He had a way with a story, a way with humor and a way of making a point. And, his huge impact and success is certainly due in part to his formula.
Yes, he was such a riveting (and highly paid) speaker because he used a formula.
In the NY Times article by By William Yardley (Nov. 28, 2012)
At his busiest, he said, he spoke 150 times a year, and well into his 70s he was speaking 60 times a year. His fee was $50,000 a speech, plus expenses.
He had a formula: Prepare extensively every time, be funny (“Every seven to nine minutes I’ll have them laughing”), and frequently reinforce the broader message (“I make certain that every five minutes I’m giving them a concept, an idea, a process, a hope builder”).
Yes, being funny was a part of Zig’s formula.
He expands on being funny in his signature talk… “Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles”
Although I do everything humanly possible to hold your attention…every 7 to 9 minutes; you can set your watch, I’m going to lay a funny on you.
And every time I do, you know what happens? I see 50 or 100 people in the audience turn to somebody and say “what did he say?” You know why?
Even though as a professional speaker I do everything I know to do to hold your attention you see I can only speak at about 280 words a minute with gusts up to about 550. But you see your mind functions at least 10 times that fast. And between those words you’re taking side trips.
When Being “Naturally Funny” Failed Me
Even though I am considered to be “naturally funny” by my friends and family, when I actually tried stand-up comedy, being “naturally funny” failed me. To make a long story short (You can read more about it here) I worked hard, studied, found an excellent teacher and mentor and didn’t give up.
But, when I tried to translate my humor ability from stand-up comedy to humorous speeches, I struggled again.
As a result, I developed a process that demystified humor and allowed ANYONE, regardless of “natural ability” to quickly and easily get more laughs. If you’d like to get more laughs and like Zig, hold an audience’s attention and be highly paid, check out the Hook ’em with Humor.