An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
You need to have confidence and determination I mean you first get started depending on the topic you are speaking on you may or may not book a lot of gigs at first I don’t know how many doors get slammed in your face it’s not about the doors that slamming its about your wellness to never give up I can’t tell you how many doors closed in my face or how many opportunities I messed up on but I had to learn is what’s for me will be for me so I don’t take it as a lost I take it as a learning lesson.
At some point in our lives, many of us will have to give a talk to a large group of people. What does it take to be a highly effective public speaker? How can you improve your public speaking skills? How can you overcome a fear of speaking in public? What does it take to give a very interesting and engaging public talk? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker” we are talking to successful and effective public speakers to share insights and stories from their experience. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing 7x award winning autism activist Marcus Leonardo Boyd.
Marcus Leonardo Boyd is a global figure he is known in so many countries and he uses his platform to help bring change and new opportunities for the Autism communities , Marcus himself has autism so he understands from a personal level the trails and tribulations you can face with having autism, Marcus is the first African American to have 7 awards as a autism activist also he is the first person with Autism to win a Distinguished Person Humanitarian Award and a Lifetime Presidential Achievement Award, Marcus has spoken in 10 different countries about autism places like Asia, Australia, South Africa, Dubai, London UK, Scotland UK, Philippines, China, Pakistan, South America, Marcus has a clothing line and a shoe line he is a book author with coloring books and a comic book and so much more he has been a international public speaker for over 5 years now he has 13 music awards as a music Producer and Composer so sit back and learn more about 7x award winning autism activist Marcus Boyd.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I come from a place where roaches and rats walked the hall ways I come from a place where you smelled piss and vomit in the air I come from a place where Jr’s hard to make it out I’m from the projects the ghetto the hood or poverty just to name a few I was born in Atlanta ga and raised between Atlanta ga and Brooklyn ny I got separated from my family at a early age due to horrific abuse from my birth father I don’t think he was truly ready to be a father plus he had generational demons he was fighting so I got moved to foster care and I was in 16 different homes 16 different group homes and I was in a emergency children shelter and I was in 16 different mental hospitals 4 impatient centers and I dealt with electrical shock therapy in the hospital when I didn’t want to take my medications I was in therapy for years and years I had different doctors I was on so many different medications by me having Autism I was non verbal until I was 13 or 13 ½ then I started to speak at a 2 year old level I didn’t start speaking like j do now until I was almost 18 years old so my life was pretty difficult but I praise God for it
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
5 years ago I was in Atlanta ga and I needed to go to Walmart so a friend of mine that I grew up with offered to take me to the store so she picked me up it was rainy really hard that day and I got in her car and we started to talk and she asked me a question she said when are you going to let others hear your story about your journey with Autism and I said that’s not happening all of my life I just wanted to be looked at as normal so I am not telling strangers my story and then she got mad and said really you know I got a son who has autism and God allowed you to talk and you refuse to help someone else out who may be going through what you went through or may have some questions that you can help with again I said no I am not a doctor nor do I feel like having people in my personal business, so again it was rainy really hard outside so she said I tell you what and she pulled over her car on the highway and said for me to get out she said since I want to be selfish and not spread how God blessed me to be able to talk and function then I need to get out and walk to wal mart so at this point I was looking out the window and I see it’s coming down real hard and I didn’t see a wal mart in sight so I told her if I agree to tell my story at her church will she be happy and still take me to wal mart she said yes she would so I agreed and she took me to wal mart and back home safely and then that Sunday she came early to pick me up she had her son with her and she drove me to the church and when we got inside it was like a concert in their like kirk Franklin was preforming I mean people really had the holy ghost in there I loved the music and dancing so things calmed down and the pastor said do we have any visitors today and she pushed me to stand up I said my name and the pastor said o yeah I heard about you do you want to tell us your story and how God worked in your life so I began to tell my story and when I was done a lot of people came up to me to ask me questions about my story and autism and from their I realized it’s not about me at all its about the millions of families and individuals who has autism and they don’t get to have their stories told or their voices heard so right then I knew what I had to do was become a voice for Autism
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Well about 3 years ago I was doing some spelling gigs around Atlanta ga and then j got a Facebook message by a Facebook friend asking me what’s my schedule for the next week and I replied back with I’m free why you asking and then they told me that they wanted me to be a guest speaker at a event they are having for autism by this point I been speaking a lot about autism so I’m comfortable you know feeling myself a little bit so I said sure where is the event located at how long will I have on stage and what is the budget so my Facebook friend told me that the event was in London uk and I will have 60 mins to speak you know in the speaking world that’s like a whole day of speaking and I was going to get paid but it’s more about the exposure value of it and I will be speaking via video to the national society of Autism in london uk I mean at this point I was blown away I was so excited I was crying because I couldn’t believe God would bless someone like me with this life changing opportunity so I got myself prepared and ready I practiced my speech harder then ever before and then when the time came to give my speech via zoom I know I delivered a powerful heart felt speech about autism in America and my story with having autism I truly believed that it touched some people’s lives and after that I was asked to come back to speak in London again
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
About 5 years ago when I was first starting to do my speaking engagements I was always nervous and scared and not really sure of myself at that time so I got a chance to speak in front of like 100 to 150 people at a fundraiser event for autism awareness so I got my suit on my three piece suit at that my Stacy Adam’s on with the tip I mean j thought I was super Sharpe so they told me I had 12 mins to speak and I was one of the featured speakers for the eevents I was back stage practicing my speech and my voice on how I was going to deliver the speech I was sweating alittle bit but I was cool so then I had to go to the bathroom so mind you I was in a 3 piece suit so I went to the bathroom washed my hands and after that I left the bathroom so now I hear the woman giving me a introduction on stage so I’m saying to myself this is it you got this Marcus I was giving myself a pep talk so the woman said let welcome autism activist Marcus Boyd so I begin to walk on the stage and as I got to the middle of the stage and I said hello all of a sudden my pants fall right on the floor I mean you have to image how embarrassed I was all I hear was laughing people in shock my draws was showing and my legs so I tried to pick up my pants up real quick and I ran off stage the lesson I learned is to finish what you start regardless if you make a mistake and Too to always make sure my pants are zipped and fixed before I leave the restroom lol
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Everybody has someone who comes in their life and helps it in some type of way for me I was blessed to have more then one person, I truly believe in giving people their flowers while they are here to smell them so I have to start with God who is thr head of my life and without God guiding me through my hard times then I don’t know where I would be I mean I know a lot of people says that but I really mean it I was so messed up without having direction that it was hard for me to focus on the mission in front of me, next has to be my grandma Mary Boyd what she taught me and did for me is do priceless and I learned so much from her the things to do and the things not to do but she taught me the art of hustling and grinding and the real meaning of never quitting, then I have to show some love to my best friend Gary Sinatra thank you for supporting me and helping me out so many times in my journey, to My super supporter Queen carter thank you so much you are a amazing friend that has helped me mode and build my autism brand thank you for everything you have done for me and to my mentors John McClung Jr, Tracy bumpers, Manisha Holiday, jacquetta Quashie, Mary Mitchell, Dorothy Carr, Bob ordner, Anna Gibbs, thank you for being a light when my life was dark thank you for showing me what a true Legend and Leader looks like thank you for loving me when I couldn’t love myself.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Well first off where you are reading this I want you to stop reading this and say out loud I am somebody I matter I am important and I won’t stop until I achieve my dreams, now that you have done that continue reading this answer what I know is that you can’t go into anything scared or afraid yes you are going to have challenges and you are going to mess up and fall but that’s OK pick yourself back up dust yourself off and you keep on the road to your dreams and goals we all fall short but God still loves and pushes us anyways so you have to see past you never done this before or it’s your first time or the fact that you might not have the money or resources to do it I mean trust me when I first started I didn’t have the money or resources either but what I had to learn is when you take a step God will take five it’s the faith in your dreams and goals and the faith in him that he wants you to have, then I would say to not listen to anyone that is not supporting you or giving you positive advice because there are some people that smile in your face but pray for your down fall you need real support around you and for people to speak life into you so pray to God and ask him who should you have around you and who should you make a team with because you can’t do anything alone, next you need to make sure you are making the right connections and resources if this is the field you want to do then you need to know what organizations you need to talk to how to get involved with speaking agencies and how to set up a paid speaking engagements please understand nothing comes over night it took me 5 years before I got my first real payment now it make take you a way shorter or longer time but the message that you keep going regardless of payment or not I do what I do because I have a passion and this is my purpose it’s way bigger then fame or money but you have to know your worth as well, and I would say make a strong team of believers and workers around you that will be on the mission to push your dreams and goals just like its there’s and will honor you with the work they put in to help elevate the dream and goal and finally just have belief in yourself a lot of times we get into things without having that full belief in ourselves trust me I know I have done it before so as long as you have that confidence in yourself then you are prepared to move mountains.
What drives you to get up everyday and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?
I get up every morning feeling blessed and honored that God has given me another day when he didn’t have too, so I know I have a family To take care of and they need me like I need them so I strive to make my today better then yesterday and I know my why and when see a lot of us don’t know our why’s so it can be a little bury when you wake up every morning because you still trying to see pass your own reality but for me I see my vision and I know my purpose so it makes it easier for me to get up now my message I want to leave with thr world is that don’t look at the word autism as a death sentence because it’s not you have so many important and famous people who has autism so many lawyers and doctors and nurses and singers rappers actors actresses judges basketball players and Nascar drivers we all have to understand that autism is a diagnosis but you can still do anything you out your mind too I have autism so as a person who had Autism I fight everyday to prove the stereo type wrong when it comes too what we can’t do with having Autism what we don’t understand or will never read or get a education or do for ourselves I am not saying that there are not individuals that have situations like these because there are but every person with Autism is different I was non verbal for many years and on medication and had ieps and was in special Ed class rooms and went to hospitals the whole nine but God still will make a way with Autism you just have to continue to have that fighting spirit that never giving up spirit regardless the trail or tribulations we face with Autism we can still get to the other side, I want to encourage the world who has autism that having autism is a super power and we are the lucky ones because not everyone gets to ha e these powers and you are not different or less than and its ok for you to move at your time and speed and all we truly need is love patience understanding acceptance inclusion and support so my mission on this earth is to make people see autism differently and I will continue to raise my voice for Autism
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
My team tells me all the time marcus you are doing to much you have to stay focused on one thing lol for me that’s hard because I want to touch the world in so many ways so currently right now I am working on a 30 page comic book called super marcus and the autism squad it’s a comic book for the Autism and special needs communities worldwide and in this book you will see super marcus and the autism squad who are the protectors for autism and special needs kids all around the world they come against the hate corps who hate anyone or anything that has to do with Autism or special needs and their sole mission is to wipe them off the face of the planet but we will just have to see what will happen, next I have a clothing line that I am working on it’s called the A collection clothing and it’s a urban/Casual line for men woman and children it will be in all sizes and have different designs and what I wanted to do was have a stylish designer clothing company and the autism and special needs communities can wear and be proud of but this line is for everyone next I have a shoe line called G soles with G Soles being the first ever spiritual tennis shoe ever created and what I wanted to do was bring positive messages and change the style for the shoe game putting God where he needs to ne first then I have my autobiography book I am working on called the boy with no voice it will be telling my true story with having autism and growing up in foster homes and group homes and being homeless and the things I went through up until this point then I have a tv series that will happen with the boy with no voice and then I have a coloring book called the Wayne’s which is the very first sitcom coloring book where you follow the story of a Christian family called the Wayne’s and see how life situations happen and how they come together as a family and who knows what I will do next you just have to wait and stay tuned
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
- History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own. –Michelle Obama
- “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” –W.E.B. Du Bois
- “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” –Nelson Mandela
- “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” –Malcolm X
- “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” –Frederick Douglass
- “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” –Barack Obama
Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker?”
To me I know for sure the first thing is your belief and faith in God I mean we can’t build the ark by ourselves so we have to have help with our dreams and goals and the things we want to do so with having God on your side you can achieve all of your dreams plus more so I will tell anyone if you want to be a public speaker make sure you have a strong relationship with God so when you ask him for help you won’t be ignored. 2nd you need to have confidence and determination I mean you first get started depending on the topic you are speaking on you may or may not book a lot of gigs at first I don’t know how many doors get slammed in your face it’s not about the doors that slamming its about your wellness to never give up I can’t tell you how many doors closed in my face or how many opportunities I messed up on but I had to learn is what’s for me will be for me so I don’t take it as a lost I take it as a learning lesson, 3rd you need the right connections and contacts in this world you can’t do anything if you don’t know the right people to talk too yes you can do it on your own with nothing but that is so much harder so when you start on the public speaker journey you need to find other successful public speakers get their pr information o booking agent information and reach out to them learn from find out how they got into the door and take pieces of that and create your own yes when you book your gigs you need to know the locations or venues to go to how much you need to charge to speak and how your team needs to promote the event 4th you need to have a good talking topic I don’t know what your topic will be about but this is not to preach to people or tell them what they need to do or don’t need to do this is to give wisdom knowledge and encouragement with your story and your knowledge of the topic you are talking about make sure you are not boring you interact with the crowd make them feel like they can talk too and not just listen ask questions while you talking tell jokes make them laugh because as a public speaker you are only good from your last event so every event you have to prove yourself that you are on top and better then the rest so make them want more of your topic and you that’s your job is to give the audience something that will continue to talk about with you as the speaker and 5th and final thing is preparation and attack you have to put in your mind that you are about to play in the biggest game of your life when yiu step on that stage and you began to talk on the topic you speaking of you have to see it like your in a football game and the crowd is trying to tackle you and stop you so you have to fo plays that out wit and amaze the crowd you have to shake them and don’t let them tackle you one way to do that is make sure you are prepared before you do your speech go over your speech a lot of times do it in the mirror or in front of people become comfortable with the words so when you talk you are free handed and you can really deliver a incredible performance being a public speaker is no different from being a musician instead of singing or rapping you are delivering word with power and your words is the music so bring it ro them in a qay that they will never forget.
As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?
We all want to achieve our dreams and goals and get things we want but a lot of times what stands in our way is ourselves so I will say that you can’t be afraid or scared or fearful of anything if you try and don’t succeed guess what you csn do it again don’t get mad and say oh I quit no just go back and do it find out ways to make it better so you can succeed and I know this interview I been saying God a lot but honestly God never gave us a spirit of fear us as man made that to be reality we have to get pads our on self’s and allow God to take full control see that’s one of the problems we try to complete a dream when God is in the background saying please let me help your not alone but we would swear up and down that we have to do this by ourselves because we don’t have help and it’s OK to be nervous but you can’t stay in the nervousness you are a genius a inspiration a warrior and most importantly you are God’s child so we can do anything through Christ who strengthen us so I honestly think the devil uses our fear against us and have us to believe that we are no good nobody will give us a chance and we need to stop chasing a Dream and to me the devil is a lieee so my advice to you is to stand with God and stand on your dreams and goals and go get them don’t allow the devil to stop you I believe in you
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would start called Autism Hearts where people would wear the Autism hearts on them and that would be a representation of the love and support they have for people with Autism like the shirt would say my name is Marcus boyd and I love with my Autism heart or it would say Jenny uses her autism heart to show love like I would do t shirts hats jackets bracelets chains sweat suits hoodies to continue to spread more acceptance inclusion and awareness for autism.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Well a lot of my hero’s are gone people like biggie smalls j dilla proof from D-12 Luther Vandross but I would love to do lunch with les brown Eric Thompson 9th wonder dwele gucci mane Deb Anthony I mean honestly I would lobe to have lunch with anyone that is positive and who is influencing the culture I want to learn I want to be a student so that’s my people I would love to eat lunch with.
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Marcus Leonardo Boyd On The 5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.