Corey Poirier is a multiple-time TEDx and MoMonday’sSpeaker, the host of the top-rated ‘Conversations with PASSION’ Radio Show, and a columnist with Entrepreneur Magazine, Progress Magazine. He has over 900 articles in print – has appeared on Global TV, CTV, CBC TV and Radio, and has been one of the few leaders featured twice on the popular Entrepreneur on Fire show.
Corey has interviewed over 4,000 of the world’s top leaders in search of the traits that set them apart and he has enjoyed successful corporate careers with Global 1000 company Konica Minolta, Fortune 500 Companies Toshiba Corp., and Hewlett Packard and SAP Software.
He’s also a stand-up comedian who performed on more than 700 occasions, co-hosted a comedy radio show for a year, and had his 2014 album nominated as Rock Recording of the Year.
Corey has been so many things that a detailed introduction of him would probably require several pages of paper, but if you’d ask him how he likes to introduce himself, he’d tell you that he likes talking about how he was raised by a single mother and how this experience helped shape him into the man that he is now.
Search for Validation
Corey explains that this unusual way of introducing himself is probably rooted in how he used to imagine how his mom must have felt about parenting — of how much of a thankless job it can be — so he wanted her to get the credit that she rightfully deserves.
In a way, this was also reflective of his own desire to gain recognition for his work, not only in his early career in stand-up comedy, and later on, public speaking, but also in one of his biggest passions — music.
Not All Fun and Games
Corey had his career start in stand-up comedy, but contrary to what people usually associate with it, it was not all fun and games. In fact, it was a total disaster.
“Going into standup was terrifying, and I bombed over and over… First two years, I didn’t have five minutes that work,” he shared.
There were some other challenges as well — mainly, standup comedy doesn’t really pay well — and there’s also having to deal with drunks and the heckling that comes with them a lot of times.
Going Into Public Speaking
Transitioning from standup comedy into public speaking wasn’t easy either. It took him nine, long years before he finally made the switch after being inspired by watching Tony Robbins live, and he readily admits that, “I’m almost as terrible there too… People see us now and think, ‘Oh, you must be comfortable at speaking, natural at speaking, but they didn’t see all the time it took to get there.’”
The same time that Corey was doing his rounds at comedy circuits and making early attempts to break into the public speaking business, he was also doing sales, and it was this that gave him his first lucky break.
He shares how he used to teach sales at a local college and how one of its clients called them up to request that instead of sending over forty of their staff to the campus for a sales course, they send over Corey to their office instead.
The college agreed and the rest was history. It wasn’t his biggest break by far, but it definitely set the tone of his career.
More Challenges Ahead
Some people think that once you break into public speaking, you’ve basically got it made, but Corey is quick to explain that ”Getting on stage is one thing. Getting paid is another.”
People go to your talks not to hear you speak, but to know what value your talk can provide to them. “A speaking gig is useless if you don’t have a message,” Corey reiterates. That, in itself, is a challenge, and it took him many years and constant adjustments to figure out what that message is going to be.
Corey may have had to overcome many challenges, but he also received a lot of support from the people around him, and two of them taught him incredibly valuable lessons that he still applies to his everyday life.
One is his grandfather who taught him that “no matter how passionate you are about something, there’s always something you won’t like, but treat it like you like it.”
The other is a senior who helped him when he was just starting out even when doing so is not going to do him any favors, which taught him the value of integrity and giving back.
What He’s Grateful For
Corey has many things to be grateful for, but more than anything, he’s grateful that he can serve and impact other people, and that he can make a living out of it.
He’s also grateful that he has an incredible support network that understands him and helps him with his work including his beloved girlfriend.
Favorite Book to Recommend
Recommending a specific book is incredibly hard, but if Corey would be allowed to recommend a few, he’d recommend Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect, and Carmine Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.