Deconstructing My TEDx Talk: Why We’re Uncomfortable with Women in Power – Podcast Ep. 092

Deconstructing My TEDx Talk: Why We’re Uncomfortable with Women in Power - Podcast Ep. 092

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Two years ago, right before the November 2016 U.S. presidential election, I gave a talk at a small, local TEDxWomen chapter.

Until now, I’ve never shared it publicly (beyond the audience that was there).

Why? There are several reasons, which you’ll hear about in this episode.

It was the most challenging speaking experience I’ve ever had. Not because of the format or the short length (8 minutes), but because of the topic I chose to talk about and the pressure I put on myself.

The talk was called “It’s About Time We Really Talk About Women and Power” (the theme of the event was “It’s About Time”).

As a society, why are we so ambivalent and uncomfortable about women in power? My TEDx talk examined our deep-rooted fears about women striving for powerful positions, our myths through the ages about powerful women, and how this came to a head in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In this episode:

  • You’ll hear me give the talk (as I originally wrote it – I was tempted to update it with what’s gone on during the past 2 years, but decided to keep it as is)
  • You’ll learn how I wrote the talk as I deconstruct the structure, pacing, specific elements, and the opening and closing
  • You’ll hear why it was the most challenging talk I’ve given, what I learned, and how you can apply these lessons to your own speaking journey

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you had a challenging speaking experience? What is your biggest fear? How have you overcome it? Email me at carolcox@speakingyourbrand.com.

The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals create their signature talks and gain more visibility to achieve their goals. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power: on stages, in businesses, on boards, in the media, in politics, and in our communities. Check out our coaching programs and workshops at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com.

 

Related Podcast Episodes:

  • Episode 3: How I Created My Podfest Presentation [Training]
  • Episode 24: What It Takes to Do a TEDx Talk with Tammy Lally
  • Episode 40: Why Women Need to Speak Up and Roar with Sophia Eng
  • Episode 56: How to Become a TEDx Speaker with Tamsen Webster
  • Episode 91: Visibility Works: From Local Speaking to TED.com to a Book with Tammy Lally

092-SYB-My_TEDxWomen_Talk.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

092-SYB-My_TEDxWomen_Talk.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
Welcome to Speaking Your Brand, episode 92, Deconstructing My TEDx Talk: Why We’re Uncomfortable With Women in Power.

Carol Cox:
More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies, and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is Speaking Your Brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience.

Carol Cox:
Hey, everyone, welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. This is your host, Carol Cox. Last week on the podcast, I interviewed Tammy Lally, who was my client when she did her TEDx Talk in June of 2017. And then in August of this year, TED, the national parent organization, picked up her talk, put it on the home page and of TED.com, and now has over 1.3 million views, which is incredible. And we talked about that in last week’s episode. So now I can say I’m a speaking coach whose client has a TEDx talk that’s had over a million views. I’ve been helping the speakers for this year’s TEDx Orlando event, and we just had it this past weekend. It was so much fun. The speakers did an amazing job. It was an incredible experience. The entire thing from the venue to even the the musical accompaniment that was there to being backstage and helping the speakers out. And my two clients, Laura Gallaher, who was on the podcast earlier this year, as well as Savannah Boan, did an amazing job. They knocked it out of the park and their talks will be available officially in about a month once they’re on the TED Talks YouTube channel. So I’ll go back and update the show notes for for this and include the links to theirs.

Carol Cox:
One of the organizers from TEDx, who I’ve been working with over the past couple of months and who knew me from last year’s event as well, told me that I’m one of the best speaking coaches that he’s seen and that he’s worked with, and he’s been all around the world working with TEDx speakers and coaches. So that was pretty cool for him to let me know that. So if you want to create your TEDx talk or your keynote or your signature talk, email me at carolcox@speakingyourbrand.com or visit my website, speaking your brand and click on the contact page to schedule a free consultation call. Having the right coach, one who’s experienced and understands the importance of story arc and narrative and story structure, and really understands how to create a talk that’s engaging, but that also keeps your voice and your personality. And I think that’s why I’m such an effective speaking coach, especially from Ted’s point of view, is because I understand the importance of making sure that the talk showcases the speaker’s personality and their expertise, as well as putting it into the story narrative. So again, if you’d like to talk about how we can work together on your talk, whether it’s for TED or for a big conference keynote or for business presentations, email me at Carol Cox: carolcox@speakingyourbrand.com. Now let’s get into this episode.

Carol Cox:
Two years ago, right before the November 2016 US presidential election, I gave a talk at a small local TEDxWomen chapter in Orlando, Florida, where I live. Until now, I’ve never shared it publicly beyond the audience that was there. Why not? Well, there are several reasons which you’ll hear about in this episode. It was the most challenging speaking experience I’ve ever had, not because of the format or the short length that was 8 minutes, but because of the topic I chose to talk about and the pressure I put on myself. The talk was called It’s About Time We Really Talk About Women in Power. The theme of that event was It’s about time. My TEDx talk examined our deep rooted fears about women striving for powerful positions are missed through the ages, about powerful women, and how this all came to a head in the 2016 US presidential election. I asked in my talk and I sought answers as to why, as a society we are so ambivalent and uncomfortable about women in power. This episode you’re listening to is being released one week before the midterm elections in the US. Hopefully you’re registered to vote if you’re an American citizen and then be sure to go and do it.

Carol Cox:
Make a plan right now, as far as knowing exactly what day you’re going to go, if you can vote before election day, save for early voting or mail in, know where you’re going to go, when you’re going to go, and then be sure to put it on your calendar and do it. They say that every election is important and I would definitely say every election is important, but this election is really, really important. Every vote really does count. Plus, this, I believe, is truly a privilege to be able to vote. Here’s how this episode is going to go. First, you’re going to hear me give the TEDx talk. As I originally wrote it, I was tempted to update it with what’s going on during the past two years, but I decided to keep it as is. And then I’m going to deconstruct the talk for you, and I’m going to show why I chose the structure, the pacing, specific elements in it that. Opening and the closing so that you can apply it to your own talks. And then I’m going to share why this was the most challenging speaking engagements I’ve given. What I learned from that and how you can apply these lessons on your own. Speaking Journey Back in episode number 81, which was called Be a Better Speaker: Top takeaways from watching presenters at Podcast Movement.

Carol Cox:
I describe that one of the most impactful speakers at that conference was Terry GROSS of NPR’s Fresh Air, because she was vulnerable and she showed her mistakes. I also mentioned that I needed to do this myself on this podcast. So here it is. Now let’s get on with the show. Her voice is so grating. I wish you want to yell so much. She needs to smile more. She’s too ambitious. She’s a maneater. I want a woman president. But why did it have to be her? Oh, Hillary. Sound familiar? Who here has heard people say things like that? Who says something similar? I know I have. These remarks are pretty annoying, but readily called out by both men and women in politics and the media. But the Maneater comment caught my attention. Let me share with you the full statement from the man who was being interviewed by a reporter about Hillary Clinton. Quote, She’s a maneater for those who are going to get in her way. She’s going to cut their liver out, serve their heart with no regard. I’m dead serious, end quote. At first I chalk this up to typical hyperbole, but then I asked myself as a society, why are we so ambivalent and uncomfortable about women in power? And I mean real power. The presidency. Ceos, boards of major companies and institutions. And it’s not just men who are ambivalent. Women are, too. Even educated professional women like us. At this point in the conversation that was going on in my head, my mind started percolating with all the women’s history and gender theories I studied in undergrad and grad school and the years I spent analyzing politics.

Carol Cox:
And then I saw it. I saw the connections between Hillary and our myths about powerful women through the ages. What is it that we don’t like about women striving for power? Is it jealousy? Competition? Old fashioned beliefs about proper roles? Yes, all of those. But it goes much, much deeper than that. So deep. It’s primal. We’re afraid of death, not the individual death of one person, but the collective death of the human race itself. This fear says that if women assume positions of power, they’ll abandon childbearing and child rearing, realize they don’t mean men and then kill them literally man eaters, and thus the end of humanity. This fear is what is at the root of patriarchy. As women were biologically the creators of life. We embody transformation. Yet when we become powerful, the myth is that we can destroy as equally as we can create. We’re Medusa, who turns men into stone. We’re sirens who lure sailors to shipwreck. We’re witches who mix brews into magical potions, notably for birth control. We’re Lady Macbeth, who abandons compassion and motherhood in exchange for an ambition and the pursuit of power. Strong, powerful women thus become destroyers, anti mothers. Now you might be thinking these are stories from hundreds and thousands of years ago.

Carol Cox:
Surely they’re outdated. So let me give you a few more recent examples. Hillary Clinton herself has been explicitly likened to Lady Macbeth, starting back when she was first lady of Arkansas and continuing in today’s far right press. Hillary has been repeatedly accused of murdering her friend Vince Foster, even though his death was ruled a suicide when she went to take a law school admissions test in the late 1960s. A group of men are also there to take the test, began to taunt her and the other women. One of the men said, If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted and I’ll go to Vietnam and I’ll die. The relentless emphasis at this past summer’s Republican National Convention that Hillary is a killer who should be locked up behind bars without trial and even shot for treason. Now, you may disagree with Hillary’s policies and ideology, and that’s fine, but this is not normal political rhetoric for our democracy. If she were a man, we wouldn’t be hearing calls for his execution. How we talk about and treat women who seek powerful positions matters because hopefully there’ll be more women who run for president and they’ll face this same deep rooted misogyny until we start addressing it head on. This election is not about the lesser of two evils. Our choice. Your choice is between a remarkable woman who has spent her career in public service working to make people’s lives better, versus a man who has spent his career doing nothing but seeking to enrich himself at other’s expense.

Carol Cox:
But it’s actually no surprise that someone like Donald Trump is Hillary’s impotent. As the feminine rise is stronger, the shadow side, the fearful masculine strives to regain control. Jane Goodall has compared Trump’s hyper masculine, aggressive behavior to male chimpanzees in their dominance rituals seeking to secure their top spot in the hierarchy. Very primal. A theory called precarious manhood explains that men tend to see their masculinity as fragile and easily taken away from them if they lose their job or their place in society. Womanhood, though, is seen as stable, biological, innate. This may be why Hillary is popular when she’s a more traditional gender roles as first lady and while serving President Obama as secretary of state. Then her popularity plummets when she runs for office, especially for president. When a strong woman moves to the top of the hierarchy, she’s a threat, a destroyer, an enemy to be dealt with. Our primitive brains are still wired for competitive, scarcity based environments. It’s up to us to rewire ourselves for a new paradigm, one that lifts each other up, that rewards listening and cooperation, compassion and equality. It’s about time for us to elect more women to office. We’re half the population, but we make up less than 25% of Congress and state legislatures and less than 15% of governors. Women in elective office serve not only as symbolic role models, but we’re more likely to advocate for policies like paid family leave, reproductive health, child care and pay equity.

Carol Cox:
It’s about time for more women to be in positions of power and to redefine how we think about power. Because, frankly, our world won’t survive without us stepping up. But we’re going to face resistance. Just remember that we women are more powerful than we realize. We can create this new paradigm one vote, one election, one community at a time. We’re not Medusa’s or Sirens or Lady Macbeth. We’re Hillary Rodham Clinton clearing the path, blazing the trail and taking the slings and arrows for daring to climb to the top and declare that we are ready to lead. We can birth amazing things together. It’s about time. And we promise not to be man eaters. Thank you. All right. So unfortunately, the content of that talk has held up for the past two years because of what happened with the 2016 presidential election. So let me go through now and just highlight some different parts of the talk so you can see how I went about creating it and structuring it. So first of all, you might be wondering, well, how did I come up with the ideas and the talk, this idea of the myths through the ages, whether there’s Medusa and Sirens and Lady Macbeth, and this idea that, you know, as kind of very commonly we’re afraid of death, not the individual death of one person, but the collective death of the human race.

Carol Cox:
And and and about how as women, that if we assume positions of power that will abandon childbearing and child realizing and realize that we don’t need men and then kill them, like where where did this come from? And this is what I remember. So probably about two months ahead of the talk, I knew I was going to be giving this talk and I knew I wanted to talk about women in power. But that was pretty much about all that I had. And I’ve been doing a lot of research anyways that year because of doing the political analysis. So I’ve been reading a lot and I just I remember it was, I think it was a Saturday night, so I was at home and I usually don’t work much on the weekends and definitely not on a Saturday night, but I decided to sit down and started going through it. And I remember like the week before I had written an initial started a draft of the script and it was very kind of academic. Again, I was pulling from this research I had done, and so I was kind of like citing different research studies and it just it didn’t feel like a talk. It felt more like a paper. So then I sat down again on the Saturday night and I was just kind of sitting there looking, looking at my computer, kind of looking at my notes that were on my desk.

Carol Cox:
And it just like it was almost like a download from the universe, like it just flowed out. And I was like, Oh, of course it’s the witches and it’s Medusa and, and sirens. And it’s, you know, these are the things that these kind of caricatures and these myths that we have through the ages, as is really how women have been portrayed, women who are in power. So then I kind of just quickly went online, kind of did some research on Medusa and the sirens and and all of that, and just kind of confirm what I had been thinking in my mind. And that’s and then that’s really where I had come from. And then I had also in my research had read the article where I had quoted towards the beginning about Hillary Clinton being a maneater. Yes, really. I think this article was from The Atlantic magazine, which is a very highly regarded magazine. So it wasn’t like this. This was some kind of fringe newspaper or magazine. This was something that was very reputable and had interviewed this person and this is what that person had said. So that had really stuck out to me. So really like it all kind of fit to really that the content ideas really just flowed out. And then I just remember I started typing and I probably wrote the entire draft there within an hour and then of course then I went back and edit it and fine tuned and, and all of that, but that’s how that came about.

Carol Cox:
Now as far as the structure, so when I started the talk, I kind of have this. What’s going on in your mind? Her voice is so grating. I wish she wouldn’t yell so much. She needs to smile more. She’s too ambitious. So those things are things that we often hear about women and could be women’s speakers, women running for office, women on TV, women experts. So these are things that we often hear. And then I added that one in the middle about she’s a man eater. And then I went to the next one, which is, I want a woman president, but why did it have to be her? And then I said, Oh, Hillary. So I deliberately stuck the man eater one in the middle of that list because I wanted it to kind of be buried in it. I didn’t want to draw attention to it right then, but I still wanted it to be in there because I was going to reference it again when I quoted the man from that article. And then you’ll notice I referenced it again at the very end of the talk where I said, If you promise not to beat man eaters. So I’m book ending the talk because I’m referencing this idea of being a woman in powerful positions, being a man eater. So I’m mentioning that in the beginning, and then I’m closing it back at the end.

Carol Cox:
So it’s really important in a talk, especially a short talk like this, to have those bookends because you want the talk to feel cohesive to the audience, to feel like there is a clear beginning, middle and end, and that you’ve thought about the content. So that’s why I did that. And then I had, you know, sounds familiar who has heard people say things or who has said something similar. So I’m pulling the audience in because I want them. I want them to relate the content of the talk to them right away in the beginning. And I want them to kind of start nodding yes and to themselves or even I could have them raise their hand depending on the kind of the context of the the venue. And then I said, I know I have. So I wanted to include myself in that because the audience who I was speaking in front of, they were all educated, professional women. Most of them, I’m sure, voted for Hillary Clinton. They were on the. The Democratic progressive side. So I wanted to let them know that I wasn’t judging them. And because we are all we all have implicit gender bias when it comes to these things. And because we grow up in this society and culture, it’s almost impossible not to have it. The idea is to be aware that we’re having it because we’re going to have it.

Carol Cox:
So then I went into the man eater comment. So I wanted so I did that quote and then I said, you know, I chalk this up to hyperbole. But then I asked myself as a society, why are we so ambivalent and uncomfortable with women in power? So I have as my thesis statement for the talk and with a TEDx talk because it’s so short, you really want your thesis statement to come pretty close towards the beginning of the talk. So I had had that. And then again I mentioned that it’s not just men who are ambivalent. Women are too even educated, professional women like us. So I wanted to include again myself in that and then I have a little bit of my credibility statement. So I my degrees are in history with a specialization in women’s history and gender studies. So I mentioned that I studied that in undergrad and grad school, and I’ve spent years analysing politics. So I deliberately put those in because to establish my credibility as far as why am I suited to give a talk on this particular topic? And then I saw it. I saw the connections between Hillary and our myths about powerful women through the ages. So I drew the connection right there when I was talking about Hillary Clinton. So now I need to transition into talking about how these myths relate to her. And so we talk about how it goes deeper than just jealousy and competition or proper roles.

Carol Cox:
It’s primal. And then I talk about the women in power literally being man eaters and being this being at the root of patriarchy. And then I go into the kind of the the little bit of the list, kind of faster paced. Remember Medusa? Her turns men into stone where sirens to lure sailors to shipwreck, where witches who mix brews into magic potions. We’re Lady Macbeth. So I’m doing a deliberate style there where Medusa, where sirens were witches were Lady Macbeth. So I have those four in a row in pretty quick succession because I want to increase the pacing of the talk. So this is something that I probably wouldn’t do if I was writing an article, but it is something to do when you’re doing a talk. And then I said, okay, so you might be thinking there’s a stories from a long time ago they’re outdated. So I’m assuming what I think the audience is thinking because I want to overcome their objections, because I’m sure that they’re probably thinking these things. So that’s why I say that out loud. And then I say, Let me give you some examples. So then I go through and give four examples related to Hillary Clinton to kind of to provide the the evidence, so to speak, of that. And I say you may disagree with Hillary’s policies and ideology. That’s fine. Again, I want to to draw the distinction that is this is not about liking her or even wanting her to be president and having her enact the policies that she supports.

Carol Cox:
But it’s really about what is at the root of the importance of our democracy, and that if she were a man, we wouldn’t be hearing calls for his execution. And that how we talk about and treat women who see powerful positions matters because women from both parties are going to end up running for these offices. And then I go in and talk about how it’s no surprise that someone like Donald Trump is Hillary’s important opponent. And then I bring in Jane Goodall. So again, I’m establishing someone else’s expertise, so I’m bringing her in and what she has talked about related to her research with chimpanzees, and then this theory called precarious manhood. So again, I’m bringing outside credibility, outside sources to it. And then, let’s see. I talk about them then. So now I’m getting kind of probably about two thirds of the way into the talk. And so now I need to shift it into, okay, what can we as the audience do now? So we need to give the audience some hope, some some positivity, some call to action. So I say it’s up to us to rewire ourselves for a new paradigm. And then I’m bringing in the theme, which is It’s About Time. That was a theme for this particular TEDx event. So it’s about time for us to elect more women to office.

Carol Cox:
And I cite the statistics that were less than 25% of Congress and state legislatures, less than 15% of governors. It’s important to elect women for off to office, not just because of their being role models, but because of the policies they advocate for. And then I say again, it’s about time for more women to be in positions of power. We define how we think about power because frankly, our world won’t survive without us stepping up. And then I say, But we’re going to face resistance. The word but is a very powerful word to use in speeches. They say some studies have been done. They say that you should have the word, but more often in your speeches and the word. And because with but you are challenging the audience. You’re bringing something new to them. You’re sharing some new information with them. So that’s what the word but represents. So I say, but we’re going to face resistant resistance. Just remember that we as women are more powerful than we realize. Now. So now this is the ending. So, again, I’m now I need to bring back I need to tie it back together with what I was talking about in the beginning. So I say We’re not Medusa’s or Sirens or Lady Macbeth’s where Hillary Rodham Clinton clearing the path, blazing the trail, daring to climb to the top, declare that we are ready to lead. We can birth amazing things together.

Carol Cox:
Remember, because I talked towards the beginning about how women as women, we are the creators of life. So we don’t want to be associated with the death part. That’s like our subconscious primal fears, but we can birth amazing things together. So very deliberate word choice there. And then I say it’s about time again to draw back on the theme. And then I conclude with you promise not to be man eaters. So again, concluding with a smile, concluding with a little bit of humor, and to tie it all back together. And I remember when I gave this talk. In front of the audience. They really laughed when I talked about how towards the beginning that if we women assume positions of power will abandon childbearing and child realizing and realizing we don’t need men and then kill them. So the audience laughed on that part for sure, and so I knew that was going to get a chuckle. So that’s why I, I bookended the end of it with promise not to be man eaters. And then I said, thank you. And just the note, it’s important to say thank you at the end, because a lot of times the audience won’t know that you’re done unless you say the words thank you, unless you have some other type of very clear ending to your talk. So that’s how I went about choosing to structure it and to write it and making very deliberate word choices, very deliberate pacing, very deliberate things that I wanted to include in the talk.

Carol Cox:
And this is exactly what I work with my clients on, especially on their TED talks because they’re short like this 8 to 10 minutes. So word choice is really important. What to include is really important. You have to get rid of a lot of stuff. You have to cut a lot of stuff in your talk that you may think is important, that you may like, that you may wish the audience could hear, but you don’t have time and 8 to 10 minutes. So that’s why you have to have that very clear spine to your talk. And this goes for any talk, but you have the very clear spine to your talk. And what I like to say is everything every point that you make, every sentence needs to hang off that spine. If that sentence or that point is not directly related to that spine, then most likely it needs to go. And so that’s, that’s what we work on when we work together on the TED talks. So that is how I chose to wrote the talk and the specific elements that went into it. Now you’ll know that I mentioned in the intro that I was going to talk about why this was the most challenging talk that I’ve given and what I learned. So here’s what happened, which again, I’ve never talked about publicly. So the room was it was a conference room, but like a good size, kind of not really a conference room, but a good size like meeting room.

Carol Cox:
So there were probably about 50 women in it and it was all women except the video. Guys in the back were men who were videotaping it. So it was all women and more. And a lot of the women were women that I know, women in my local community and my local network. So women who supported me, I support them. And I was really excited to give this talk. I had done the rehearsal with the organizers who again, who are friends of mine. And so they love the content, they love the talk. I had memorized it. I had practiced it at home. I had practiced it while driving in the car like I knew it. Every single thing, word by word. I was so pumped to do it. So I remember getting there for that day and they were streaming some of the TED Women event that was going on in San Francisco. So they were live streaming it. So we watched some videos and then we were going to have some of the live speakers, including me. So they were so they did that. And then we were getting ready for my four. There were, I think, five of us who were going to be speaking live. So we go to get miked up and I’m feeling really clammy.

Carol Cox:
Like, you know, I’ll usually get a little nervous before a talk. You know, my heart will race a little bit, I’ll feel a little butterflies. But this was definitely different. I’ve never felt this way before. Like, my hands were kind of that cold, clammy ness. And I just. I didn’t feel right. Like, I felt really lightheaded. I and I had been drinking water because I wanted to be hydrated. And, you know, it just I don’t know, I just felt really off. So they might miked us up and then we went to go give the talk. So I started giving it and probably maybe not quite halfway through, I got a severe case of dry mouth. I don’t know. I mean, I’ve been again, I have been drinking water all day because I wanted to make sure I stayed hydrated. Maybe I didn’t drink enough, but I think it was just there was something about this particular topic, what I was talking about, I felt extremely vulnerable, like physically vulnerable, talking about it, even though I was in an incredibly supportive room with the women who were there. But just be having to have dealt with this on the news throughout that year leading up to this, I think I was just carrying a lot of emotional stuff in my head related to this topic. And again, the election hadn’t happened yet, so I didn’t even know what was going to what the conclusion was going to be.

Carol Cox:
And I have talked before about this in the podcast and in other episodes, and I tell this to my clients about being nervous when you go up to speak. Is that. Physiologically are when we stand up in front of a group, when we’re standing up by ourselves with no one else around us, we feel physically vulnerable because our brains are wired from tens of thousands of years ago. And if we’re by ourselves, we are at risk. We’re at risk of a predator coming to attack us because we’re now we’re away from the herd. So we are vulnerable. And I think I felt distinctly felt that vulnerability in this moment because of the topic of the talk. So anyways, so maybe about halfway through and get this really bad case of dry mouth again, I’ve never had this happen before and all the hundred times that I’ve spoken. And it was so bad that I tried to keep going, which this was my mistake. I shouldn’t have I. And like, there was no there was no saliva left in my mouth. Like, I couldn’t even enunciate words anymore. And I should have just stopped and gone to get my bottle of water. But I hadn’t brought the water with me up to the where I was speaking. It was back where my chair was. And another lesson learned. I should have always bring something with me. But I thought, you know, 8 minutes, why am I going to need water? Well, I did.

Carol Cox:
So I should have just when I realized what was going on, I should have just paused and gone and got in the water. But again, I’m thinking I only have 8 minutes. You know, it’s not like I have 45 minutes at a conference and I can just kind of wander around. It was timed, so I kind of felt this pressure. And so finally I got to the point where I just couldn’t speak anymore. So I had to actually go get the water, drink some, and then continue. And then it was fine. It was not great after that, but at least I could finish speaking. And then, then it was fine. So this is really hard for me to share with you all because, you know, I’m the speaking coach, right? Like, unless I know I’m not supposed to be perfect, but I’m supposed to be able to do these kinds of things. And I, I’m embarrassed. I everyone was very gracious about it. Who was there? Like they loved the content of the talk. I was really passionate and excited about the delivery of it, so that was great. But I, I wish I had done better. I wish that that hadn’t happened. And the lessons that I take from it is, number one, to have the water and to stop when you need to stop. And number two is that if you have a topic that’s particularly vulnerable to you, then it may be better to wait and to not share it at that time.

Carol Cox:
So I’m sure if I went and did the talk now two years after the election and after I was really in the midst of it, it probably I could do it now in a way that I couldn’t have done it two years ago. So if you have a topic that that is that vulnerable, then you may just need to wait and hold on it and then to do it. So that’s those are the lessons. And like I mentioned in the introduction, when I heard Terry GROSS of NPR’s Fresh Air at the Podcast Movement Conference, and I talked about how she showed her mistakes, and she did an interview with Louis C.K. before all the stuff came out about him. And then she she played the clip of her interview with him and how she’s giggling about some of the things that that he’s seeing now, listening to it. It’s gross to hear him say those things. But at the time, no one really thought much of it, and she didn’t either. And so she showed her mistakes and she showed, you know, and said, I should have done this different. And this is the lesson that I learned. So that’s what I’m trying to do here. You know, as as the the the one of the people from Ted said, as I mentioned in the intro, he considers me one of the best speaking coaches that he’s ever seen yet.

Carol Cox:
You know, I’m I’m not perfect. And so I hopefully that means that I can relate to those of you out there. And I don’t expect you to be perfect by any means. We’re we’re all going to have moments that are better than others. And it’s okay to to have these speaking challenges because you do learn from it. And then it shows other people that you don’t have to be perfect, that it’s okay. So I love to hear your thoughts. Have you had a challenging speaking experience and what is your biggest fear when it comes to putting yourself out there for just for speaking, for being visible and how have you overcome it? You can email me at Carol speaking your brand or if you want to. I also invite you to share in the free speaking your brand community. You can get access at speaking your brand join or you can text the word speaking to 444999. Again, you can go to speaking your brand, join or text the word speaking to 444999 to get access to the free speaking your brand community, which is a private Facebook group. I would just also love to know if you enjoyed this episode. This is helpful for you for me to deconstruct some of the talks that I’ve given. So again, you can email me at Carol’s speaking your brand and I would love to hear until next time. Thanks for listening.

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2 Comments

  1. Deb Gonzales on October 30, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I admire your candor, Carol. And, yes, I have had a similar, horrible experience while public speaking.

    I’m proud of your transparency, humility, and thoughtfulness.

    Way to go!

    • Carol Cox on October 30, 2018 at 10:02 am

      Thank you so much, Debbie. It wasn’t easy for me to share, but I hope it helps others to know that it does happen and life goes on! 🙂

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