Founders Interview: Chris Baldwin, 10xSpeaker

February 23, 2020

By: Richard Lau

Founders Interview: Chris Baldwin, 10xSpeaker

What does your company do?

We offer full-day speaker trainings that are designed to awake the speaker in you, so that you can more effectively brand yourself and your company through having a voice and being heard. 10xSpeaker is a community who all share in a common vision: the ability to share your ideas so that others listen and want more is foundational to your success as a human being, entrepreneur and organisation.

How did you come up with this idea?

My name is Chris Baldwin and I was terrified of public speaking just 3 years ago. So afraid that you could not pay me to get up on stage and say some words that would add value to the people listening. Now I do it all over the world as a keynote speaker, event host and speaker trainer.

Speaking transformed me to the point where it really started to 10X my results. The better I communicated my ideas, the more people would listen and the more they would take action on my words, which if crafted well and strategically, generates results for them and for me and actually grows businesses.

I just asked myself, what if others knew what I now know and what if I could teach them to develop a voice and be heard? What if I could teach them something that could 10X their career and their business? This is the moment 10xSpeaker was born. Your ability to communicate your ideas effectively in your relationships, your team, your organisation or as the founder/CEO of your own business is so foundational to generating the results and success you are after. It’s at the core of being a great leader. Your ability to lead both yourself and the people around you is directly linked to your ability to communicate.

How did you decide on your company name?

So this at first was a branding play! You see, my company in the Netherlands is called “10x Digital”. As a keynote speaker, I also speak about the exponential nature of technology and how humans are very linear in both their thinking and evolution. Technology is relentless and exponential in nature. 1-2-4-8-16-32….20x is a million. 30x is a billion. Did you know that folding a piece of A4 paper 42 times, accumulated a thickness (assuming resources were abundant), that would span from the earth to the moon. If you folded the paper 50 times you would reach the sun. And if you folded 100x, you would cross the entire observable universe of 46 billion lightyears! That's the power of technology and that's where all our pain in dealing with it and trying to co-exist with it comes from. We grow linearly whereas technology grows exponentially - Its 10X!

So 10x Digital (my company and holding) simply launched a product which will in time form its own company called 10xSpeaker and we have a logo design to match the brand. X also marks the spot and X is where everything comes together. It's about connection. My signature keynote and the one I have on 100’s of podiums for Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many other tech giants as the open keynote speaker is called “Meaningful Connections”. How to connect in a meaningful way through a hyper-connected ecosystem. That is also the topic of my TEDx talk which went viral and made it to recently.

This is just scratching the surface of what I accomplished in a short 3 years. And it all came from this simple idea - What if I could have the course and skill to stand up and be heard. What if I could share what I know and others would listen and want more?

What do you know that others would find value in? What ideas do you have that are worth sharing? What if you were able to communicate those ideas more effectively so that others could hang off your every word and ask for more?

Think about how this would grow everything you focused on - your relationships, your influence, your authority, your results, your business!

Who was your first customer?

So my first big client actually came from my first major keynote gig. On October 4, 2018 I delivered my first TEDx talk. I was asked the day before to give it. I was also sick in bed with a fever and throat infection. I had almost no voice! And I get a call with the question “Would you like to do a TEDx talk….tomorrow!?”. What does an entrepreneur say in a situation like that? “No problem!”

So I rang the event manager and she told me the theme this year is crossing borders. I got off that call and went to bed that night without a story! I have nothing. And my TEDx talk was the next day. So I did what any entrepreneur would do, I set my alarm for 5am and by 7am I had my talk done. All crafted out on my speachmap (which I teach during my 10xSpeaker training). On the train on the way to the venue, I made the title of the talk “The choice is yours”. I delivered my talk in the afternoon after 2 hours of preparing my voice as it was only at about 50% capacity and I had a fever. The talk was rated the best of the day (there were 8 in total). It was the most relevant to crossing borders (I spoke about technology and the choices we make when adopting it into our lives) and it went viral on youtube (at least for the first 24 hours). That TEDx talk generated over $50,000 USD in revenue for my business in the first year and keeps generating demand for me as a keynote speaker month in month out.

What idea do you have in you that is worth sharing with the world? What if you had the skill and courage to give a talk that would change everything for you and the people that heard it? What could that mean to your reputation, your ability to influence? Your brand? Your company?

Look at Simon Sinek. Just one TEDx talk on a simple idea “Start with Why” addressing a simple question “Why do you do what you do?” took his business to a multi-million dollar enterprise and brand within a decade of him sharing his idea through a TEDx stage.

So to come back to your question: “who was your first customer?” - The day after my TEDx talk was my first and biggest ever keynote to date. It was the first time I got paid a significant sum of money to deliver a keynote, it was the only planair keynote and it was in front of 1200 people on a rockstar podium to the largest law firm in the Netherlands. It was their global summit. And I started with the story on my first TEDx talk the day before!

I opened by asking a simple question: What if you got asked today to do a TED talk tomorrow? Your chance to share that one idea you have with the world. What would you say? Yes or No?

And the crowd went wild. I felt like a rock star. And they felt and immediately understood the importance of having a voice. The importance of being able to move quickly and grabbing the opportunities around you to share your ideas. To build your brand through powerful communication. This simple concept was foundational to their success as consultants in the legal and tax space. They were young and ambitious and they wanted to have a voice in their organisation.

After the keynote, the head of HR came up to me and asked me “Can you help us?” Can you help us present our ideas better? Can you help us leverage our story to sell our products and services? Can you be our trainer?

And I said YES! I now train them for the second consecutive year in presentation skills and client communications. That’s how I got to my first big client for my new company.

It all came down to me developing a voice and branding myself as not just someone who can walk the talk, but someone who understands that action speaks louder than words. Enabling others to do what I do is highly gratifying for my work and highly empowering for thiers.

What did you wish you knew before you started your company?

I had to figure it all out along the way. I wish I had someone who could have helped me avoid some of the mistakes I made. That is why I built 10xSpeaker, to help you avoid some mistakes and pitfalls many if not all of us make on our journey when trying to communicate our ideas to others. 10xSpeaker helps you accelerate your development and results so that you grow faster and on a better foundation of effective and powerful communication.

What are you looking forward to the coming year?

Helping others like you develop a voice and being heard. It is so incredibly gratifying when the people I teach come back to me months later to say thank you. I want more of these results. To see others 10X their results, success and happiness through effective communication. 10xSpeaker is a community and movement that will enable more people to be able to grow and succeed in both their business and in life.

What three words describe you as a person?

The key question I try to answer as a speaker is this one: “How should others feel after they hear me speak?” I have defined 3 feelings that should be synonymous with me and my voice. These are: 1. Presence. I want people to feel present in the room when I speak. 2. Inspired. I want people to be inspired through my words. 3. Energised. I want people to be energised to the point they want to take action now.

What I discovered as a speaker is that people feel what you feel. So for my audience or the people I speak to to feel present, inspired and energised; well I must feel present, inspired and energised. And that is exactly what I do. I find and share stories that make me present, inspired and energised. The people that hear them feel the same. And through feedback forms I am able to measure and quantify this.

On a more personal level, this comes from others as I actually ask them this question “What words come to your mind if you had to describe me to someone else?” They always answer: Present, Inspirational, a person of action (energising).

What is the last book you've read that you would recommend others read?

Haha, so I can’t read. I am completely dyslexic and it takes me weeks to get through a book. So I don’t try. Instead I listen to audio books. And the beauty about listening to an audio book is that there are no er’s and ah’s and the words that enter in through your ears actually have a huge effect on the words coming out of your mouth! So I listen and speak instead of reading and writing. And this has improved my speaking ability a lot.

When I turned 40, I started listening to audio books and I have listened to a book a day for three and a half years! I got through about 1000 books. A bit of an overkill but I actually did it! So I have so many great books to recommend. But you know the one thing I learned from “reading” 1000 books? It’s this: Knowledge is worth nothing unless you apply it.

So August 2018, when I launched my new company 10x Digital - i stopped consuming audio books and started applying what I learned and boy … a lot has manifested in my life since then.

If there was one book I was to recommend that is super foundational in your choices and focus in life it would be “Essentialism” by Greg Mckeown. This book will help you make better choices in life.

And since this is an interview on branding and most if not all of you reading this are trying to grow a business, the best book I ever read on building a remarkable business that is so actionable you can actually build a strategy a plan directly from this book (I listened to it 6x in 3 days - repetition is the mother of skill) - it's “The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz.

Oh and sorry for not keeping it to one...there are so many amazing books out there, but this one is a must for anyone looking at building a brand and produce that is remarkable and stands out from the crowd: “The Purple Cow” by Seth Godin.

Ok. That’s it for now. Got to run. Have a business to build ;)

If you want to contact or connect with me, go to my linkedin, connect and send me a message and let’s have a chat.


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