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Happy New Year! Today’s episode of the TalentGrow Show features thought-leader, speaker, coach and trainer, Alexia Vernon, with a ton of fresh and valuable insights for you to take with you into the new year! Alexia has been on the show once before, but this time around she shares some great tips for discovering your “secret sauce” as a speaker. Find out why improving your speaking can benefit you even if you’re not a speaker by trade, discover the best questions you can ask yourself to improve your speaking, and the big mistake Alexia made (and you should definitely avoid) when she published her first book! Alexia also talks about being honest and vulnerable as a speaker, which is something that might seem simple but is actually really hard to do. Give this a listen and take your speaking to the next level! Plus, don't miss Alexia's offer at the end - it's a great resource you don't want to miss out on!
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WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- Alexia explains how getting better at speaking can benefit everyone (7:44)
- Why you shouldn’t keep your personal brand a secret (9:13)
- Your expertise is NOT your unique point of view (your “secret sauce” topic) (10:44)
- Alexia shares what it is that top speakers seek to create (11:25)
- What are some questions you can ask yourself to discover your secret sauce? (12:06)
- A seemingly negative question that can have positive results! (12:34)
- “Serial Monogamy!” Alexia advises that you should be comfortable sticking to a single topic or idea for a period of 2 – 5 years (15:40)
- A mistake that Alexia made when she published her first book, and what she learned (16:17)
- Alexia shares the fears she had when she was just starting out as a speaker. Some of you can probably relate! (18:12)
- Alexia talks about being authentic and human as a speaker, and leveraging your expertise without hiding behind it (18:50)
- Two simple questions that can help you make your presentations so much better! (21:20)
- Rather than providing too much information and trying to educate people, Alexia suggests that you help people take your idea and apply it themselves to their careers, their businesses, and their lives (21:52)
- Alexia shares one of her favorite structures for organizing a presentation (23:05)
- What’s new and exciting with Alexia? Her husband joins her business full-time, she has a new book coming out, and a new virtual workshop is on the way! (24:57)
- What’s Alexia’s actionable tip? (It’s not easy, but at the end of the podcast Alexia shares a baby-step to help you accomplish it!) (26:33)
- Halelly plays the devil’s advocate against Alexia’s tip! (28:36)
- What “being truthful” means to Alexia (30:20)
- Alexia’s baby-step for her actionable tip (31:15)
- Check out Alexia’s free live workshop airing on January 11th, 2018: Discover Your Secret Sauce as a Speaker (Disclosure: I'm an Ambassador)
- Check out Alexia’s website
- Follow Alexia on Twitter
- Like Alexia on Facebook
- Follow Alexia on Instagram
- Subscribe to Alexia on YouTube
- Connect with Alexia on LinkedIn
- Check out the TalentGrow Show on C-Suite Radio
- Like the Facebook page of The TalentGrow Show!
- Join the Facebook group – The TalentGrowers Community! Share your advice, your progress, your successes and your challenges and questions. Interact with other listeners and with me. Let’s support each other in becoming the kind of leader that people *want* to follow!
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- Intro/outro music for The TalentGrow Show: "Why-Y" by Esta - a great band of exquisitely talented musicians, and good friends of mine
About Alexia Vernon
Branded a “Moxie Maven” by the White House Office of Public Engagement, Alexia Vernon has dedicated her life to empowering business, community and thought leaders to speak with moxie on stage, at work and in their personal lives. As a speaking coach, she partners with C-suite leaders, entrepreneurs, change makers, authors, media personalities, educators and creatives to use public speaking and live events to spread their ideas, advance their thought leadership, and make positive impact in the world. Alexia has inspired many audiences with her equal parts high impact and heart-centered presentations, including Fortune 500 companies like Zappos and MGM Resorts, associations like INBOUND and the National Association of REALTORS®, and she had the honor of addressing the UN during the Commission on the Status of Women. Alexia’s advice has been featured by dozens of media including CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, Inc., Forbes and Women’s Health Magazine. Alexia’s book Step into Your Moxie will be published by New World Library and Penguin Random House Audio (Fall 2018).
Episode 69 Alexia Vernon
Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.
Halelly: Hey, hey, welcome back TalentGrowers, and if you’re listening to this episode when it’s released, then Happy New Year to you. It’s just the beginning of 2018 and I hope that you’ll make 2018 an awesome year of growing your talent. Of course, I’m here to help with that. And in fact, we’re kicking off with an episode that’s geared precisely to help you do that. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow and you probably know that speaking on stage is a really great way to spread your ideas, to grow your personal brand and reach, to enhance your career development, promotability and employability if you’re an employee, and if you are a business owner or plan to be one, then it can definitely not only get more people to learn about you, but also add meaningful revenue to your bottom line. Not only does public speaking make you more visible, it forces you out of your comfort zone and into a greater version of yourself.
A lot of people are excellent thought leaders, excellent experts, but are not speaking or at least not consistently. Smart people. People are go-to people in their organization. Why, why not? For a lot of people, it’s a fear of public speaking. Some people don’t have a reliable process for booking speaking gigs. And most people just don’t understand exactly what goes into creating a one-of-a-kind, soul-stirring presentation that meaningfully advances big ideas and makes an audience want to work with you further. But have no fear! In this episode – episode 69 of the TalentGrow Show – my friend, Alexia Vernon, who understands exactly what it takes to become someone who doesn’t shirk stage fright and instead becomes someone who moves into it with grace, grit and vulnerability will help you learn how to create presentations that truly resonate with an audience. She’s also a master of how to clarify your ideas and your message, and persuade event organizers to book you. So I’m really happy that she’s going to share some wonderful insights today on the show with you. She’s going to explain why all leaders should be speaking, some questions that you can ask yourself to help you find your secret sauce in your industry – that is the topic that you should be speaking about. And she also shares some key practical tips and insights for creating a successful presentation or a training session and of course that one specific actionable tip at the end that you can take action on this week to upgrade your speaking effectiveness. Plus, Alexia invites you to a free, live, virtual workshop that’s coming up that has us both excited, so be sure to listen to the very end and visit the show notes page to get the link for registering for that free workshop. Without further ado, here is Alexia Vernon, with me, on episode 69.
Hey TalentGrowers, I’m happy to be back with you and Happy New Year! This is an episode featuring a repeat TalentGrow guest, Alexia Vernon, my friend. Branded a moxie maven by the White House office of public engagement, she supports business and thought leaders to speak powerfully on stage, at work, and in their personal lives. Alexia and I have co-presented together, we have partnered, we are on the same mastermind group. I can tell you, she is the real deal. She has inspired many audiences with her own presentations on the art of speaking, including Fortune 500 companies, associations like In Bound and the National Association of Realtors, and she has spoken at the UN. She’s been featured on CNN, on NBC, CBS, ABC and the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Inc., and her Step Into Your Moxie book will be published by New World Library and Penguin Random House audio in 2018. Alexia, welcome back!
Alexia: Thank you so much.
Halelly: I am so happy to have you back. I’m really excited. You have so much to share, so if you did listen to Alexia’s first appearance on the TalentGrow Show, which was episode 10, then you can definitely learn tons of new stuff here. It is not a repeat episode. And if you haven’t yet listened to Alexia, just wait. You are in for a treat. So Alexia, the one thing I guess you will sort of repeat – because I don’t want to assume people did hear your professional journey, and we always start with that here on the TalentGrow Show, just give us a brief encapsulation of where did you start and where are you now?
Alexia: Absolutely. It’s funny, because when time passes, you start to look at your life and career through a different lens, so it’s quite possible that what I say will actually be different. Like Halelly, much of my current work is informed by my background in learning development. So that wasn’t a career path I necessarily chose. I like to say that it somewhat chose me. When I was in graduate school at NYU, I wound up as a graduate assistant for an educational theater company, and I thought I was going to be going into schools and working with young people, talking about difficult social issues, which was what the organization I worked for did. But I wound up being placed in the professional development arm of the company, so I was doing the work with teachers and social workers and youth development professionals, teaching them how to use interactive learning strategies to better engage their audiences.
And I loved that work. I didn’t love the salary cap that is inherent in a lot of nonprofit organizations, and as I started to explore what I really enjoyed most, which was the coaching, the facilitation pieces that I got to do when training, and what I liked a lot less, which was albeit administration, a few people in my world said, “You should really think about this thing called coaching.” This was in the early days before everybody and her mother said, “I give good advice, or I ask good questions. I should be a coach.” And so I went to coach training school, got certified by the ICF, and hung out my shingle, left and built my own coaching company. In the beginning days was a little bit all over the place, so for a while I thought I would want to coach other nonprofit leaders. Then I started doing a lot of work – around the time we met, Halelly – around supporting organizations with onboarding their young professionals. Then a few years in, I had a series of happy accidents that all happened around the same time, and it just made me realize that so much of what I wound up doing with my clients, and so much of what I wound up doing in presentations, even though it wasn’t by design, was actually helping people reclaim their voice and be able to use it in a more powerful way. That’s when I pivoted and went all in to supporting businesses and thought leaders with their speaking.
Halelly: I know that you really do help a lot of people become better speakers and also launch themselves as speakers into the world. I know that some of the listeners are thinking, “Okay, great, that’s for people who want to be speakers, but I just want to do what I’m doing over here,” whatever it is. So why should people listening even consider speaking?
Alexia: This is a great question, because you’re right. It would be easy to say, “I am an employee, I potentially hope to always be an employee. I don’t want to be a speaker. I could understand why I would do speaking if I was a consultant, to be able to procure more work for myself. But, in this day and age, I think all of us have a responsibility to look at ourselves, not just in terms of being property of the organization that we work for, but really as our own brand. I know you’ve had a lot of awesome guests on the podcast, like Dorie Clark, who talk about this as well. So if you are thinking about yourself as somebody who is not defined not only by their company, but not even defined by their industry so that you are able to recalibrate, irrespective of what the economy looks, like or if you find yourself being pulled in a different direction. When you speak at conferences within your own professional association network, which is one of the things both you and I did to build our careers when we were still employees, before we launched our own consulting businesses, it just gives you the opportunity to get known in your space to be able to network outside of your most immediate professional community, and certainly if you are a consultant, it will support you to be able to get face time with decision makers who could bring you in for more lucrative opportunities.
Halelly: Totally, and this is one of the things I do talk about so much, when I speak with people about how they should own their personal brand, and if your brand is a secret, like the only people who get to experience you and your brand and your brilliance and knowledge are the people in your direct work environment, then you’re keeping a best-kept secret away from so many other people and so many opportunities that you would like to be part of, that could come your way, if you were a little less secret.
Halelly: You and I co-presented – which was so much fun, I have to say – we co-presented recently, since the first episode aired, between then and now, at our professional association again about how to step into thought leadership, and even though the audience there was a lot of our colleagues in the training and talent development learning industry, this totally applies to everyone and one of the ways that you can become seen as a thought leader is to speak about the things you know. Every single person in a job has a lot of their own unique ways of doing things, or they have a lot of knowledge that they’ve accumulated, that other people who are still maybe earlier in their careers or stepping in from another industry or just don’t look at it in the same way would love to learn from them. So it’s a way to create so much value in the world.
So some people, let’s say they’ve bought into this idea of, “I should do some speaking.” A lot of them struggle with, “How do I exactly choose what to speak about?” How do you help people figure out their secret sauce in their industry?
Alexia: One of the things that those of us who are in a business context and whether we’re leaders or moving into a leadership position often struggle with is this very thing, because often times we think that our secret sauce is our expertise. So I’ve been in XYZ profession for 15 years, and so rather than actually having a unique point of view, we become either a generalist or we sort of curate all of the best hits of our industry and somewhat regurgitate them, often times with fancy slide decks. But we don’t actually allow our audiences to really see us. If you think about some of the top leadership business speakers of our age, many of them who have given TED and TEDx talks, whether it’s Simon Sinek or Brene Brown, what you realize is that not only do they have an idea that is full of their points of view and their own voice, but they’re not trying to bring together lots of information and hide behind their expertise. They’re really seeking to create a human connection and to create positive transformation in the lives of audience members.
So, that can feel like a really big task. How do I do that for an audience if I’m just getting started? I recommend sitting with questions, and Halelly, these questions will sound familiar because we’ve talked about them before. In fact, when we presented at ATD, they were some of the questions we gave our audience. Questions like, “What is everybody in my industry talking about, and what’s being left out of the conversation?” Because often times our secret sauce is not what everybody and their cousin is speaking about. It’s the pieces that get left out. Another question to help somebody find his or her secret sauce, what really bugs me about my industry? And this is not about being a negative Ned or a negative Nelly. Rather, it’s about saying, “You know, a lot of people in my industry are talking about …” you just have to get your 10,000 hours as Malcolm Gladwell would say, and then all the negative sensation that comes up when you get in front of an audience will go away. And truthfully that bugs me, because I probably had amassed close to 10,000 hours and I’m still struggling privately with horrible panic attacks when I would have to get up and speak. It wasn’t enough to just do it. That helped me get my point of view, which was it’s not being comfortable in front of an audience that’s a problem. It’s not knowing how to handle the sensation that comes up when we’re being visible and being seen that is creating so much self sabotage for smart, talented speakers.
A third question around this idea of secret sauce that I would recommend is what’s an idea that I want to be known for, that I’m willing to be talking about for the next two, three, maybe even five years? And that’s important, because when you can hone in on a key idea or what is called in the TED community an idea worth spreading, that’s going to help you know this is something that not only can I see myself speaking about over and over again, but in terms of thought leadership, I can see myself writing about this potentially in articles. I can see myself doing podcast interviews on this topic, or maybe even writing a book about it down the line.
Halelly: Those are really great questions, and I think they do really help. A lot of people just don’t know where to start. And people can listen to some of the episodes we’ve had here on the show where we had examples of people who did just this, who have a day job and who on the side started to develop their own voice, like Jessica Kriegel. She was on episode 53 and she wrote a book that says that people are wrongly labeled when we use generational labels. She’s a woman on a mission to stop people using Millennials and Baby Boomers and all of that. She feels like it’s discrimination and she has a very strong point of view, but she has a day job and she speaks about this of course, so I think the speaking probably came before the book. She has a book. Another example is Dan Pontefract. He was on episode 49 and he also has written a series of books, he speaks all the time, and he has a day job with Telus, which is Canada’s biggest telecommunications company. And, what I love that you said was the two to five. I just find that so encouraging, because in one way, you say you’re going to be talking about this a lot – do you really love it? Does it really matter to you? But two to five years is also not that much. So I think it’s very freeing, especially for someone like me, because I do have a hard time narrowing down and it’s mostly because it’s that fear of losing out. What if I love something else and then I’m going to be married to this? No, you can shift, you can grow, and after two years if you’re tired of that, you can move to something else.
Alexia: It’s serial monogamy!
Halelly: I love it. You have such great phrases. I’m going to keep that one.
Alexia: But what you’re saying, really it’s true. You’re not having to wed this idea for life, but you should have enough of a vested interest that you’re willing to be known for this idea for, like we’ve been talking about, a period of two to five years. I would encourage you to think about five. I mean, the world moves fast, so sometimes, your idea might have transitioned on into something new sooner than that, but I don’t think this is something we talked about on the podcast before, but one of the mistakes I made with my first book that came out, and our books came out at the same time so you know this, was it took probably from the time I procured my agent until I got the book deal to the book came out, that was about two years. And I had outgrown the idea that was the focal point of the book by the time the book came out. That’s a horrible place to be in, when you recognize I’ve not only dedicated time and had a publisher invested in me to put this book out, but I’m wanting to talk about something else. And at that point, it was I wanted to talk about speaking. That’s what I’m born to do. I think if I had slowed down and not just thrown a bunch of spaghetti at a wall to see if people want me to talk about this or that, and let other people define what I wanted to say as a speaker, and instead had taken the time to say, “No, this is what I’m really passionate about and this is how I can make impact,” it would have saved me some difficult years making that transition.
Halelly: And even still, not to get into your business about how you feel about that move, I think from just watching you from the outside that even though you weren’t in love with it anymore, it still served a great purpose in developing your career, in giving you exposure to speaking and to being an author and taught you many insights and lessons that you then used very well into the next phase. It wasn’t wasted.
Alexia: Thank you for that. And it brought us together, so for that I’m grateful.
Halelly: So true. And the second question you asked, I wanted to just ask you a follow-up question, but by now I’m worried that I may not remember it well. But it was to be willing to be seen … tell me that question again?
Alexia: Oh gosh, this is the danger when you speak off the cuff and it’s not a presentation you know. Well, I don’t know if it was a question, but when you talked about being seen, I realized for me, the reason that I was experiencing so much sensation when I got in front of an audience wasn’t that I didn’t have enough face time or stage time, it was that I didn’t feel comfortable actually having people look at me, see me, and for me to be vulnerable in front of them as a speaker. I would be very comfortable getting up and telling jokes and sometimes telling stories, but stories that always elicited a laugh, rather than stories that might have created true, genuine connection, because I was admitting mistakes that I had made or things that I had struggled with in pursuit of being able to expand consciousness for an audience.
I see a lot of folks in the business community struggling in this area, so some of my clients have been speaking for a decade or more and they come to me because they’re bored, or they feel like that they’re a good speaker, but they’re not a really great speaker. Or, they’re speaking on behalf of their organization at conferences, but they’re always doing that breakout session and they want to be able to give the keynote, or do a TEDx talk or whatever it is. It’s almost always that same piece of there’s a tear, and sometimes we don't even know it or articulate it to ourselves, but if people really knew what was going on with me and the things that I struggled with, they wouldn’t see me as credible. They wouldn't think they should listen to me speaking. And yet, there’s nothing that our audiences actually want more than somebody who is willing to be human. Not a victim. This is not the same thing as airing one’s dirty laundry, but being really honest about what we’re working on, the moments that have brought us to our knees and humility and that have awakened us to show up in a different way in our lives and our businesses and our careers. Having that level of deep conversation. Even if we’re not giving a keynote and we’re doing a conference presentation. Like when speakers are able to do that, that’s what makes audience members want to follow them. That’s what makes other event organizers want to book them. That’s what makes publishers interested in publishing their books.
Halelly: So it’s that human connection and that authenticity and the vulnerability.
Alexia: Yes. And being able to hang that on your ideas. So it’s not about you just get up and you perform. But how do you marry having a strong point of view and a strong idea that you want to communicate that calls your audience to action, and how do you do it in a way where you’re not hiding behind your expertise. Certainly you’re leveraging your expertise as you build your argument and you advance that idea, but you’re also bringing in your heart, your soul, your sweat, your tears, into that experience.
Halelly: And that takes courage. I think a lot of people just aren’t comfortable enough.
Alexia: Heck yeah!
Halelly: Well, you say that a lot of what you’ve been doing in your presentations is less education and I know that you have so many different tips and suggestions. Obviously you have these programs that take nine months and three months and so forth, but what can you share with us here, since we’ve got you for a little bit, that can help everybody make their presentations even better? Like that suggestion you just made, but more?
Alexia: Great question. Beginning with another question – what do I want my audience to take away by the end of this presentation? And, how can I keep it as uncomplicated for them as possible? And the really juicy part is the second part of that question, how can I keep it as uncomplicated for them as possible? So for anyone who has ever trained, you know that in a training, whether it’s a half-day or a full day, usually you are trying to develop a ton of different skills, in a relatively short period of time. Usually three to four hours or upwards of seven to eight hours. A lot of folks approach, unfortunately, presentations in the same way. Whether or not they are trainers or not – how can I teach as much as possible? And inherent in that is usually a certain sense of hustling for acceptance from an audience. That’s what drives us to do it, whether or not we’re aware of it or not. But if our goal is really to get our audience to take action on an idea, whether that action is to shift their mindset or to step into a new behavior or in some cases let go of old habits, professional or personal, that aren’t serving them, then we actually do them a greater service when we have a smaller body of information that we’re trying to communicate. And rather than educating too much, we help people be able to take that idea and figure out how to put it into action within the realities of their careers, their businesses, their lives.
So as you might think about, “What would I do if I was giving a presentation?” Whether this is my first presentation or my next presentation, having a sound structure, and while there are lots of structures I teach, one of my favorite ones is problem, cause, solution. To organize your body of work, so that you don’t fall into the trap of over-giving, and as a result, getting people stuck in a paralysis mindset. So if you’re using this particular structure, your talk might open, you build rapport, you tell a story, but then you’re going to begin by presenting the problem, as you see it. A problem that is super-relevant to your audience. Then you’re going to talk about how we got there. What’s the cause of this problem? Because if you can get people to buy into this is why we got here, then it’s much more likely that you’re going to get your audience to want to go on the journey with you about how we solve that problem. And in your solution, you’re not going to give any more than three, four, maybe if you’re speaking for let’s say 90 minutes five, but ideally three specific ways that they can take action on that idea. And then you’re going to end by calling them to action. So, you’re going to summarize briefly what it is that you’ve just shared, and if you’re using this as a marketing tool you might invite that audience to fill out a postcard if they want to grab a digital guide that you’ve created or to get on the phone, if you want to do a discovery call or a sales call. Then that is your presentation.
Halelly: That’s very, very practical and useful, thank you Alexia. Wow. Well, we are starting to wrap up here, and I know that there is so much … you really are one of my role models in terms of how much you do and how much you get done, and what’s the latest and greatest? What are you excited about these days?
Alexia: There’s a few things. You know this because you were just on a call with my partner in work and life yesterday, but I brought my husband into my business full-time a few months ago and that’s been good to be able to get a lot done. It’s been an awesome next chapter for both of us, to have that level of partnership which has freed me up to be able to write another book, which didn’t feel like it was something I was going to be able to do within the confines of what my workday looked like, especially when my husband had been traveling so much for work. So that’s on the horizon. I’ve got a book coming out in 2018 that I’m really, really proud of, because all of me is in it. It’s a really vulnerable book, even though it’s about stepping into your power and reclaiming your voice and amplifying your visibility and influence. But there’s a lot of personal story and humor in that. Then I’m also really excited for a virtual workshop that I’m going to be leading shortly about how to find your secret sauce as a speaker, so that you can get booked over and over again to speak.
Halelly: I’m excited about that one too. It’s coming up real soon. I’ll give more information in the show notes about that one too, because a free workshop from an expert like you, I think that is something that everybody will be clamoring to get. Congratulations on the book, following your journey has been just remarkable, and really exemplary.
Alexia: Thank you.
Halelly: You’re welcome. One specific action that our listeners can take? We always end with a specific action, before you tell them how to stay in touch, that can ratchet up their effectiveness, whether it’s in leadership or in speaking or in finding their voice, whichever angle you want to take it at?
Alexia: I want to come back to this idea of presence and truly connecting with your audience. Because whether you’re wanting to enhance your speaking within team meetings in the workplace, like maybe your thing is not necessarily giving a speech, but it’s being able to stand up and speak compellingly in front of an audience of your peers at a meeting. Or, what I’m about to share works just as well if you’re thinking about wanting to start speaking at associations or at conferences in your industry, or even outside of your industry for more of a lay audience, let’s say at a TED or a TEDx event. It’s to think about what is it that you know you were born to say, that some people might really disagree with or not be ready for, but if you don’t say it, you won’t really be in your integrity and owning your voice?
To just sit with that, and let it work its way through you, the answer, because if you can give yourself permission to be more of a truth-teller, again, if it’s at work or whether it’s on stage in front of a more traditional audience, what I know firsthand and from working with a lot of people over the years, it just starts such an exquisite chain reaction of being a more effective interpersonal communicator, as well as a more effective presenter. When we stop hustling for people to like us or to give us opportunities, and instead speak the truth, which is something that a lot of us have to harness a lot of what I call moxie to be able to do, not only is it great for ourselves, but it gives other people permission in our lives to do the same.
Halelly: It does bring up for me, and I always wear this stupid devil’s advocate hat in this podcast, but I guess I’m just thinking, we live in a society that I think is increasingly, I don’t know how to say it – it’s like it’s increasingly PC. And lots of people find themselves in divisiveness. We have blue and the red and this side and that side, and it feels like almost anything that you want to say you have to mince your words and be careful and think about is it sexual harassment, am I doing this, am I offending someone needing to go to their safe space after this? So that to me seems like it’s in conflict with your suggestion? And I’m sure that it isn’t.
Alexia: I don’t think it is at all. To me, the divisiveness that you’re talking about, or the hatefulness, that’s when you’re not speaking your truth and you’re allowing fear to dictate what comes out of you. Whether it’s your words or your behavior. Because, and this is something I’ve experienced a lot just with how I speak to my own email list or how I speak on stage, that when you are truly speaking from a truthful place, even if people don’t agree with you, it’s very hard to be angry. Because that’s inherently fueling your words is compassion, for people who don't necessarily embody that same point of view, but what you let go of is that desire for people to hear you or to agree with you, which is what often breeds the wonkiness that you’re talking about.
Halelly: Because it feels like everybody is walking on eggshells. I love your suggestion. I would love for everybody to be just more themselves and more real and to be less afraid.
Alexia: That’s really what being truthful, to me, means. It means recognizing that there is fear that emerges when we think about saying what it is we want to say, but what happens when we shove things down and we pretend we’re not thinking it or feeling it, because then we lash out in these random moments. Whether it’s on our social media or in a conversation with a loved one over a holiday meal, rather than just when we had a thought or had an idea and wanted to communicate it, we did it, not because we were trying to bulldoze someone and make them agree with us, but because we actually didn’t have attachment to what they did with that idea. What we were focusing in on was being in our integrity and speaking what we need to say, and then putting a period on it at the end and moving on.
Halelly: Let me ask you one other follow-up question and then we’ll wrap up. I like it, and your tip was to think about what is your idea, what is this thing that you need to start speaking? What would be a baby step to concretize, once you think of it, once you think you have a feeling that you think you know what it is, what would be a baby step to start saying it if it feels really scary and foreign to you?
Alexia: Tell three people who have your back, and that might be people at work, it might be people in your family, could be friends, could be colleagues, but three people you know have your back, tell them. Tell them what it is that you know you haven’t been saying, and then ask them how can you hold space for me as a start to play with where I might be able to say more and more of this? Just ask them, can they be there and have your back? Because sometimes when we speak our truth, people aren’t ready for it. I’ve learned that one over and over again. There are times when it gets messy and uncomfortable, and sometimes you lose people. However, what you usually gain is tenfold. Because the people who have perhaps not taken notice or who have found you – nothing against the flavor vanilla – but found you somewhat vanilla, suddenly it’s like there are all these rich spices. So sometimes your work might not be right for one audience, but all the people who were lukewarm, now it’s like, “Oh, phew! I was ready for somebody who did this, who said this, who felt this, and now I’ve got my messenger or I’ve got my friend or I’ve got that leader that I never saw as a true leader from my organization before.” All of those beautiful things can happen.
Halelly: Perfect. That’s perfect. That’s totally actionable, and it’s very hopeful, I think, optimistic and inspiring. Thank you, Alexia, I appreciate you sharing that, and all of your knowledge with our listeners on the TalentGrow Show. How can people learn more about you and stay in touch with you, because I know they’re going to want to know more from you?
Alexia: Thank you for that. For those who want to dive into this a little bit more in a workshop format, where you actually start to concretize that idea that you want to be known for, start to develop that transformational talk and really figure out the core ingredients of your secret sauce, I would love to see you on that free workshop and I know Halelly will share those details. And then across social media I’m Alexia Vernon, tried to keep it as simple as possible, if you want to continue the conversation.
Halelly: Fabulous. And you should, TalentGrowers. All right, well, Alexia, thank you and I hope that 2018 is your best year yet. Thank you for your time.
Alexia: Thank you.
Halelly: Well, I told you, Alexia has a ton of valuable insights, so you definitely should check out her free, live workshop. It’s online, so you can attend from anywhere in the world, and it’s going to take place on January 11, 2018, from 10 a.m. PST until 11:30 a.m. PST. The workshop is titled “Discover your secret sauce as a speaker” so you can create the presentations you were born to give and get booked over and over again to deliver them. And in this virtual workshop you will demystify the four ingredients of a transformational speaker’s secret sauce and unearth yours, illuminate the idea or ideas that you want to be known for in the world, to develop soul-stirring presentations that move audiences to action, slay self doubt that keeps you playing small as a speaker, coach, entrepreneur and/or agent of change, clarify why you’re speaking, and based on your speaking and business goals illuminate how to find the audiences that need you and your message. Finally, you’re learn how to articulate your secret sauce, so that event organizers, meeting planners and corporate leaders are eager to book you to speak.
I hope that you saw Alexia is totally the real deal. She delivers so much value and really implementable content, so I know that you’ll learn a ton and have a blast during this live, free workshop. I’m in, I hope you are in too. The link is in the show notes at TalentGrow.com/podcast/episode69. Just click on the link and grab your spot for the “Discover your secret sauce as a speaker” workshop. Just a quick disclaimer, I am an affiliate of Alexia’s “The Spotlight” speaker accelerator program, which is one of her paid group coaching programs, so that means this particular workshop is free of course, but if you do choose to move on and work with Alexia in one of her paid coaching programs, then I will receive a commission if you choose to enroll through my link. But it won’t cost you anything extra. And of course I only recommend people and programs that I believe in wholeheartedly, and Alexia is definitely one of those.
I hope you got value out of this first episode of 2018. As I’ve mentioned the last time, we are moving to a weekly format this year, so expect an episode releasing every single Tuesday. And I thank you for listening to the TalentGrow Show. I appreciate you and until the next time, Happy New Year and make today great.
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