Making it Personal - Mic Drop Podcast with Josh Linkner, Nikolas Badminton and Chad Foster

Bridget Hilton | Mental Health, Workplace Belonging, Motivational, Goal Setting Keynote Speaker | Experiential Billionaire Author

Thank you to Josh and Mic Drop Podcast for having me on! Loved learning from all of you.



Today is a very special episode of Mic Drop, and one that is especially fun. To explore how to bring our own personal journey to the stage in a thoughtful and compelling way, we’re joined by not one but three incredible speakers and incredible humans. In today's conversation, we explore how to authentically share personal stories without coming across as boastful or showy. How to be a transformational catalyst for audiences by making people feel safe and accepted, how to deal with confrontational audiences or those that are resistant to your message. And we even play a fun little game to dispel myths about professional keynote speaking while revealing some surprising truths.


Making It Personal (ft. Bridget Hilton, Chad Foster, and Nikolas Badminton)

Three top speakers on embracing change in life and onstage


“I trained to be a Samurai in Japan. I worked on a lobster boat in Massachusetts. I went to farm school. I was a model for a whiskey company, which was really fun. I once did a speech where I was in between Ben Affleck and Aerosmith, so there was a lot of imposter syndrome on that one. And I've learned all these weird skills. Learned how to trapeze or how to make my own coffee beans or fly a plane or go dog sledding.”

-Bridget Hilton


Chad Foster is an award-winning business leader, international keynote speaker and author of Blind Ambition. Connecting inspiration to implementation, Chad shares the insights gained from going blind at 21 and bouncing back to build a massive enterprise value, creating a more resilient leadership culture, and inviting diversity to drive business innovation.


Bridget Hilton, my next guest, is a leading expert in the art science and path to becoming rich in life experiences. Inspired by a viral video of a deaf woman hearing for the first time, she then founded the first social good electronics company called Listen, sold millions of products, partnered with the likes of Google and Delta Airlines and Amazon, and has given over 50,000 people the gift of hearing.


Nikolas Badminton is a world renowned futurist speaker, and he mentors leaders to create more connected, curious and creative teams that embrace futures designed to drive more profit and explosive growth.

Nik has spent 30 plus years working with leadership at over 300 leading organizations at the frontline of Foresight, strategy and disruption. He's the chief futurist at and the author of Facing Our Futures: How Foresight Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth.



[11:06] - Turning Stories About You into Stories About Your Audience

Being personal without stealing the spotlight

Many speakers struggle with finding the balance of sharing personal stories to engage with their audience without making it “all about them.” After all, a great keynote is about the audience — not the speaker.

That’s a balance all of this week’s guests have achieved in their own unique ways. For some, like Bridget, it’s about breaking up her incredible adventures with funny, self-deprecating stories of bad experiences and vulnerability.

For Chad, it’s all about disarming tension between speaker and audience. As someone who went blind at the age of 21, he understands the power of humor in breaking down barriers with people who may not know how to be “natural” around someone whose experienced something he has. 

[15:14] - Teaching Transformation

How to encourage an audience to embrace change

All three of our featured speakers have undergone transformations throughout their lifetimes. From changes in physical capabilities to changes in mindsets, how do they bring their personal stories into a powerful conversation about embracing change?

It’s all about getting the audience to ask: “How can I make this work for me rather than against me? What can I control?” If you can tap into that, you’ll have your audience captivated — and lead them to change.

[22:05] - What if the Audience Disagrees?

Connecting with your audience even when they’re disconnected

Our guests this week have all experienced audiences who aren’t fully receptive to their message. Their advice? Lean into it. If we really believe that keynote speaking is about initiating change, then a hostile audience is the perfect audience. They’re the ones who have the power to be transformed. So be jarring, be bold, and don’t adjust your message just to be as agreeable or “warm and fuzzy” as possible.

[27:27] - Speakers Think (Blank), but the Truth is (Blank)

Myths and truths in the speaking business

What do speakers believe that simply isn’t true? 

The greatest myth, on which all our guests agree, is that perfect delivery is the pinnacle of the craft. Many speakers believe that what an audience wants is the perfect flow, that you have your content down to a T, that you’re polished from the moment you step onstage to the moment you leave.

But really it’s about connection and even vulnerability. Your audience wants you to be human, to share your humanity with them. When you can do that, you can bring them into their world and help them see the transformational power within themselves. That’s what speaking is about, not standing up in an impeccable suit and “nailing it.”


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Hear from the world’s top thought leaders and experts, sharing tipping point moments, strategies, and approaches that led to their speaking career success. Throughout each episode, host Josh Linkner, #1 Innovation keynote speaker in the world, deconstructs guests’ Mic Drop moments and provides tactical tools and takeaways that can be applied to any speaking business, no matter it’s starting point. You'll enjoy hearing from some of the top keynote speakers in the industry including: Ryan Estis, Alison Levine, Peter Sheahan, Seth Mattison, Cassandra Worthy, and many more. Mic Drop is sponsored by ImpactEleven.

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Josh Linkner is a Creative Troublemaker. He believes passionately that all human beings have incredible creative capacity, and he’s on a mission to unlock inventive thinking and creative problem solving to help leaders, individuals, and communities soar. 

Josh has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million and is the author of four books including the New York Times Bestsellers, Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention. He has invested in and/or mentored over 100 startups and is the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners.

Today, Josh serves as Chairman and Co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research, training, and consulting firm. He has twice been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is the recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award. 

Josh is also a passionate Detroiter, the father of four, is a professional-level jazz guitarist, and has a slightly odd obsession with greasy pizza. 

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From refining your keynote speaking skills to writing marketing copy, from connecting you with bureaus to boosting your fees, to developing high-quality websites, producing head-turning demo reels, Impact Eleven (formerly 3 Ring Circus) offers a comprehensive and powerful set of services to help speakers land more gigs at higher fees. 

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In Detroit, history was made when Barry Gordy opened Motown Records back in 1960. More than just discovering great talent, Gordy built a systematic approach to launching superstars. His rigorous processes, technology, and development methods were the secret sauce behind legendary acts such as The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

As a nod to the past, Detroit Podcast Studios leverages modern versions of Motown’s processes to launch today’s most compelling podcasts. What Motown was to musical artists, Detroit Podcast Studios is to podcast artists today. With over 75 combined years of experience in content development, audio production, music scoring, storytelling, and digital marketing, Detroit Podcast Studios provides full-service development, training, and production capabilities to take podcasts from messy ideas to finely tuned hits. 

Here’s to making (podcast) history together.

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