Joe Yazbeck is Founder, President and Senior Coach at Prestige Leader Advisors and author of, “No Fear Speaking.” He joins the show to discuss his tips for speakers to develop their confidence and skills. Yazbeck also talks about sales presentations, webinar training, and on-camera coaching for radio or TV. He explains how people with accents can improve their speaking abilities.
Spanning more than 30 years, Joe Yazbeck has successfully helped thousands of people providing professional speaker, executive leadership training and live performance coaching. Joe, as Founder, President and Senior Coach of Prestige Leadership Advisors, continues to serve leaders and professionals in business, technology, law, public service and entertainment/media industries with effective leadership, performance and presentation methodology with programs he has developed throughout his remarkable career.
As a master speaker himself, Joe has delivered over 3700 presentations, workshops, lectures, seminars and key-note addresses worldwide.
Influenced by Joe’s own achievements in the performing arts as talent developer/coach and performer , his creative and charismatic coaching approach serves his many clients to succeed in this very high-profile, media influenced business world.
Visit Prestige Leader at www.prestigeleader.com.
Find out more about “No Fear Speaking” at www.nofearspeaking.com.
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Start of Interview with Joe Yazbeck
Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Joey Yazbeck to the show. He is founder, president and senior coach at Prestige Leader Advisors and author of No Fear Speaking. And this guy is quite a talent in the speaker coaching business. So, I think you’re going to find our discussion today fascinating and you’re going to learn a lot. Joe, welcome. How are you?
Joe Yazbeck: I’m doing great. It’s great to have this conversation with you for a few minutes, Jason. Thank you for having me on.
Jason Hartman: It sure is. And just to give our listeners a sense of geography, you are somewhere in Florida I assume.
Joe Yazbeck: I’m in the Tampa Bay area – lots of water and lots of sunshine.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, good place. Joe, let’s dive in and talk about some of the big mistakes that you see speakers making. I mean, you’ve coached so many speakers, some of them very high level speakers as well as musicians, actors. What are some of the things that they’re just doing wrong?
Joe Yazbeck: Well, I think that the first step to consider is that you’ve got to know your audience, much like you have to know your audience, Jason, correct? And anytime you’re communicating on a channel going out, whether it’s live in front of a large audience or a small boardroom, whether it’s a trial for an attorney, they better know their audience. And so what does the audience want to know? What are they interested in? What are their needs? What are their wants? And that’s the very first thing that, if violated, can result in catastrophe for a speaker.
Jason Hartman: They are tuned into the WIIFM radio station, what’s in it for me, right?
Joe Yazbeck: WIIFM, exactly. What’s in it for me, you bet. That’s the key. It’s also the product of a speaker, the speaker’s product as an audience. And it is not how well they got through. I’ve spent a lot of years helping developing talent and working with performing artists and you always ask them what’s the product of your performance? And they’ll say, well, I want to make sure I really give it all I got. I want to make sure the band is tight, the sound is great, and they never mention the audience.
One of the violations is that you don’t know the product. And it is what that performance or what that presentation actually results in. And so the very beginning of my book, in the first part of the book which is speech design, the very first chapter refers to three letters, APP, audience, purpose, product.
Know your audience, their needs, wants, know why you’re there, know your purpose. Why are you there? Are you there to enlighten? Are you there to educate? Are you there to sell? Why are you there? And, of course, what is your product of that presentation? What is that presentation resulting in? And you’ve got to have in mind your call to action. Where do you want to move your audience toward at the end of this presentation so it results in something and it shows up much like for example attendees making appointments with you at the end of it or attendees going to the website and purchasing materials or purchasing at the back of the room if you are a speaker as a career.
So, you’ve got to know those 3 things. And those 3 are the major violations and blunders that most speakers will violate that results in catastrophe.
Jason Hartman: Good points. So, let’s get into the subject of speech design. And there really is a formula to this, isn’t there?
Joe Yazbeck: There is. And when you have a formula, you know that you’ve got what I call a standard operating procedure. This is why I believe that public speaking is both an art and it’s a science. I call it an artful science because you’ve got the art of it which is creative expression, and then you’ve got the science of it which is the mechanics or the structure of how things should be when they flow well. So you know one thing – you’ve got to prepare a presentation, then it must be well organized.
And then there are steps to follow. You have the body of the speech that comes right smack in the middle between the opening and the conclusion. That’s pretty simple. We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that we open a presentation, we have the body of the presentation and we have an ending. Good, we have an operating basis.
The opening needs to gather attention. It needs to be an attention getting opening that makes people forget that they just battled traffic coming in. The beginning of the presentation must draw the attention from an audience with the idea that, okay, the table has been set, I’m ready to sit down to eat. The middle of it must have points that you’re making that support those points very well.
And support, in my book, refer to credibility sources. If you’re going to make a point in the body of your speech and you know exactly each major point that it flows, then back that point up with a support source that proves it. I always tell my speakers this in my coaching sessions. If you’re going to make a point, get the idea that there’s somebody in the room asking this question. Well, can you prove it? Can you prove that point? That’s how a speaker really gets his credibility to a point where you’re not gonna have anyone questioning that expertise or authority.
Much like if you’ve ever been in a court of law, what is the first thing an attorney knows? He’s got to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And if he proved beyond a reasonable doubt, he made his case. But if there’s any doubt seeping in, he’s lost his case.
Jason Hartman: When I asked you that question, Joel, about speech design, studying speaking over the years, I’ve heard so many different things. Of course, so many coaches will say tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told him. Others will say use the hero’s journey, the Joseph Campbell format, or at least do that for your stories. And others will say use the same methods the ancient Greeks used. And I guess it was Aristotle who really invented that formula and I can’t remember what it is but I certainly heard about it or read about it over the years. Do any of those come to mind beyond what you said?
Joe Yazbeck: Well, I tend to think that each audience that you present to will give you and dictate what kind of structure or framework you’ll work from. We are having a structure rate now which is very spontaneous. It’s very open and flowing. It’s moving in the direction of the questions being asked. I didn’t micromanage this interview. I’m going with your flow and it seems to be going well.
Jason Hartman: We have no pre-ordained questions here.
Joe Yazbeck: So, I would not put a template to this. I would say that if you’re going to speak to the media, you’ve got to be able to embrace the issues that are important to both the asker and the answerer. If I’m giving a presentation to a rotary club, I am not there to sell, so I know that my design or my framework’s gonna change a bit because my purpose there is to express some education or enlightenment perhaps in the areas of service, integrity. I’m going to impart some principles that I’m not there to sell. But I will heighten my PR value and heighten my image if I do a great job. So, that might be the product I’m going for and it’s very different for every audience.
And so I think that what I have in the book is I have a sample outline in the first part of the book for a 15 minute to 20 minute presentation. It’s an easy, general template to fill it in and then of course you’ve got to make those points flow from one point to the other because if you don’t make your audience understand where you’re coming from and you’re creating confusion, you lost your first law, you violate your first law. Your first law is make sure your audience understands you. Make sure your points are clear. You’re giving a message and that message needs to be understood. Before you start moving your audience, they need to feel that you’re a comfortable speaker.
I call it the 5 Cs, by the way, Jason. In the middle of the book you’ll find a chapter called The 5 Cs of a Commanding Speaker. And I’ll bring this up now because it has everything to do with having that audience feel completely comfortable with whatever you’re going to do next. Those 5 Cs are this.
Number one, your speaker needs to be caring. The audience needs to know that the speaker cares about what they care about.
Number 2, the speaker needs to be comfortable. You put the audience at ease when you’re at ease.
Number 3, the audience needs to be credible. Are you an expert? Do you give off this sense that you know that you know? It’s not an arrogant thing, but you’ve made every point you’ve made backed up by some support.
The next C is confident. Confidence is not some kind of fist-pounding “I know this!” Confidence is what I like to use, this word is a great word, it’s called equanimity. Equanimity is a coolness, it’s a calmness that you know you worked so well you’re not bothered by even thinking about it.
And the last you might be surprised is charismatic. Charismatic is that vitality and that energy that you’re passionate about what you feel and what you talk about and you impart that to your audience and it’s contagious.
Those are the 5 Cs of a commanding speaker and it makes no difference I believe that the framework or the design of your presentation or how it’s structured is as long as you have those 5, I call it the be, not the do. It’s how the speaker needs to be, not do, in order to carry it through to the end where it really counts at the end or the conclusion.
Jason Hartman: Right, yeah, good points. A couple of last things on speech design before we leave this area. And one of them is you mentioned a few minutes ago, you talked about openings and getting the audience not to think about how they got through traffic in getting to the events. Get their mind off that and switch their attention. What are some great attention getting openings? Can you give us maybe an example or two?
Joe Yazbeck: Sure. Depending on the kind of presentation you’re giving, if it’s kind of a loosey-goosey networking group getting together or you’re a keynote speaker, you can get people out their chairs. You can get them introducing themselves to one another. Get them to look around the room a little bit. Give them a visual, maybe a quick short video to get their attention drawn to something like that. Depending on how flexible and loose your audience is and how flexible and accessible the actual format is, I’d like to get out into the audience and get to know them before I even take the podium or the platform.
Jason Hartman: Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more, Joe. Just walking around the room a little bit and saying hello to some people, shaking a few hands, it makes all the difference. It really does.
Joe Yazbeck: And from the standpoint of the speaker, I always tell them…This is a throwback to my days as a performing artist myself and as a coach in that industry. Before you take the stage and before the audience is assembled, walk around. Take a look at everything. Look, don’t think, is a mantra. Thinking is a killer in performing and speaking is a performance art. And so looking and perceiving everything from objects, the colors of things, textures, shapes, sizes, get out there, get looking, really fill up your space. I call it permeating it. Permeate that space, make sure you really have it, and extend your dimension way past the last row of that audience, and you’re going to feel at home in that space when you walk out.
Jason Hartman: Right, right. And I want to ask you more about that, the whole concept of filling the space. But before we do that endings, beginning and end, that’s what they’re going to remember the most probably. Powerhouse endings, you have a chapter on that. Give us some examples.
Joe Yazbeck: I do. An ending has to be memorable. You want people walking away…You know how it is when you see a film and it made such an impact and it hung around you for a few days? That is because that film, and I make a reference to this in the book, a Schindler’s list type impact film, you’re walking out of that theater because every scene hit a nerve. I call it impingement. Your speech needs to be so impinging on an audience with great examples and a good story that they’re sitting in their seat and they’re thinking my goodness.
And these are the people that don’t look expressive. They don’t look like they’re bobbing their heads. It’s the ones that look like they’re thinking and they’re going “That’s me. I have that problem. I have to go back to work and change that.” Or they go “Wow, I didn’t know that before.” You hit a nerve. That’s what you want. Because as you’re moving your audience, this is what we want to do. We’re using emotion and impact to move your audience. So, by the end of your speech, you are climactically building your conclusion. You’re inspiring them to act. This is what we do as leaders.
I know that every client I have and every guest you have on a show, Jason, is a leader in some way. And what do leaders do as speakers? We want to move and inspire and motivate our audiences to take action. We don’t want them to necessarily follow us. We want them to move with us so they can lead also. You see, that’s what real leadership is all about.
So that call to action is a call and instruction to them to take action and that’s where your conclusion is a wave of inspiration so they can do that. I think that’s where most speakers miss the beat. They have a well-prepared speech, they’re organized very well, it flows sequentially, they have lots of good examples, but they end it on a very sour note, anticlimactically. And, by the way, one of the ways that speakers violate by being anti-climactic is putting their question and answer period at the very end.
Jason Hartman: Oh, I totally agree with you. It just kills it. What do you do about questions? Do you allow them in the middle? I found that it works well. I mean, and this is on keynotes – it’s not on workshops that are more informal. But do the Q & A if you’re gonna do a few minutes of Q & A and then end and have a powerful closing. I have a feeling you’re going to agree with me.
Joe Yazbeck: Yes, I do agree with you, but let me tell you what I’d like to do even further. I want to give my audience an instruction so that if I don’t want them to interrupt me, they’re gonna know not to interrupt me or because I have the kind of presentation perhaps that day that’s going to answer any question.
And, by the way, questions are good because you can move a question and answer period to your call to action. You can say to them I’m not really going to answer that question because it’s gonna involve some personal feedback. I don’t want to do that to you in the middle of everybody here, so why don’t we get together afterwards on our 1 on 1 and I could delve into that a little bit more and really give you the answer you’re looking for.
I like to give an instruction per question and answer period. There might be a breakout session afterwards and say in 15 minutes we have a breakout session, please join me in studio A. Then we have a breakout session. It might be that I’ll tell them before I end my presentation we’ll take a few minutes to answer some questions. Those of you we don’t get to, [00:19:13] afterwards. That might be more appropriate.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, great points. Okay, good. Okay, so leaving the endings, because we discussed that, let’s dive in and let’s talk a little bit about the potential use of humor.
Joe Yazbeck: Okay, first of all, never try to be funny. It doesn’t work. And I’ve done comedy in my life. I worked with Bill Bixby many years ago and I love this guy – he died a terrible death. I worked with him on a show called Come Blow Your Horn. And he had a very, very interesting sense of timing. It was the subtle things. And it’s the subtleties that pull your audience towards you. And it could be a facial expression. It could be complete silence like a Jack Benny silence if you know what I mean. And I’m dating myself, aren’t I?
Jason Hartman: That’s okay.
Joe Yazbeck: But the humor is in storytelling. You could be amusing to an audience and it’s efficient to carry it. You know what I call it? I call it yeast. Humor is yeast because it’s light and it’s fluffy. You never have in your outline “Here’s where we put humor”. You want to have humor throughout. I mean, Mark Twain was a wonderful speaker because he had such a wit about him that if you read anything about Mark Twain, it’s like political satire. You can be as witty about talking about what’s going on in the world today in the economy in Washington, D. C. and you could talk about the approval rating of our congress to our president and create an analogy as adapted humor and people will laugh at it because they get it. So, it’s subtle.
And I like the idea of a personal experience, telling a story through your own personal experience where people are entertained and they feel like they’ve made that connection with you. And when you tell a story, and we’ll get into this, it’s one of my favorite things to do and I always tell I have judge candidates and political candidates that come to me and I say get away from the issues.
Warm up your audience a little bit. They need to know who you are. Do you have a family? Tell them about the last trip you took on a vacation. Did you have some kind of scary moment? Was there something that was very, very funny regarding something that happened between you and your wife? The idea here, of course, is that you’re taking this audience through a journey of visual and perception. Get your audience to see what you’re seeing and describe what you’re seeing. It’s very amusing, it’s very humorous and you’re taking them through this so they can imagine it themselves. Get them to hear what you’re hearing.
And the way you do that is you describe what you’re hearing. Instead of saying “I went to the supermarket to pick up some groceries and came home, and it only took me 20 minutes”, well, if you can describe it as an adventure, “I walked out of the house and I felt this chill and I had this numbing effect like it was taking me over like I was being moved from one end of my driveway to the other and I jumped into my car and all of a sudden I’m looking up and oh my God, there’s a dark gloom and it’s starting to hail. Hail, am I gonna get to the…Oh, my god, and I feel this thumping like a pounding percussion on my car.” You’re describing things.
Jason Hartman: This is much more interesting, no question about it. It puts the listener in the experience.
Joe Yazbeck: Completely. Get them to feel what you’re feeling. So, you’re picking up the audience member, putting them on your lap, and you’re grandpa telling your granddaughter/grandson a story.
Jason Hartman: Great stuff. So, in terms of part 3 of your book about moving your audience, now certainly you’ve touched on that. In fact, you just touched on it when you talked about explaining experiences as you’re telling a story and elaborating on them to make them interesting – put the listener or put the audience in the experience with you, the dark cloud, the hail, etcetera – pick some things from that section. I mean, there’s a lot there about inspiring others, essentials for connections, more about storytelling, whatever you like.
Joe Yazbeck: Well, I tell you there’s a tool and I think it’s a very, very valuable tool. I have coached many people, even doing 1 to 2 minute commercials for their video promotional drip campaigns out to the internet and so forth. How do you put together a commercial and get people to want and desire something you have? Much like you want to move an audience to commit to a call to action, a product, a service, an idea, or even a cause if you’re fundraising. You’ve got to take them through this what I call the problem solutions scale. I service marked this because it’s a methodology that I found. Even over the years I said you’ve got a problem, I need to have you recognize the problem you’re sitting in. You may not recognize it, but here it is. So, I want to paint that picture of what the problem is.
This is a scale that has the steps. The very first step is recognize the problem. Now, get your audience to experience the pain of that problem. The familiarity about this is this is all part of sales. What’s the pain of that? How is that problem affecting you? And get them to understand many examples of the effect of this problem.
The next step is the consequences if you should do nothing about this. There are ripple effects. This is where you start to get your audience to wake up. If I don’t do something about this, it’s not going to get better. It’s going to get worse. Once they get through that point, now you can start bringing up the benefit statements of your product, service, or idea. Here’s what you can do about it. Here’s how you can prevent any further dwindling down the spiral of destruction on this. Here’s what you can do about it. Now a light bulb goes off and goes you know I do need to do something about this. I do have a recognition that change or improvement is needed here.
The next step is an openness to accept your help. I call it the problem solutions scale, but I can as well call it a scale of acceptance of help because that is what we’re doing when we speak. How can I help you? In sales, how can I help you? How can I get my audience to accept my help? You see? So, you’re moving them through the entire process. And I’ve done this in drills. A lot of my coaching in my training center is practical skill building exercises and customized scenarios for each of these clients to get them to use this scale in each of their own given situations. It’s not enough to walk into an audience and say I’ve got an answer for you – here it is. You’ve got to move them through that scale. And I always say do a little parallel of that scale to the outline of your speech and make sure by the end of it your call to action has a tremendous amount of inspiration and motivation and influence to it where you’re building your audience to reach for that solution. Otherwise, it becomes on deaf ears.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s just interesting how humans won’t just take the solution. Why do we have to lead people through that? And, for some reason, it just makes me think of trying to teach a child something, like a parent trying to give a child advice.
Joe Yazbeck: It might not be the most likeable answer, but with kids – I’ve raised kids and they’re very accomplished kids – thank God they’re very accomplished – but sometimes you have to tell people this is the answer because they don’t understand. And if they do what you tell them to do, they will understand. Not everybody can make a decision to do something. Sometimes you have to make it for them as long as it’s ethical, as long as what you’re promoting and expressing is ethical and helpful and good for them.
Jason Hartman: But isn’t the reality, Joe, that they won’t usually follow your advice? That you need to take them through that continuum that we just discussed?
Joe Yazbeck: There’s something in my book called The Emotional Factors that Motivate an Audience. And there’s two of them. And this answers your question, Jason. It’s a good question. People are motivated by achieving pleasure or they’re motivated by resisting pain.
Jason Hartman: As soon as you said achieving pleasure, I knew the other one was avoiding pain. And that’s true. And for better or worse, it seems to be more about pain avoidance than pleasure achievement for people.
Joe Yazbeck: It does. I have had many financial investment companies I’ve worked with and I had to train their financial reps to understand do people want to save money or do they want to make money? That tells you the difference right there. Because people who want to keep the status quo and hold everything and try to keep money from going away, they are pain resistors.
Those people who want to do something with their money, they want to build a school, they want to give their education funds to their kids, they’re into building or they’re into achieving things. And so your speech and your speaking messages should be geared towards how you consider your audience to be. Now, you might have a mix of those people in the audience. You can pretty much get a sense of that while you go through your presentation. You’ll know. You’ll know by some of the questions and you’ll know by some of the responses they give.
Jason Hartman: But for the most part, though, it’s avoiding pain as the one that if you don’t know, that’s the one you definitely want to address, right?
Joe Yazbeck: I completely agree.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. I would assume that part of that, Joe, is that the human mind views opportunity, and probably rightfully so, as speculative. It doesn’t know that that’s really gonna happen. Here’s how we can all make an extra $100,000 this year if that’s what your speech is about. People are so jaded nowadays and rightfully so.
Joe Yazbeck: They are.
Jason Hartman: There’s so many snake holes.
Joe Yazbeck: It’s true. And isn’t that the job of a speaker to dissolve all that?
Jason Hartman: Sure, yeah, of course it is. So, the problem solution continuum, that was really good and the other things you said. Any other just final tips that you want to close with? There’s just so much here. And I downloaded the Kindle book and just love it.
And, by the way, you’re giving this away your price is so reasonable. Everybody better run out and buy it.
Joe Yazbeck: I tell you, I’m on a bestseller formula. I’ve got a consultant who sold a million copies of his own book. And he’s got the stats to prove it, he’s got the credibility, so I’m on his formula. I’ll have the print copies, I’ll have the paperback and the hardcover out the first week of April and I will have the audio book out this week. I also have a quick reference guide for all the charts and tables on the one little handy reference guide that’s available on the website at NoFearSpeaking.com. And so that’s available also. But yes, thank you. I wanted to make it available at the onset very, very cheaply for $0.99 at Amazon.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, you can’t beat the price, $0.99.
Joe Yazbeck: I can ask you a question, one last tip?
Jason Hartman: Absolutely.
Joe Yazbeck: This is a combination of what I’ve learned. I think it’s one of the most powerful things to know other than looking and not thinking. Always be looking. You have 3 connections. And I’ve taught every speaker and every performing artist to remember in addressing an audience that there’s 3 connections that must be in. The first connection, are you connected to your message, much like a singer should be connected to the lyrics of that song and the message of that song? So, the first connection is speaker to message.
The next connection is speaker to audience. Are you connected to your audience? Are you there with them? Do you see them? Do you have a sense of who they are? Are you relaxed in front of them? Are you communicating with them? Are they listening to you? That’s the second connection. The third connection is message to audience. You cannot connect your message to your audience unless you are connected to your message and unless you are connected to your audience.
Jason Hartman: Those are great. I love those. Joe, the first one makes me think of the famous quote “Let he who wants to move and convince others be first moved and convinced himself.” And that’s why giving other people speeches doesn’t work because we’re not attached to the message. And then being attached to the audience and then attaching the audience, that’s a great formula.
Joe Yazbeck: Yes, I don’t like spectators in an audience. I don’t train speakers to have spectators. I want those speakers unscripted. I want them completely unleashed like shining diamonds. That’s my product.
Jason Hartman: Good stuff. The last thing I want to ask you is we mentioned filling the space and we never really covered that much more than looking around the room which we talked about. But you even coach musicians. Why is it that every kid, myself included, wanted to be a rock star? Because the presence they have on that state, they get up there with that guitar, they get up there with a microphone and they’re singing and all the girls are going wild, they want to rip their clothes off. And there’s a presence. That’s a big deal, that presence and the concept of filling the space. Politically, I do not like Barack Obama and I don’t think he’s a good speaker either, by the way. I think he’s a great teleprompter reader, but I do think he has got pretty good body language.
And the other man that I’ll mention, the other famous man I’ll use, is George Clooney. What are they doing with their shoulders, I can’t isolate that, I don’t know what they’re doing but it’s good. It works. It’s presence.
Joe Yazbeck: I gotta tell you, first of all you’re right about Barack Obama. I won’t go into any more detail about that. I had a conversation with Mitt Romney’s campaign crew before his election and what was supposed to be a 15 minute call ended up in an hour and 20 minutes and I said you’ve got to get him to relax when he’s outside. He’s moving all over the place and he looks like he’s talking in front of the boardroom when he’s not outside. We’ve got to get this man connecting to people and I went into a lot of detail. And I would hope that some of what I said maybe rubbed off. I’m not sure, I did see some changes, but it’s not easy because it’s such a stressed environment when you’re coaching political candidates.
But I gotta tell you, to answer your question, the word presence means just that, it’s how present are you. When you say be there, we’ll ask the question how there are you? And what I like to tell my speakers to do, my students, my clients, is to really extend their attention way out because you’re creating space by opening up with dimension. You’re way out there. I even have singers that sing to a parking lot outside a window and really creating a focal point so that waves of sound and waves of emotion can be moved from where you are to where the endpoint is. Because waves don’t move unless you move them. And you cannot move energy or waves unless you create the space to do that first. And so it’s a wonderful experience to see a speaker make that change and evolve. I love it. I love to watch it when it happens.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well, that’s great. The book is entitled No Fear Speaking, High Impact Public Speaking Secrets to Inspire and Influence Any Audience. Joe Yazbeck, thank you so much for joining us today.
Joe Yazbeck: Well, thank you so much. And listeners can go to NoFearSpeaking.com for all the rest of it. Jason, it was a pleasure having this wonderful conversation with you. I enjoyed it.
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Transcribed by Ralph