Leadership, storytelling, and networking for introverts – lessons from the business world for today’s classical musician

Season 1 - Episode 8


Michelle Lynne: Well, welcome everybody to the Fearless Artist Podcast. My name is Michelle Lynne, and today I am so honored to have Professor Karl Moore with me. Welcome, Professor Karl. Thank you for being here.

Karl Moore: My pleasure, Michelle. Nice to reconnect with you.

Michelle Lynne: Yes, definitely. So we know each other from my Montreal days, and you teach at McGill at the Faculty of Management. And I wanted to have you on because I know that you have a vastly impressive career. We’re going to put your bio in the show notes… you teach on faculty at McGill… you’ve taught executive MBA at Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, all the major schools… you’re doing keynote speeches… you have 10 books out. You’re doing lots of research, and you have interviewed so many important thought leaders of today about big topics that I think musicians can learn a lot from that we don’t receive in our education because… we’re just learning how to play the instrument. And then once you get to the real world, you realize there’s a whole vast amount of skills that we’re missing. So I really wanted to have your wisdom on the show today.

Karl Moore: Well, it’s, uh, there’s a few advantages being older, Michelle… one is you’ve done something longer than most anyone else. So that’s one of the few advantages of age that in many, many years from now, you’ll reflect back on.

Michelle Lynne: I hope so. I hope to follow in your footsteps. Definitely. I particularly wanted to talk to you about what you teach at McGill. Maybe we can start there. And, some of the things that you see your students learning from you and how they specifically apply that. Because I know you’re very hands-on with leadership and you like to do real-world things with them, like the Hot Cities Tour. You take them with you, you show them what it looks like to be a leader. And I think that… is so crucial for musicians that we can say, this is what it’s going to look like for you after the bubble pops of your institution, because we are very protected in our bubble. We have a teacher telling us how to play, and you think that the phone’s going to ring and you’ll get a job after. And unfortunately, that’s usually not the case.

Karl Moore: As you mentioned, Hot Cities of the World Tour, it’s year 14 coming up. We’ll probably go to Kenya, not going to Cairo for 11 days… a year before gone to Côte d’Ivoire and so on. So part of the idea is to take the future to the future is the slogan of the trip… young people to where the world economy is going quite a bit. And it’s something where it gets them out of their comfort zone of the university and exploring the world with all its messiness and getting a sense of the real things that are going on out there. We meet with cabinet ministers and chief executives and people like that… occasionally, we meet with creative people, whether it be in advertising. And we met with an artist a couple of times to kind of talk about the business of art and how do you get yourself successful. So that’s one course. Another one is the CEO insights class for MBAs, where you have two to three CEOs every Tuesday night in the fall. And they tend to be big companies, but they’re also the Red Cross for Canada, Doctors Without Borders, the CEO comes, uh, things like that. We’re looking for kind of a variety of things you can learn from, rather than just business… because we’re not a business school. We’re a faculty of management, very deliberately. Because management includes government, it includes, uh, faith organization, includes bands. So I interviewed the Manhattan Transfer about two years ago at the Jazz Festival here in Montreal… very famous band, uh, five of them as I recall. I had about ten minutes with them to write something up for Forbes. We took an hour because they were enjoying themselves. Because we were talking about stuff they hadn’t talked about before, about leadership. About… how do you work together as a team? How do you stay focused? And one of the entertaining questions I said… is there one song that everybody wants to hear and you’re so sick and tired of it? And they said, oh, this is the song and we love it. And it’s something where that night I went and saw them perform and after two or three notes the crowd roared because it was that song that everyone knew. And they love the energy as musicians of the crowd. I remember going to hear, uh, Kool and the Gang sing “Celebrate”… and everyone… the whole audience from a 12-year-old to a 90-year-old knew the song because it played at weddings and it was just a joyful time of everybody singing together to a great song. I interviewed, um, a guy who won an award at the Music Festival a couple of years ago, who is the top jazz banjo player in the world… when you add banjo, it kind of takes you down a couple of notches. Like, okay, I’m not quite as good. And I interviewed him and his, uh, two partners, and they talked… they said we’re brothers. And one’s black, one’s Jewish from New York, the other one is, uh, a guy from the South. Like, they’re clearly not brothers. They don’t look alike at all, and they come from very different backgrounds. The point he was making about musicians and jazz, and the Manhattan Transfer made this point as well, is that there’s a sense of knowledge, of intimacy, of sharing, which is spectacular. And it made the point because, you know, I said for the outside person, we look at improvisation and jazz and go, like, you just point at me and be creative, right now, Michelle, for 30 seconds. And you go, we wish we could do that in business, but the fact is, there’s a box for it. Like, we’re doing “Old MacDonald.” So, you know, like, stay with the key, stay with the song, and just riff off on it. And it’s, there’s some amazing things that music has to teach us about creativity. And I’m here to meet a bunch of musicians at the Big Jazz Festival in Montreal here every year because, and it’s just fun to sit down with the Manhattan Transfer. Uh, I don’t get paid for it, but it’s just a pleasure to learn about creativity and teamwork and… the sorts of things that come out from musicians that we have so much to learn from our side of the table.

Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that’s interesting because from a classical musician’s perspective, we maybe don’t have that song that everybody’s going to start cheering and singing along to in our classical concerts or whatever… although that is becoming more open that people can express themselves… yesterday I had a concert and the audience was clapping in between the movements and we just allowed that to happen because you want people to be able to express themselves. But I hear you talking a lot about kind of music unifying… There’s, uh, these different people who are coming together… what are some of the major themes that you’re seeing that we can apply on our side as well… taking from the leadership, the management that you’re teaching?

Karl Moore: Well, one of the things is that, uh, you know, we talk to the students in the MBA about who’s got charisma. Yeah. In Canada, we don’t have as charismatic leaders as they do in the U.S. Now, we have Justin Trudeau, who genuinely is a degree of charisma. I knew him just after he finished McGill, so I’ve known him for years. I interviewed him. And I run into him a couple of times a year. He has charisma… but very few Canadian politicians. In the U.S., there’s more of it. But what I say to students is that charisma is a more rare thing, but everybody can have presence. And I think a musician needs to learn presence, uh, not only in the music… but as they talk to agents, as they talk to people who are going to book them, and things like that. And to me, the heart of presence is not about being tall, it’s not about being male or white. And those are things, there’s some truth to it. I see white male privilege as an older man who’s tall, traveling around the world. When I go around the world, at five-star hotels and nice restaurants, people go, sir, to me. And I’ve talked to women, like our Dean is a black woman. She doesn’t get mammed in that context. There is a privilege to that, but I think everyone… regardless of any other dimension, if you say to yourself, I belong at the table, maybe not the head of the table, maybe I’m not the CEO, but I belong at the table because I bring value to the table. And you come there with confidence, people will recognize that this is someone… like yourself, Michelle, we’re not sure who she is, but you know, she, there’s something there to this woman that’s valuable. And, you know, when you get up with an instrument or start playing, like people go, okay, that’s what Michelle, one of her great values is, is that. So I think it’s a matter of, it’s in your heart to a considerable degree. And the fact is just some reality that when you sit down and start playing, people go quiet… I’ve been at a few concerts where the song ends and there’s silence and it’s criticism is going, we want more. Like, is it over? We’re hoping it’s not. And it’s that sense of there’s just quiet and that’s the highest praise in a sense. For a musician is that we’re just enjoying the moment and wishing for more. So I think presence is something that musicians can learn from the business side… and it’s in your head and in your heart and there’s some reality like, you know, you’re an excellent musician… it’s not like you’re starting out and you know, like you’re in grade two or something of whatever instrument… but I think that’s important, but it’s not only in the performance, but it’s dealing with people and its ability to go up there and speak to the audience… Part of it is that you get out of yourself… because… you know, it’s interesting that professors are often introverts and they want to be in their offices looking at data, but when they’re talking about the subject, they’re the world expert on, they come out of themselves because… they’re the world’s experts on it, and, you know, other experts can disagree, but, you know, it would be in, you know, uh, not in substance, in the details, and, you know, and that’s fine, we progress our knowledge. But it’s that sense that you’re playing something beautiful, and when you talk about it, you forget about yourself… because you want to share the story behind this piece, because it’s so compelling, and so moving, and it moves you. And then you go, I think it moves these other human beings, not all of them, but the majority will be moved. So getting that thought in your head, I think, is very useful for a musician.

Michelle Lynne: I resonate so much with what you’re saying. I really want to highlight a few things. The importance of developing people skills, having presence, the onstage presence, offstage as well as you’re communicating, networking, talking… a lot of our musicians struggle with the idea of self-promotion. And what I heard you say so beautifully is it’s actually not about us, it’s about the music and the experience that we’re offering the audience. And I think that’s one way that people can come out of this narcissistic feeling of… oh no, I’m talking about myself all the time. Do you have any advice for musicians who are adverse to talking about themselves? Even though they have to promote themselves?

Karl Moore: One of the things that people love are stories and the ability to be a storyteller, I think, is an important one for many musicians because you tell the story behind the compositionist piece. You tell the story of when it was first played, you tell the story of how you heard this and it moved you to tears, and it moved you to reflect on love, or on the death of a grandparent and how they helped you, and it draws the audience in. So it’s not about you, it’s about human connections that people really do appreciate and do love. And in class, um, I tell stories, often short ones, and quite a few of them are self-deprecating… but I do that because in strategy, when you talk about a big company in strategy, if you have 50,000 people working for you, you spend more time selling the strategy, communicating it than you do making it… because you have 50,000 people. It’s like a row, you know, a boat in Oxford and Cambridge boat race where you need all the women… to pull together. If we don’t pull together, the boat goes off, and we lose the race. So there’s a point where you need, as a CEO of a big organization, to get everybody to row together. So I need to spend lots of time communicating my story of where we’re going, so that I get it, and I believe in it. I’m going to follow it. So I tell the story, one of the stories I tell is meeting, uh, Will.I.Am. I was at C2 Montreal, a big conference here… and a couple of young women I’d known for 20 years. So I knew them when they were 25, they’re now 45, married with kids, and, you know, I ask them how the kids are doing and all. And, big smiles, they have a gift for me. And the gift is, they said, do you want to have dinner with Will.I.Am? And I go, who’s that? They kind of look at each other, oy, Karl is really out of it. And then he’s a hip hop star… and I go, I don’t like hip hop, not a big fan. Then they go, uh, Black Eyed Peas. I go, I love the Black Eyed Peas, why didn’t you say so? So, um, yeah, you know, I spent a half an hour, 45 minutes talking to Will.I.Am about being an introvert or extrovert. And we both lived in East L.A., so we’re bonding over East L.A. And I take a picture… and I put it on my Instagram, and my students the next morning are thrilled that one of their profs is hanging out with Will.I.Am. And I say to them… but I ruin it all. So the first thing I say is… I said, guys, I’m thinking of changing my name to Karl.I.Am… And one of the young women says, uh, his name is William. It spells Will.I.Am and I go, I didn’t know that! And some of the other ones didn’t know it either… so I went from being really cool to really, just totally out of it in a matter of 30 seconds. So that’s a story that people enjoy, but it’s also one that you’re, you’re kind of making fun of yourself. You know? You know, on the other hand, I do hang around with Will.I.Am so, you know, I am cooler than you, not to rub it in, but, you know, it’s that sort of thing, but you tell stories that are self-deprecating, that are amusing, draws the audience into you, and prepares for your music, or in my case, teaching… bringing ideas across… So that’s another thing I think which is really important is that storytelling, communicating is really important, but part of being a successful musician where, you know, and the starving musician or starving artist is a not untrue stereotype.

Michelle Lynne: We are working very hard to crush that…

Karl Moore: Yeah. Well, no, but there’s some truth to it… and you don’t want to be the overweight musician, but you want to be the… you can help support a family and use them. You know, and so it’s something where part of that is the ability, and this is true of business broadly is the ability to schmooze. Schmoozing is the ability to go up to someone and say, hi… explain… hey, I’m Karl, I’m a professor at McGill. I’m here to give a talk. And. Uh, just curious what brings you here and they go, oh, I’m the CEO… we invited you. And it’s something where I’m just being nice to them. And just often I ask more questions. And they talk more than I do.

Michelle Lynne: Yes.

Karl Moore: We’re not doing this today. But, you know, sort of thing where, I tell my students that a lot of them may talk too much when they’re on a date. And I said, one of the most attractive things you can do is be a great listener. And go to the person, you’re one of the most fascinating people on earth. Because they go, I like this woman. She thinks I’m interesting. Boy, you know, and she didn’t dominate the conversation, so the schmoozing is often about talking about them, getting them to come out of themselves and discuss things. And, um, you know, and you might say, I don’t know if you, if you know our music. And they go, yeah, I say, what’s your couple favorite songs? We’ll make sure we play those tonight. Things like that where you’re getting them to talk. If they’re in the music business, I say, uh, I would probably say, how’s 2024 doing for you? Is it a good year or not such a great year? What are some of the trends in the business? Because they would know about this and you might go, COVID, did that really totally ruin business? How did you come out of it? What is it we need to do today to be a good musician in your mind? It’s a great question that they’ll talk about, you’ll learn from and they’ll feel good that they shared their wisdom with you and they’ll like you.

Michelle Lynne: Yeah, and for all of our listeners, this is exactly what you need to do after the concert when everybody’s getting drinks and you’re meeting the important conductors and the directors and the programmers and all the people you might feel a bit insecure talking to. Just asking great questions and listening. It’s the perfect schmoozing strategy.

Karl Moore: And you think of those questions beforehand, like, depending on who they are, but as someone who’s in the business side, what’s happened in ’24 compared to ’23? What are the three key trends you see this year for the business? I want to be a great musician for you… what are the three things that make a great musician for you? And then I might say, well, one, show up on time, like, oh, I know you’re a musician, but don’t be temperamental, you know, and whatever they say, but you go, that’s really useful. And you follow their advice. And generally, you know, they’re not gonna say it’s sleep with me or something outrageous or wrong. They’re gonna give you sound advice you go that’s great stuff and then you might do is write them a thank you note the old school mailers Handwritten, mailed note… saying loved your three points, I’m gonna live by them this year… look forward to seeing you next time and learning more… man that would be just you know, and it takes you all 30 seconds, but you got to buy some nice cards… you know, in some envelopes, you handwrite it and they rarely get a handwritten note, they will think this is a great person.

Michelle Lynne: That is amazing advice. I’m so helpful because I think a lot of musicians don’t know where to start. How do you have these conversations? We get so many people saying, I don’t know how to network. I don’t know how to put myself out there. I don’t know how to talk about myself. So… going back to what you’re saying about storytelling, if we can find that essence of… I think one of the hardest questions for musicians is, why do you play music? People have a really hard time answering that because probably the answer is you started when you were four and you just loved it and you kept going… a lot of us are in that boat.

Karl Moore: That’s a great story… it’s saying when I was four, my mom for my birthday gift, bought me a piano teaching lesson. And when I sat down there, the teacher was so good and I just loved it and when I realized I played at my brother’s birthday party and everybody felt quiet and loved my music, I fell in love with music because people cared. Like a story like that, whatever it is, and those are probably things that you do when you go, I remember the first time I played in a concert with 3,000 people. And the hush came over the crowd and my piece ended and there was utter silence, they wanted more. And I was smitten, something like that. And it’s true, but it’s just a story that, you know, short to the point… moving, they’ll buy it and they’ll love it. And partly is that one of the big things in business now as CEOs, different than 10 years ago is… one of the questions that I asked CEOs and all the MBAs lean in when I do is go, okay, Michelle, what’s your purpose? When did you find it and has it evolved? It was all trying to find their purpose. And again, if you’re a musician, it’s more obvious, your purpose is, you know, is, to play music and share that with the world, which is a very high level purpose.

Michelle Lynne: All of our listeners need to hear that. Play music and share it with the world. Your voice matters.

Karl Moore: Yeah. But it’s something, it’s that purpose that musicians are more apt to find, but a lot of CEOs go… well, my purpose is this, I found… purpose in my 30s, but it’s evolved now into my 50s. So there’s that sense that even as a musician, you know, you’re the… but you get into a band after a while you’re one of the older more experienced members of bands who mentor new band members… you take them under your wing and that’s part of what you do as an older player… is that you mentor younger players and you give them wisdom and space and so on. So I think that sort of thing is very useful… is that a musician’s probably a purpose more than most people do in the business world beyond making money, not make money where in the business, like the, the woman who runs Doctors Without Borders and having lunch with her next week. It’s about saving human lives. And you go like, love it. And I was out to sea with the Canadian Navy at Victoria out in British Columbia. And when you talk to the sailors, like what’s your purpose… we’re defending Canada from China and Russia. We’re helping look at, uh, the Arctic and what’s happening with climate change. We fight forest fires. We care for one another and we lead each other… like it’s stuff where you go like, this is noble. But in business, it’s a bit more challenging sometimes… but I think musicians and the military and so on, there’s a natural sense of purpose, but it’s going to evolve over time, I think, as well. As you get into new genres, you get into bands, you get into bigger audiences and so on, your music may well be saying something. It’s, it’s communicating something to the world, whatever that may be. You know, there’s various ranges of music and types and all, but it’s that sense that purpose is something we want in business. And I think musicians are ahead of us by and large on this topic.

Michelle Lynne: I’m so thankful you brought up this question of purpose. I think many classical musicians would say they don’t know it because… for example, our repertoire is a canon. So we have a lot of us playing the same pieces. So then they think, why does it matter that I’m playing? What’s the point of sharing my art on Instagram? Who’s going to care if I post this video of me playing? A lot of our work is sending pitches, which means you really need to believe in the value of, first of all, you, and second of all, the idea, and that’s a confidence thing. That’s a, yeah, it’s a struggle for a lot of classical musicians.

Karl Moore: Part of it is sometimes you might think about it in terms of EDI, which is a big topic in, uh, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion at the business school and business… is partly is that our Dean is a black woman, 10 of our 14 Deans are women, part of what she’s a great Dean, but it’s also she’s a role model for black people and women, black women, particularly… but it’s something where you go as an artist. I’m a role model for young artists as well. Also in your case, a woman, so that I’m encouraging women to do well. Um, so there’s various ways… you’re a Canadian. Uh, so we’re all astonished if you have any talent and it’s stuff like that. Is that… there’s something where you’re going, I’m inspiring young musicians, I’m inspiring women, I’m inspiring various people that is just the name of my case would be older people. That you can still be out there and do and be useful, and you have wisdom, bring to the table.

Michelle Lynne: I mean, you’re inspiring all of us, so I’m not sure that’s true. I mean, you’ve got tons of new fans from this… going back to the storytelling, I think classical musicians, we’ve been trained from a very young age that we are our accomplishments. So we read our bios. And so what you can run into is people trying to edge each other out at these schmoozing things like, oh, I studied here and I worked with this teacher and I played in this masterclass. So I think finding the story, like you’re saying… brings that human connection and saying, what are we actually doing here? And do we need to live by the accolades or can we talk about what matters to us?

Karl Moore: I have some chefs come to class. Uh, the proof is in the pudding, is a famous saying. And you might be, you go to Juilliard, you did this, you did that, but, just play. Like, it’s certainly like, I’m taking French lessons, at a certain point, you can talk about, I’m taking French, I speak French, you go, well, if you say you speak English, I’m just going to speak English to you. And I’ll know in a minute or two, whether how good your English is. And to a certain degree, I don’t play violin, but if you handed me one, you’d know I don’t play violin. Well, I had someone else and it’s just so beautiful. So a certain amount of the proof is in the pudding is just play, you know, a certain degree musician, we can tell to some degree… world-class ones from not quite as good ones who are on their way there because… the proof is just in the hearing.

Michelle Lynne: Yes, that’s super helpful. I wanted to also touch on the work that you’ve done with extroverts and introverts, because I think a lot of musicians are also introverts. And so they are so averse to things like the self-promotion, the social media content, which is how I personally have built my career by learning how to share snippets of what I do. And that’s invited new opportunities. I also talk on camera, you know, we have a podcast now, but people are saying, oh, I can’t do that because I’m an introvert… I can’t, I don’t want to put myself out there. And of course, you have a book coming out about this next year. You’ve done tons and tons of talks about this. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can help our introverted musicians.

Karl Moore: Well, it’s interesting because, um, a number of years ago, I wrote a review of Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet,” for my Forbes blog. And I did it with a young woman student of mine who had been an actor in Degrassi High, which is a big TV series. And we got over 66,000 views in one day… clearly it was a topic that resonated. So the next night CEO class, I’d never asked anyone before… I said, Claude Mongeau ran Canadian National Railways, 24,000 people. Claude, are you an introvert or extrovert? He said, Karl, I’m a huge introvert. And for 10 minutes went on in a quiet way about it. And then the second CEO was an introvert. And I reflected on all the literature I’d read for years. We assumed all leaders essentially are extroverts. And it was probably because Jack Welch said it was true, one man’s opinion. But no one had actually talked to executives. And all the literature essentially in psychology is done by psychology professors interviewing testing undergraduates. Because we have an endless supply as a professor. No one had talked to people in their 50s and 60s… kind of the age of the parents, 40s, 50s, and 60s, who were CEOs… but… I have a national radio show that I’m interviewing the CEO of the Montreal Alouettes football team this afternoon… so I’m interviewing these leaders and I realized that… not all were extroverts. Au contraire, it’s like a bell curve… about 40 percent of leaders are extroverts, about 40 percent are introverts, and about 20 percent are ambiverts. So, it was a surprise, but I had to actually talk to people, rather than just going, well, I think… you know, and it was noisy extroverts who, uh, claimed their thoughts in public. And, what we looked at it, was that introverts make great leaders. But, they need to act like an extrovert from time to time… Ambiverts may be a new word for some listeners, is someone who acts like an introvert at times and an extrovert at other times. Because it’s appropriate behavior. So the title of the book is “We’re All Ambiverts Now,” but only about 20 percent of people are genuinely ambiverts, 40 percent are introverts, 40 percent are extroverts. But I’m saying as an extrovert, very strong extrovert, to be an effective leader, I’ve got to act like an introvert, shut up and listen, be effective. And it’s got to, on occasion, kind of ramp up the volume a bit and give an inspiring speech and get people going. So, that’s what we need to say, but you know, when I talk about it, I say one, um, there was a study at Harvard… the central construct is stimulation, your response to stimulation. Introverts love people, love being with them, but at a certain point they go, I can’t take it anymore, and they tip over and need to recharge their batteries by introvert breaks. An example of an introvert break is they walk their dog, or they listen to Mozart in their headphones, or they read a book. Now, when I recognized that, I said, I looked for extrovert breaks… there was no literature on extrovert breaks. So I wrote an article, but I realized I’m sitting here in my office, literally here, and after a couple of hours, writing a book, ironically, on introverts, I can’t take it anymore. Michelle, do you hear the pain in my voice? And, so I literally, I go down the hall where there’s a lounge with students, and I get an extrovert break by talking with them. It gives me energy, it recharges my battery so I can go back and keep writing. So I take extrovert breaks, introverts take introvert breaks, and we’re both recharging. They did a study at Harvard many years ago where they brought in four-month-old babies who, even in Harvard, they don’t talk. And they caused stimulation, like ringing a bell or something, and they saw the baby’s response. Some would turn to their mom and dad and hide. Others would go, ooh, what’s that? And they followed them for decades, and it was a reasonably strong predictor of whether you’d be more introverted or extroverted, your DNA. So, one of the messages, introverts love you. So we see you’re more of a leader than we thought. We were wrong. We apologize. Mea culpa. Secondly, following a Harvard study, it’s in your DNA. So Michelle, God made you that way, so it’s alright. You’re a bit more introverted. That’s alright. It’s your DNA. Don’t feel bad. But the third point is be an adult. And act like an introvert at times and an extrovert at times. So, my wife teaches grade 2. So, around grade 2 or 3, if you have a kid, you lose your name… you’re no longer Michelle. You’re Susan’s mother.

Karl Moore: She’s front and center. And if you get upset, the other parents go, Michelle, grow up. Seriously. You’re smarter, you have more education, you’re taller, you have more money than your grade two daughter. She only beats you on cuteness. That’s it. But in this context, she’s the center, not you. And in musicians, sometimes you pull back because someone else is playing and you don’t have to suck up all the oxygen out of the room. It’s called, be called immature. Let them get the spotlight. So the thought is that as a musician, you may be the hardwiring in a universe and there’s lots of CEOs like you. But the nature of the job is that you’re required, sometimes, to network a bit. But you do it like an introvert. So, networking, if you’re going to go to a conference or something, you go, okay, there’s a famous couple here in Montreal, the Demerais. So, Paul and his wife, uh, Hélène, are billionaires, and they go to events where you’ve been, and there’s tables of eight all over a big room, hundreds of people. Paul is a huge introvert, and he sits and he talks to one person for half an hour and goes to talk to another one. His wife, Hélène, goes from table to table, is a huge extrovert, and talks for 2, 3 minutes, everybody laughs, they enjoy it. She goes from table to table, doing extroverted networking. I like his approach, because someone has a half hour, at the end of a half hour, you go, I love this guy. If he ever calls, I will return his call because he listened to me and he asked me questions. This is a great guy. Hélène is charming but does not have conversations of substance until she sits at dinner and talks to someone, the two people beside her for an hour. You know, that’s what you have to do unless you’re the bride or the groom or something. And so that’s what she does. So both are effective forms of networking. Introverts tend to be more one on one, a real conversation. You do your homework. I’m going to talk to this agent. I’m going to share that. I don’t work the whole crowd. I choose who I’m going to network with, giving it some thought. So both, that’s a great way to network. And I would encourage extroverts, calm down a bit and choose who are the key people that you need to talk to, to move your agenda forward in a helpful, good manner.

Michelle Lynne: I think that is such good advice to work with your strengths. If you’re an introvert, then you can choose who you want to strategically connect with. And also, I mean, as an extrovert, make sure that you’re moving the needle and not having maybe superficial conversations. And also for introverts, when they have to share the stage, that’s a little bit easy… they can pull back, but a lot of it is also the self-promotion. So learning to turn on that extroverted side almost as a performance aspect. I’m hearing you say that you can be a chameleon in this way and, learn the strengths of both sides to help you. Yeah.

Karl Moore: So I learned to act like an introvert, but on the other hand, I’m naturally an extrovert. So on a plane, I’m the person who talks, the stranger who talks to the person beside them. Yes, I’m that person, I, I don’t lack, I mean, I do have some social skills. If you have headphones on, or if I say, uh, I might say to you, I say, uh, so are you, are you going home to Montreal or are you going to Montreal on business? And you might go, uh, business and put on your headphones. I can take a hint. So you have that skill set, but on the other hand, you go, uh, oh, I’m going there. It was, oh, what’s your business? You go, I’m a musician. I’m going to go play at this club. And I go, oh, that’s great. My wife and I love, um, use jazz like that. Uh, what are you playing? So it’s something where you have a conversation mainly focused on the other person as an extrovert and that, but I, I’ve met some very interesting people. So I met Bruce Willis, the actor… so a bar in New York, so when I go to restaurants with my wife and kids, I get it, I take a book and eat at the bar, where I talk to total strangers, now, I’m sitting there, and just around the corner, about there is Bruce Willis, eating at the, you know, on the corner of the bar, and they’re in New York, so they’re all ignoring Bruce Willis… but I’m from Canada, which I’ve already said to them, hi, I’m, Karl from Montreal, thought I’d meet some native New Yorkers. So I do a selfie, making me appear I’m sitting beside Bruce Willis. He, you know, he leans in, he smiles, and you know, it’s all good. But it’s something where I’ve learned to go up to almost anyone, famous people like Lewis Hamilton or Will.I.Am and go, uh, Lewis, I’m Karl Moore. I’m a professor at McGill and Oxford. I’m writing a book for Stanford, which is name dropping, but everybody goes very quiet because unless you’re, like, how are you going to top that? You’re a prof at Harvard, fine, but okay, get over. You know, so it’s something where I can tease them. And then I go, I’m doing a book on introverts. Lewis, are you an introvert or extrovert? And it’s something where I’m focusing on them, asking them a question they’ve probably thought about but haven’t really talked about it much. Everybody responds well, you know,

Michelle Lynne: Established your authority and you came in a friendly way. I think that’s the key. You opened the door.

Karl Moore: Well, it’s like if I was, you know, I was in a band and played and then I went out to, you know, talk to people at the bar afterwards. They might recognize, and I say, I was the guitarist in the band. Was there any piece you liked more, and was there one you hated? You know, and just talk to people and get their opinion, ask them about, was it too loud? We have a new singer, what do you think about her? You know, and just talk and discuss, but think about questions that you might have a conversation with. And by doing something like that, it’s less problematic for an introvert because, you know, you’re gonna ask reasonable questions and you’re gonna have a conversation, I think.

Michelle Lynne: Yeah, this is great advice for anyone who needs to talk to famous people, more influential people. A lot of times we feel insecure going up to them or maybe don’t have the name dropping habit quickly coming out,

Karl Moore: you know, you might go, um, I’m a huge fan. I grew up with your music. I’m a professional musician… to be honest, partly inspired by what you did. Um, what are the three things a young musician like me must know that you wish you had known when you were 25? And it’s amazing because I have all these people come to class, CEOs and other people, and one of the most popular questions is, I have a bunch of undergrads here… you were an undergrad at McGill 30 years ago, 40 years ago, whatever. What are the three things you wish you had known when you were an undergrad? And the students lean forward, because the great one’s going to share… things that they will action that night. So it’s a sort of thing where, you know, just great stuff. And that they really, uh, appreciate it.

Michelle Lynne: This has just been so helpful because you’re giving so much advice on how to, ask interesting questions, how to connect with people, how to tell your story as a musician, how to connect to your deeper purpose, and to know why you want to show up and go out and meet people, because ultimately, as a musician, as a freelancer, our careers are open through opportunities and other people who are recommending us, talking about us when we’re not in the room, giving us stages and platforms, so I think you’ve just been a wealth of good advice today.

Karl Moore: You know, you have to be an excellent musician. But I also think that I want to play with musicians, not that are excellent, but are easy to get along with, that are charming, that respect my work as well, that are not going to be, you know, someone that’s going to be, oh man, just a prima donna. You want to have the talent of a prima donna, but the personality of a good person at the same time.

Michelle Lynne: Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. And getting feedback on that is also crucial because then you can see how you’re coming across and connecting with people. I know I tend to stay around and talk to the audiences after concerts. So asking interesting questions, asking them what they liked that really makes them feel seen and appreciated as audience members who then want to come back because they know that they mattered to you.

Karl Moore: Yeah, no, for sure. I may look into going to a jazz club in Kenya just after this conversation.

Michelle Lynne: That sounds amazing. Thank you so much for your time. And I just really appreciate it.

Karl Moore: My pleasure, Michelle. See you later.


  • Karl Moore

    Professor |Thinkers50 | Keynote Speaker | CEO Series National Radio Show | Indigenous Leaders Co-Columnist for the Globe and Mail/Forbes Leadership Contributor/ former New York Times Leadership Columnist

    Karl Moore is an award-winning teacher, researcher, and internationally recognized leader in the study of Introvert/Ambivert/Extroverted Leaders. Karl has interviewed +1,000 CEOs and other senior leaders such as Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Premiers, etc.. Among the most of business profs in the world. His CEO interviews have been published in print and on-line by the Globe and Mail, The New York Times, and Forbes.

    He was nominated for the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards in the Leadership Category as a top thinker in the area. He does executive teaching & speeches on Introverted/Ambivert/Extrovert and Effectively Working with Millennials. His latest book (number 10) Generation Why: How Boomers Can Lead and Work with Millennials/Generation Z, came out in May, 2023. In 2021 he did a research project with McKinsey looking at Fathers who stay home with newborns, this year he is working with them on when do growing startups bring in corporate types, whom do they bring in and how they retain them. His next book, Introverts/Ambiverts/Extroverts in the C Suite is scheduled to be out in 2024.

    Karl has received awards at McGill for Teacher of the Year, Principal’s Prize for Public Engagement through Media and the Professor of the Year from the McGill alumni association.

    He has taught on executive/MBA programs at Oxford, IMD, Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, LBS, INSEAD, Duke, IIM (Bangalore), Keio, Renmin (Beijing), Darden, Skolkovo, HEC, and McGill, where he is Associate Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management. He has been an Associate Fellow/Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford University, for +20 years, he was full-time faculty for five years.

    He has produced a very substantial volume of impactful research: +4300 citations; 28 refereed journal articles, 10 books, 12 book chapters, 25 executive journal articles, & hundreds of newspaper pieces. He has been an Associate Editor of the Academy of Management Perspectives. His Forbes.com blog, the weekly video interview for the Globe & Mail and his YouTube channel have received over 5 million views.

    In 2014 he started a radio show, the CEO Series where he interviews CEOs one-on-one for an hour. You can listen on the show website: https://soundcloud.com/cjad800/sets/the-ceo-series Among others he has interviewed Justin Trudeau, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus & former Google CFO, Patrick Pichette.