, six or nine months ago that I transitioned to professional. Right. So, for the first year, I was pretty much doing everything in my basement.
April Malone 43:40
Brenden Kumarasamy 43:41
So, yes, I completely agree, you're always better off starting with something. In terms of the gear itself, I wouldn't worry too much. Even today, I mean this camera right now is my webcam, it's not anything fancy. This is a bit fancy, because it just the audio just needs to sound good for the recording. But, other than that, it's pretty basic; but the advice I have for online is to understand the following: The difference between the online world and the in-person one is that, when I'm in person when we're together, let's say I was in Arizona giving you a workshop or something, I can gauge how you're feeling in real time. So, let's say, I say a joke. Two things happen. April will either laugh at the joke and go "Haha, Brenden, you're so funny." Or two, which is much more likely, you'll look at me and go, "Wow, this guy is not funny. He should really not be saying jokes." I have no clue what's happening. But, either way, I can adapt. I can say "Oh, April's right, I'm not funny. I gotta adapt, I gotta adjust. I don't have that luxury in an online presentation. Even in this very conversation we're having now April, we're one-on-one. I have no clue how you're reacting to me--why? Because I'm not looking at you. I'm looking at the camera.
April Malone 45:28
Especially when everyone's muted.
Brenden Kumarasamy 45:47
Right. So, in Zoom, you would be able to; but, even then, you know little screens. But it's something like GoTo, like GoTo Webinar.
April Malone 45:54
You don't see anybody?
Right. That's why to look at both of them directly, you have to always just keep looking at the lens. Right? So, the key is, for that let's just short tip and then a harder tip. So, easy tip, put a picture of somebody that you love right next to the lens. Or like your favorite food, like for you, it's those sweet potato fries that aren't fried, you just--
That sounds really brutal to put yourself in a room full of people who are just there to critique you. But if you all know that that's the purpose, I guess it wouldn't be as intimidating.
Brenden Kumarasamy 50:12
Absolutely, that's definitely the goal, April. I think for me what I've learned is, I'm in a very unique position in life. I got lucky that I developed, and I figured out what my gifts were in the world. And I'm here to finish what Dale Carnegie couldn't. You know, the unfortunate news of his story is, we don't have a Dale Carnegie podcast, we don't have a Dale Carnegie YouTube channel. And I got lucky that technology like this existed in the time period that I was alive, and I just happened to go to this school that had all these cases. So I think the point is, I owe it to the world and to my own contribution; because I don't know how long I'm going to be alive, to share this important message with the world. So, yeah, the goal is definitely to go full time, hopefully soon.
April Malone 50:58
All right, well, good. I like this. Do you have any final words that you'd like to share with our audience, anything that would be especially helpful for people who are just getting started as far as working from home or embarking on maybe starting something like a YouTube channel?
Brenden Kumarasamy 51:19
Absolutely. I think there's a bunch of stuff I could tell you, but I think the big one is understand clearly what I mean by having an idea worth sharing. The way that I think about it is, I think an idea worth sharing means that one, not a million, not 100,000, one person finds it useful. And, spoiler alert, everyone listening right now, and everyone in the world, has something that one other person cares about, which means, if you made it this far in the podcast, you're still listening, I encourage you to share that idea with the world. I don't care if it's a recipe for cupcakes. I don't care if it's a YouTube channel. I don't care if it's a podcast, it could be tissue papers. As long as you believe that the idea adds value to one other person, you have the duty and responsibility to share it; and I hope that my videos can be the bridge, so that you can share those ideas with the world. So, best of luck.
April Malone 52:25
Tell us where people can find you and your videos.
Brenden Kumarasamy 52:28
Absolutely. So if you want to check those out, that's MasterTalk, in one word, on YouTube; and, if you want to send me a message directly, I'm very accessible. I answer all my DMS. So, you can message me at Master Your Talk on Instagram.
April Malone 52:42
Master Your Talk.
Brenden Kumarasamy 53:25
April Malone 44:55
I know, I know, it's hard.
Brenden Kumarasamy 44:58
Right? So, imagine 20 little screens on a Zoom call. How are you supposed to see how people are reacting? So, the punch line is that the same joke that I told you in Arizona, with the same enthusiasm, the same positivity, the same love, I need to say-- the same, all of that, assume it's funny. And that is challenging.
April Malone 45:22
Brenden Kumarasamy 45:22
How are you supposed to tell a joke when you don't know if people are laughing? That's the challenge.
Yeah, in a webinar format, it's even worse; because, like, there is nobody. It's just you. You're speaking to nothing.
April Malone 45:39
Right. Can you even--can you see everyone? I haven't used the webinar format of, like, Zoom yet? I just have only been in the groups.
Brenden Kumarasamy 45:55
Oh, no. You don't see anybody.
April Malone 45:56
Oh, wow, I didn't realize it was that barren. I know. You're right. It's like, when you are in a virtual meeting--haha, we're going to talk about it--in order to, like, look like you're paying attention to people, you end up not looking at them. So it's really a conundrum. Because, if you want to see Joe down there and Sally over here, your eyes are way far away; and they think that you're not paying attention, it's complicated.
Brenden Kumarasamy 46:38
Just tape it up.
Put them right there. Simple, that's easy. And then you'll get used to it. That's one part. The other part--oh, go ahead, please.
April Malone 46:48
I'm gonna say, I actually usually just kind of like make the screen small so that the people are as close to the camera as possible, so I can still see you in my peripheral vision. I have you like that with me right now. I put you as close to the camera as I can.
Brenden Kumarasamy 47:01
Ah, that's smart. So I can't do that on my laptop sometimes; but I gotta figure it out. But, yeah, sure if you could do that, April's tip definitely holds. But in the situation where that's not possible, then just put a picture of something; or, do both, you know, do both. Right. But the other tip that's more important is, two things. One is the perfect virtual room. So what you want to do is get a bunch of people on a Zoom call that are very critical, that aren't very nice, to critique everything, to be like "Ah, Brenden, when is the last time you got a haircut, Brenden? Why are you wearing a suit? What is this? Why do you have a white background?" They critique everything from the way that you speak to the way that you are, so that when the actual presentation happens, you're flawless. That's one. Two is imagined the perfect audience. So, when I started podcasting, April, to your point earlier, but off the record, we were talking. Yeah, I get it, you know, the first show I'm kind of sitting there wondering why is a stranger asking me questions about my life? This is so bizarre. But then, over time, what happens is the perception that we have of our audience changes. It goes from, "Who's this April lady?" to "Wow, April is such a nice person. She is putting in so many hours, so much hard work, to make this podcast available for people. And it's such an honor and a pleasure for me to be here." So, because, when you go through that lens, I assume that I've known you for multiple years. Well, of course, April's great, she has like ten brothers and sisters.
April Malone 48:30
Nine. Nine brothers and sisters.
Brenden Kumarasamy 48:33
Correct, I don't even know how too bad, excuse me But the point that I'm driving is the following. Now that I am-- the intention that I bring to the conversation is totally different as if I already knew you, the way that I show up is also completely different. I'm not reserved at all, pretty open as you probably can tell, even if you have no clue who I am. So, that's the key. So, the idea is at the beginning, you won't believe this. Over time, as you get more and more positive feedback, whether it's the podcasts or the presentation of the video, because all it takes is one person who's watching your video to go--"Hey April, it's good." Over time, that belief that your audience is here to help you will eventually become true.
April Malone 49:24
I don't know if all of the people in my audience are going to be up for something like that, but it is a good place to start. At least for those of us--I know there are a lot of people, especially, like, female entrepreneurs who are just now, you know, trying to get their feet under them and start something. They have that mission or that message that they have to share, and they know that the world would be better if they do it, but you have to get over those fears. So, I appreciate some of these tips. You know, think of the best version of your audience. I love it. All right, well, this is good stuff. We're gonna wrap up in just a minute, but I do want to ask you if you're looking at making this like your permanent work-from-home job, teaching, speaking, and traveling a little bit, and mostly during the YouTube channel--or what's your bigger plan long term? You've got your 10-year plan, but?
All right, thank you so much Brenden for joining me tonight at this late, late hour. I appreciate you so much, and I will try to start to put some of these tips to practice. I'll check out your website and so will everyone else. Alright, this is April Malone with Yes, I Work From Home with Brenden with MasterTalk. Thank you so much.