Steve van Aperen's keynote presentations are often to 600 or more audience members. Pre-Covid this was mostly in person, but since the pandemic it's exclusively online. Nevertheless, the numbers are still the same. In any given address, Steve is presenting to hundreds.
And Steve was leaving money on the table.
Like a lot of successful keynote speakers, is great at what he does - presenting an inspiring message, full of depth, colour and anecdotes. However, when asked by his audience 'what's next?' he didn't have a follow-up live Master Class or a Self-Paced Learning Course. Steve had plenty of videos of previous presentations, but they were just a repeat of his presentation, focusing on information sharing, rather than skill transfer. What he was being asked by his audience, after the course, was how they could turn his theories into practice.
Keynote presentations are restricted in time and in audience size. The average corporate keynote is 30 to 45 minutes, and while top level speakers are able to fully engage their audience, they have no way of testing whether their advice ever gets transferred into practice. The audience may be motivated, but in order for the transfer of skills to occur the theories from the keynote presentation need to be converted into practice. And that involves training.
"Training doesn't come naturally to me. I've worked for the police force for close to three decades and received possibly thousands of hours of training, but I was rarely the trainer. I more enjoyed learning," says Steve van Aperen. "I wanted to convert my keynote presentations into practical courses, but I lacked the skill, and also the will, to do so. Of course, that all changed when I learnt STEPE."
Steve van Aperen is one of many keynote speakers who now has both a live Master Class and Self-Paced Learning Course built on the STEPE model. The model, originally developed by Keynote to Coach's founder, Morry Morgan, ensures that true skills are taught during training programs, rather than just theories. Theories, after all, can be learnt from a book. Or more specifically, from a Google search. "I've worked in the training and development space for 19 years, and worked alongside Americans, British, Canadian, Chinese, French, German and fellow Australians, and the biggest issue was they didn't have a systematic approach for skill transfer," says Morry Morgan. "Whether they were teaching sales, management, leadership or, say, presentation skills, each lesson was haphazard. In a lot of cases, there was also an imbalance between the theory and the practice, so trainers were talking for the majority of the course, rather than trainees practicing and being evaluated on the skill."
The STEPE model stands for 'Skill', 'Theory', 'Example', 'Practice' and 'Evaluation'. It was first coined in 2015 by Morry when he was developing training content for the stand-up comedy school, The School of Hard Knock Knocks. The acronym has since been applied to leadership, presentations, project management, and human resources content. Morry jokes that it has even been used to teach the fine art of making a smooth coffee.
"In my previous role, leading a German company in China, I bought a relatively complicated coffee grinder and coffee machine for our training centre. To teach the staff both the STEPE model, and how to make an awesome coffee, I trained them on STEPE and then asked them to create a STEPE module for making coffee using this specific machine. Two birds with one stone. And within a week, all 90 staff were confidently making coffee - even if they didn't drink it themselves!"
In short, offering practical courses that teach skills and can be applied immediately can be billed. And yet, most keynote speakers either have substandard or no post-keynote course to offer clients. Says Steve van Aperen, one of Australia's most experienced keynote speakers, "I must have left hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table over the past 15 years, because I simply didn't have a course I could promote to my audience and social media followers."
How much money have you left on the table?