Escaping the Expert Trap: From Academic Presenter to Sought-After Speaker with Teri DeLucca, PhD: Podcast Ep. 338

Escaping the Expert Trap: From Academic Presenter to Sought-After Speaker with Teri DeLucca, PhD

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What does the journey look like to evolve from an expert presenter to a sought-after speaker and thought leader?

How can you escape what I call “the expert trap” and make the shift into thought leadership?

My guest and Thought Leader Academy graduate, Teri DeLucca, PhD, has done exactly this. I know you’ll be inspired by Teri!

In this episode, Teri and I talk about:

  • Why she started her business a few years ago
  • Her initial reluctance to share personal stories and be vulnerable – and what changed her mind
  • Her desire to escape “the expert trap” and go beyond her comfort zone of academic presentations
  • The impact storytelling and vulnerability has had on her, her business, her customers, and her audiences
  • Why she joined the Thought Leader Academy and what she got out of it
  • The elements we’ve worked on together to create her signature talk, from incorporating humor and video clips to coming up with an acronym and planting sales seeds for her offer

 

 

About My Guest: Dr. Teri DeLucca is the Founder and CEO of Impact Early Education, a professional development institute for the preschool industry. She completed a dual PhD in developmental psychology and educational psychology from the University of Florida where her research focused on the cognitive, social, and academic development of children. She previously worked as a research scientist for a children’s early literacy intervention program and then accepted an applied position as Vice President of Operations for a system of preschools and extended day programs. Her work has been recognized by multiple awards including the Sigma Xi Women in Science Award, Academic Pediatric Association’s Young Investigator Award, the Institute of Education Sciences Randomized Trials Award, and most recently she was recognized as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Business Leaders locally. Dr. DeLucca is a member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team and is a John Maxwell certified speaker. She is also a graduate and certified speaker through the Speaking Your Brand Thought Leader Academy. Dr. DeLucca just completed her Presidency with The Junior Service League of St. Augustine, which is a local women’s volunteer organization. She enjoys serving the community both locally and abroad and her favorite volunteer endeavors are serving at a children’s home in Guatemala for several years and serving with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She has been matched with her “Little” sister Hannah for 18 years now! Above all else, the most important role she has is that of mom to two wonderfully amazing boys, who never let her take life too seriously.

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/338/ 

Teri’s website: https://impactearlyed.com/

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/quiz/

Enroll in our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/ 

Connect on LinkedIn:

Related Podcast Episodes:

338-SYB-Dr-Teri-DeLucca.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

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

Carol Cox:
You're going to love my conversation with Teri DeLucca on how she escaped the expert trap from an academic presenter of Just the Facts to a sought after speaker and thought leader on this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast.

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 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:
Hi there and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I'm your host, Carol Cox. Today we have a very special guest. My guest is Teri DeLucca, who graduated from our Thought Leader Academy last year, and she's on today to talk about how she has evolved from being an academic expert presenter to a sought after speaker and thought leader. And I know that so many of the women that we work with, they are high achieving. They're they have degrees. Teri herself has two PhDs and so they like you. Perhaps you tend to like to present a lot of facts and a lot of really useful information in your presentations. Yet there comes a time when what I call the expert trap can actually prevent you from getting those bigger speaking engagements and into stepping into thought leadership, because we hold on so tight to what we're comfortable with and and sticking just to the facts that leaves it so that we don't have room to engage the audience in a bigger picture of what's possible for them. And then by extension, was possible for us as entrepreneurs and speakers. That's why I'm excited to have Teri on the podcast today to talk about how her journey has evolved over the past couple years, what she's doing next and how you can get inspiration from that.

Carol Cox:
Welcome to the podcast, Teri.

Teri DeLucca:
Thank you, Carol. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to talk about this topic because it really stepping out of that expert trap led me to starting my own business.

Carol Cox:
Okay, that's perfect. Let's go there then. So tell us, Teri, your your business is Impact Early Ed, so tell us what exactly it is that you do in your business, who you serve and why you decided to start it in the first place?

Teri DeLucca:
Sure. So Impact Early Education is a professional development institute where nationwide and we serve the early education industry. So preschool teachers, also those that own preschools and the ones that are running the leaders. So directors, administrators and we have live in-person speaking events. We do workshops where we're offering hands on training. We get them moving and having a lot of fun. And we also have keynotes where we'll travel to different conferences, but we have online courses as well. And so the goal is for our online courses to be very different than what's out there. So rather than having a PowerPoint on the slide with a head talking and you're kind of dozing off midway through, we try our very best to make it almost like a little movie series. And so we have lots of B-roll where we have filmed people doing what we say they should be doing and we make it very engaging. And the last 20 to 30 minutes of our trainings always involve a very similar to a podcast segment where we're diving in and talking about what is really thought leadership. It's here's what we talked about in the training. Now how do we how do we take this on a big global level and how can we apply this in our lives and make it useful and valuable so that you can do something different the next day and we can think about how we're thinking differently this day.

Carol Cox:
Your videos are very well done. I've seen snippets of them.

Carol Cox:
So then why did you decided to start this business, Teri, Tell us a little bit about your background.

Teri DeLucca:
Sure. So as you mentioned, I got my my graduate work was all in the academia side, so I have a dual PhD in developmental psychology and educational psychology, and all my work was focused on research. So that's where a lot of my original speaking experiences were presenting my data. I was principal investigator on a lot of studies. I held a research scientist position for a children's literacy program. So I would travel and speak at conferences. And it was exactly what you say with the Expert Trap. It was very comfortable. You could walk on stage. I have my you know, exactly how the presentation is going to go. You have a really capturing introduction. You present the facts. Here's the applied aspect of the research. Everyone go off and have a great day. That's that's really the sum of an academic presentation. And I was very comfortable with that. And so as I changed my career and I moved from the research scientist position into an applied position, I was running a system of privately owned preschools and I needed to train my staff. I was bringing in spending money, bringing in trainers, sending them off to get trainings, and I wasn't seeing any change in the classrooms. The teachers weren't really doing anything differently. So then I thought, okay, I'm just going to do it myself. I'm going to write some trainings. And and I started off with that same mentality of, okay, here's the facts. Here's what we know about how. Kids learn or children's behavior, whatever the topic at the time was. And, you know, it wasn't engaging. It wasn't something where they were grabbing hold.

Teri DeLucca:
It was just truthfully, it was just walking and giving little nuggets of knowledge. And then they leave and that's great. So they know a little bit more about child development or if it was a leadership talk, they know a little more about leadership, but it's not really getting to that deeper level of how does this affect you personally? And so it really took me stepping out of my comfort zone. And that's the whole idea. What I've learned from that Leader Academy really is just getting vulnerable in front of my audience. And so once I made that change and I changed how I was training my employees at the time, the feedback was incredible. They loved it. They said it was, you know, the best that they've had and they wanted more. Honestly, I just remember sitting there writing some stuff for them and thinking, you know, this is what we need in the industry. And someone at the time, this was probably 5 or 6 years ago, I just remember thinking, someone should create something like this. You know, I really wish they would need this. I need these resources. And it took me a few years to get brave and, you know, just to get the guts to take that leap of faith and make the big, huge life transition of stepping into entrepreneurship. And so that's what what led to that huge as a thought shift and a embracing vulnerability in every possible way in my own life that led me to to start the business and to now have this style of trainings that we're offering our clients.

Carol Cox:
And really, Teri, what you just described is the epitome of entrepreneurship and thought leadership, noticing what's missing in this case in your industry and thinking, well, this would serve so many of the teachers and the owners and administrators. And then by extension, of course, the children who they are serving by having this type of, you know, in-depth, engaging training. So congratulations to you, too, doing that, because it is, you know, entrepreneurship is risky, just like stepping into thought leadership and getting out of that comfort zone of, say, academia or research can also feel risky.

Teri DeLucca:
So that's what we're hearing actually from our clients. They're saying, you know, it's that that whole taking the step, stepping into the vulnerability where they take the trainings and it's things that we've not we don't have on our website that we've not said in any marketing. And it's just that it's that, you know, hey, we've been in your shoes, we know what it's like. Here's some really targeted applied methodologies and strategies you can do that will make a difference tomorrow. And so I think something that I've talked with you about is embracing that thought leadership. It took me out of that protective little, I don't know, the protective zone of being an expert leader walking in. You have to just embrace sharing your personal stories. And so I think that's how we've been able to get to the heart of our clients. We've had, you know, just just sharing these are some thoughts and feelings, some insecurities, some anxieties, things that we've struggled with in your shoes. When I was sitting at the desk leading a school or as you know, as a teacher in a classroom. I had imposter syndrome. I wanted to quit my job because it felt too overwhelming. I didn't know how to handle the chaos in the classroom. I worried what other people were thinking. Do they think I'm a good leader? Should I be in this seat? So sharing all of that, that stuff, that's nice. It's nice to keep that tucked down deep and not let that out into the world. Right? So it takes it takes that extra dose of courage and getting over that fear of failure, at least for me, that's what it took. And so it's definitely a very different approach to talking to an audience. But when you're able to humble yourself and just open up and share the things that you struggled the most with, at least for me, the things that were the deepest struggles, my deepest fears, getting that out there, it just it's almost like the elephant in the room is removed.

Teri DeLucca:
Your audience can relate to you and they think, Wow, she gets it like she understands. And then they at that point is when the beauty happens, that's when they'll open their mind. So a lot of what what we're doing and don't just my leadership stuff isn't just for preschools, it's for any company. And so it's really just getting to that point where they're not going to hold so tightly on to those preconceived notions or the things they walked into the room thinking that you can get to that level where you're not don't want to be the expert. Like I struggle with the same things you struggle with. I just happen to have been asked to stand up here in front of you and you're sitting in the audience. That's the difference in us. And so that's the level I want to be at with them. And then we can talk about here's the hard things, here's the hardest parts of leadership, here's the hardest parts of running a business and or balancing it all. And when you're able to then share, then, you know, now that you're at the same spot, they'll open a little more, open their minds. And it's really just changed thinking that's that's the goal of all of it is thinking change, changing how you think about yourself, how you think about how you relate to others, and then what is your own personal story. That you can then share with those you interact with on a day to day basis to make change.

Carol Cox:
So well said, Teri. And it sounds like by you being willing to share some of your personal story, some of your challenges and failures or whatever you want to call them and your career and, you know, and in and working in preschools and daycare centers and some of the things, you know, that happen. It's never perfect for anyone. And the audience knows that. They know that your life could not have been perfect or, you know, working in the schools. You know, it sounds like by you doing that, then it's almost like you give them permission to do it for themselves as well, and then do it for their team and for the schools and the daycare centers that they work at.

Teri DeLucca:
Absolutely. Yes. And that's and that's all it takes is just voicing it. Voicing it is a lot of times people hold all of that in. In fact, something we do in some of our live workshops is we send out a survey before we ever even arrive. So a few weeks before and we ask lots of questions. But one of the goals of that is that we pop on the screen and it's very personal questions like, Do you struggle with X, Y, Z? Have you thought about leaving your job? Do you feel like you don't know how to, you know, whatever the topic is and it's so powerful for team building and just for confidence building, whenever you see on the screen, typically for the majority that we do, it's usually 80 at least 80 to 85% of others in the room are feeling the same way, but everyone thinks they're alone in their thoughts. And so being able to get on the stage and just open it up for everyone and say, Look, it's not just you. Everyone is a little insecure. Everyone has off days. Guess what? Everyone gets on everyone else's nerves sometimes too. But putting out there the hard things that are harder, you know, harder to talk about, it does. Just like you said, it opens up the room for conversation and for some changed ideas.

Carol Cox:
Even though we know intellectually that doing this, sharing our personal story, sharing their our struggles, will open up the audience and help them to relate to us and for us to know that we understand where they're at, where they're coming from, it can still be really hard, like you mentioned, towards the top, because we do have a lot of fears or doubts about is this wise, is this wise to share a story like this? How is the audience going to perceive me? Are they going to think less of me and my damaging my credibility by doing this? I mean, these are things that can be concerns that people have. So how have you thought about those, Teri?

Teri DeLucca:
Absolutely. And that's something that I'll be honest, that's something that I still struggle with because there's, you know, the different talks that I give. There's certain stories, some that are personal in terms of personal things to me and others that are more career related. And I struggle with that. Like, how will this what if the whole world knows that? What will they think? And so for me, I just take it on a case by case basis. And then also I have to embrace and I think this goes for everything we do in life, is that we're not for everybody. Like, I can't please everybody. All I can do is speak my truth. And if if the hard things that I've been through, the things that have kept me up at night crying or, you know, worrying if I can share that, I struggled with that and overcame it. And here's how. If that can help a few people out there, then it's worth it and want to have all the world as clients, of course. But you know, if sharing some real raw aspect of myself and of my personal journey doesn't sit well with someone, then it might be that we're just not a good match because the things that that I share is how everyone on my team is just how we approach problems and problem solving. And we value that truth and that authenticity and honesty. And so that's what I like to keep in mind. And I hope that that's that that's going to be serving me well and will continue to, but it's just being very carefully selective. Yeah.

Carol Cox:
Yes, for sure. Like know know which personal stories you and this goes for the listeners to know which personal stories you're going to share that are in service of your audience. So it's you're not getting up on the stage to share a personal stories because we just feel like sharing things for the heck of it, or because the audience is going to help us process it or, you know, we don't want the TMI stories for sure, but there are stories that are in service to your audience, and that's where obviously your decision making or your good judgment comes in. Here's how I see it and I've talked about this on the podcast before, is that as a speaker, you're a leader in front of that room, on that stage, to that audience, helping them understand themselves better and understanding what's possible for them. And if I have if I'm listening to a speaker and I feel like she has not had or she does not share any struggles or obstacles or challenges that she has related to the topic that she's talking about, then I think, well, but if I'm sitting here in the audience, I probably have struggled with this topic because I'm not the expert or I'm not the person who's been doing this for 15, 20 years. And she shares and I'm thinking, well, then how can she help me? Because she can't understand what I'm going through. Like for you, Teru, if you're sitting talking to a bunch of administrators. Or teachers and they think you've never had a chaotic classroom or never had a classroom where things for the kids were bouncing off the walls and like running around and all that, They think, Well, then how can Teri and her academy and her video courses help me if she doesn't even understand what it's like to have things not go well?

Teri DeLucca:
Right. Well, and actually, it's so not sharing the stories exactly what you're describing. It really almost debunks your the whole goal of what you're going through because and and truthfully, this goes back to why I started my business impact early education because so many of of the the talks and the trainings and the information that was out there, it was great information. If you lived in a perfect world, if you had only five kids in your classroom and they were typically developing and they were the best well-behaved and your co-teacher came in every single day and no one called out it would work great, but it's not applicable. It's not the real world. And so we always write our trainings and have our conversations. At the end of the trainings, the little podcast piece I mentioned saying, okay, now let's dive deep and put this in the real world. How do we put these things into practice when it's all falling apart? And so everyone calls out. And so I can take that and extrapolate to any speaker in any topic because I have I have been that person in the audience where I listened to I was a female entrepreneur and I was so impressed with how the business had grown mean to millions and and was in the very infancy stage of my business and just thinking, Oh, I want to be like that. But then it was just so perfect. Everything was perfect.

Teri DeLucca:
And truthfully, it's like, okay, she had like the ideal, perfect situation. That's not mine. Can I really do this? I was still struggling with all the doubts, like, am I crazy? And thinking this business could succeed? I'm. I'll share. I'm a single mom and I have a lot of different struggles that I don't feel like this person had. And so how will I? So when you're not open and you're a little more closed and you want to give that perfect persona, it's not relatable. And it just simply works against you. And I'll follow that up to say that I did go talk to the speaker afterwards just because I wanted to stay in touch and asked, you know, can I ask you some questions? Could we stay in touch and shared, you know, I'm so inspired. This is where I'm at. Turns out she also was a single mom and she had this whole amazing story and it touched me. And she was like, Hey, next time you might want to share that in case there's other people like me in the audience, because I feel so inspired and encouraged right now, but everyone else just left and didn't get to hear that part. So I hope that was well received. But it's just it goes to show it's relatable and it's inspiring and encouraging to to hear that other people overcame some really difficult odds. And you can, too.

Carol Cox:
Oh, I love that example, Teri, and thank you for sharing that with her afterwards because hopefully she has incorporated that into her other speaking engagements.

Teri DeLucca:
Hopefully.

Carol Cox:
I mean, for me as a speaking coach, you know, when I sit in on presentations, whether they're in person or virtual, of course, like in my mind, I'm, you know, doing the meta analysis of, you know, how are they structuring their talk, What are their slides look like? What is their delivery like? And I cannot go up to them afterwards and say, Hey, here's my business card. If you want any help, I'm here to help you because that's really I would never do that to someone. But and you know, there's some speakers I've seen who are great clearly like they, you know, they are polished and very experienced. But, you know, so and they're very simple things that make your talks better. And, you know, I talk about this on the podcast all the time. Our framework that you can use, adding layers like multimedia and obviously a lot of audience engagement it. So Teri, let's go into what you're working on right now. So you went through our Thought Leader Academy last year, 2022, all the years kind of blur together. We met in April of 2022. I spoke at an event called She is Fierce in Saint Augustine, Florida, which is near where you live. And I live in Orlando, so it's just a couple hour drive. So I spoke at that event about the power of women's voices, and I met you there. I remember you ran up to me when I was done and you're like, Oh, my God, Carol, I need your help.

Teri DeLucca:
So what's the lesson here?

Teri DeLucca:
If I'm ever in your audience, I may run up to you. There you go.

Teri DeLucca:
That is.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, Teri is. Teri is the type of person who is in the line to talk to the speaker after after they're done.

Teri DeLucca:
Talking. There we.

Carol Cox:
Go. So then. So then you joined our Thought Leader Academy that we the next enrollment cycle that we had for that. So you went through that and you worked on a talk at the time that you gave last, I think early last fall for an event that you had on the calendar?

Teri DeLucca:
Yeah, actually.

Teri DeLucca:
Last it was around this time last summer. Okay.

Carol Cox:
So last summer. So you did that and that went off really great because I think they ended up hiring you for more things.

Teri DeLucca:
Yes. And it's led to oh, it's just led to a beautiful partnership. It's led to so many different things. And that talk that I developed with you is become one of my key talks. And I was able to take the framework. Work that you taught me and go in and sprinkle it into all of my other work as well. And so just that talk and just learning to free myself, to be able to share the personal stories, to throw in that vulnerability. It's made all the difference in my business, not just not just the speaking aspects, but in, you know, the online courses that we do as well too. So yes, the Thought Leadership Academy also introduced me to some wonderful women because we're on this zoom together. And so several of us have stayed in touch. And I love seeing what everyone's doing because it exposes you to people who are in such different industries. So I was I believe in our group. I was the only one or maybe another slightly similar, but from education, everyone else is in such very different backgrounds. So it was so extremely helpful to have their input when would say, you know, I'm working on this, what do you think? And we would throw out our ideas for all of our different projects and to get that type of feedback from other high achieving, strong women, it was invaluable.

Teri DeLucca:
Oh, I'm so.

Carol Cox:
Glad to hear that. I love the community dynamic of the Thought Leader Academy, which is why even though we do one on one work, like, you know, you had a one on one day last year, you just did another one with me, which we'll talk about in just a moment for a big engagement you have coming up. So, you know, obviously one on one work is extremely effective because, you know, we can just get your whole talk done in that virtual day from beginning to end. But the group calls I feel are so important, which is why we don't do only one on one work as speaking your brand. We really like the Thought Leader Academy because of getting of having you expand your network of other women and learning from them, like you said, because they're in different industries. So you're not getting that groupthink or that, you know, in our industry we always do X type of thing, and instead you're getting perspectives from from people who maybe are doing very different things that you can incorporate, Right?

Teri DeLucca:
Well, and honestly, it helped when I say it helped expand and grow my business, it really did, because the core, you know, up until I did thought Leadership Academy, I was only focused on the education industry. And it it was you, Diane. It was some of the other women that just said, you know, this your work is really applicable to all businesses. Like I just need to pop out some of my education examples and throw in some other examples. And you know, it's, it's helpful. So now I've worked with a few other companies that are not education based, and it's been really just eye opening, you know, that we can take these ideas, these principles, these leadership strategies and apply them outside of education as well, too. So I'm very much appreciative for that.

Carol Cox:
Oh, that's fantastic, Teri. That is so exciting. All right. So let's talk about the speaking engagement you have coming up soon. So you reached out to me a little bit ago. You're like, Carol, I need you. I'm a really big speaking engagement. Can we do another VIP day together? And we did that in May. And your speaking engagement is coming up at the end of July. So tell us a little bit about that speaking engagement, your goal for it and why you wanted to do another VIP day. Right.

Teri DeLucca:
So the conference itself is on it's child care business growth live. And so it's going to be international. So people are coming in from all over. So it's owners of preschools primarily. There'll be some directors there as well. So those who own schools and are looking to grow their business and those who are running the school, sitting in that director position, it's not so much for teachers. And so I'm one of the speakers and I'm going to be talking about this. It's almost a crisis that we have in our industry right now where and across our nation, really, we have the great resignation happening. And that's really affecting all of the early learning centers, all the preschools, because there's teacher shortage and the teachers who are in the positions are overworked, they're stressed out, overwhelmed, you know. And so it's a struggle for those who are running the preschools to keep staff, to keep the classes full. So I'm developing a talk that will hopefully will not hopefully it will encourage and inspire the audience. And so we're just going to talk about how to how to break that cycle and how to go from a school that's struggling to one that's profitable and different strategies to put in place to ensure that the teachers want to work at their school and will stay at their school and not leave. And so it's been really helpful. I just told you, you know, very recently, just like this is fun. This is such a fun it's a fun different talk than others that I've given. And it's a very heavy, serious topic. But the strategies that you have taught me and helped me put in place just make it fun and engaging and there'll be laughs. And I'm just so grateful. So that's why reached out because I want to break out of that, you know, that expert trap, as you say. So it's really, truly a great framework to use.

Carol Cox:
Teri, let's dive into some of these strategies that you mentioned. I think this will be helpful to the listeners. So for your talk, I know that the goal for you is brand awareness and some lead generation since. The people in the audience could potentially enroll in the online International Leadership Academy that you have. So we wanted to make sure that we planted some sales seeds in the presentation. Obviously, you're not doing a hardcore sales pitch in the presentation, but instead planting seeds that this academy exists and that, you know, this is why and this is who it's good for. Just along the way, because you want to pique that curiosity in them so that they go and either go to your website or chat with you afterwards to find out more. Since we knew that that was the kind of the call to action, the offer that you wanted to make sure that you mentioned towards the end of the talk. And then we thought about what is the content to present to the audience that's going to get them interested in that offer to recognize that your academy can help them to get to where they want to go, which is this idea from struggling so struggling to fill the classroom, struggling to staff the classrooms to having, you know, full capacity, full classrooms and being a profitable school. So tell us a little bit about kind of some of the key elements in your talk. I know we have an acronym. We got some video clips. We have some humor.

Teri DeLucca:
Sure. Well, we've made sure to hit all the key points, but it's really helpful because, you know, I talked with you, I shared here's this crisis, here's where it's at. And I was appreciative that you were able to take that and put it into you know, you said, Teri, it looks like there's really these stages. So I was able to create my own personal model that I'm you know, I can go in now and speak with authority on and here's what's actually happening. Here's the stages of what the schools are going through. And then we developed a great acronym that has very, I would say, effective strategies that they can use for each step to walk them through. So now we know we've identified here's the problem that you're facing, and then here's some some real world strategies that will work. And it ties in some personal growth as well. And so it's things that they need to be doing with their leadership, but it's also ways that they can build their own confidence and grow their leadership skills as well as putting better processes in place for their business and for their team. And so to get the audience there, but of course involves sharing some of my stories that I've struggled with because I've truly been in their shoes. You know, I took schools that needed to increase enrollment.

Teri DeLucca:
The schools had some high turnover. And so being able to it's like turning the Titanic. So what were some strategies that I use? And in our industry, in education, there is always plenty of humorous material to pull from because the days are just when you're working with little kids, there's always some funny things that come up. And so it was really important to me that, again, don't walk up and seem like I'm this high, lofty person that, you know, have all the answers. No, I've struggled too, and I've been in your shoes and it's stressful and it's hard, but here's how you can get through it. So we've got some real world stories from what I've been through and then some strategies that we know work. We have some fun video clips. We found one hilarious clip that really shows exactly what it's like in a preschool. And then there is that call to action, because I can honestly say from the deepest depths of my knowing, we have what these schools need and my business does have what these schools need. And so we're appropriate. It's not some hard sell from the stage, but where it does fit in, they do need to have the directors and owners of the schools need their staff to know exactly what to do in these specific situations, and we have those answers for them.

Teri DeLucca:
So it almost would be cruel not to share that information with them. And so that's personal growth for me because I used to really struggle. It's like I don't want to seem like a car salesman. I don't want to push my stuff on anyone. So that's, you know, I've come over the course of these three years of from when I started my business. You know, I feel sad for people who don't have access to it because it works and I've seen it. We have thousands of clients now who truly some have called us in tears and said, Thank you. This is what we needed. This is the change we needed. Where have you been? You know, I'm so glad we found you. And so that fuels me and gives me the confidence to know we have a solid product. So being able to to to put that in where needed. But like you said, the goal is lead generation. And so giving them some effective ways to think some new things that they can do and try, but then also some ways that they can continue to work with us long after the conference is over.

Carol Cox:
And Teri, you know, when you mentioned about not letting them know about your program, the Academy almost seems cruel. And I completely agree with you. I see it as a public service that we're doing to our audience when we let them know how they can work with us to go deeper, to get that extra support that they need, because they may listen to our entire talk, our entire presentation. And obviously they're still going to be left with the challenges and the needs that they have. Like we're not solving those challenges in 30 minutes or 60 minutes in a presentation. And so not letting them know that we can help them go further if they should so desire kind of. Just leaving them hanging.

Teri DeLucca:
Exactly. I completely agree. And that's such a hurdle for, I think, many entrepreneurs to get over. And I would venture to guess it's a bigger struggle for females than males. And so when you can embrace that ideology and just, you know, truly see it as it's a it's a service, it's a gift. And it's not like you're pushing something on someone that is a giant mental leap that you'll be making.

Carol Cox:
Teri, sitting here today, imagine that we had not worked together in the day to create the talk that you have coming up at the end of July. How would you be feeling and what would you be doing?

Teri DeLucca:
Oh, gosh, I would be probably a nervous, anxious mess. I would more than likely, I would just be sitting, spending hours looking at different things. There's so much out there whenever, especially when I look at all the different pieces of knowledge, the different courses that we've already created with my business. And so being able to to narrow in on what is the key thing, you know, I only have a certain amount of time what in that limited time, if I can share these nuggets, that will make a huge difference in their business that they can carry forward for years and years. What what would that be? It is it's hard to narrow in and target in. So I think I'd honestly be an anxious ball of stress. So so I'm grateful because you're able on the VIP day you know we spend a lot of time initially the first hour or so, it's just really talking through and helping you helped me just think I just rambled. You asked questions and talked and talked and we helped narrow, narrow, narrow in. And so we got at the heart of it. And now when I see it all put together, it's gold.

Teri DeLucca:
It's great. So I'm just so grateful and that knowing that you have a good quality talk and you're not second guessing yourself because I've been in that seat. I've been, you know, the night before I'm supposed to go on stage and I'm reviewing everything, thinking, Oh, did the mark on this one? Should I rewrite my whole talk, which I have done a couple of years ago? I did that too, right before conference. And so I know what that feels like to question and doubt yourself and to be, you know, not walking on stage with bags under your eyes because you haven't slept a wink and then you're shaky because then you probably haven't eaten. So to be able to set myself up for success in this manner, it not only gives me a great presentation to deliver and those nuggets to give, but it also gives me that extra dose of internal confidence to walk out there and know that I'm ready. I'm ready now. You know, I could go and they still have a month to go.

Carol Cox:
So that that is great.

Teri DeLucca:
Great. It's a great feeling. It is.

Carol Cox:
Yeah. Thank you for sharing that part too, about really just feeling like feeling prepared. And that's where so much of that confidence will come from too. So you don't second guess yourself right beforehand. That is important.

Teri DeLucca:
And that just made me this. It kind of piggybacks on what we said earlier when I mentioned confidence. It just makes me think of the whole thought leadership style of talking in general. That's a it's another benefit of getting outside of the expert trap is not just for us as speakers, but for your audience. You're able to prevent things. You're born with confidence and you're not. Confidence is practiced and learned. And so when we're able to share points that actually matter, that give them strategies they can take and run with and do things differently and think differently, we're building their confidence as well. It's a little gift.

Teri DeLucca:
Yes.

Carol Cox:
I always like to say that I believe the work we do here is speaking your brand is to help you create a transformative talk. But I always say a transformative talk for the audience. But it's as much a transformative experience for you as the speaker, the woman who's who we're working with.

Teri DeLucca:
Absolutely.

Teri DeLucca:
I completely agree with that.

Carol Cox:
All right, Teri, where can listeners best connect with you?

Teri DeLucca:
Well, you can go to any of our social media pages. So it's impact early education. We're on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and send a direct message email. I prefer email personally. So it's Teri at Impact early edcom, but would love to hear from people. I would love to connect and if anyone has any need for leadership trainings, I would love to to talk about that as well.

Carol Cox:
All right, great. So listeners send Teri an email to wish her good luck on her upcoming speaking engagement, because when this episode airs, her speaking engagement will be just in a few weeks from then at the end of July. So send her an email wishing her good luck. And also, if you want to hear more about The Expert Trap, did an entire podcast episode about that. It's episode 241. The link is in the show notes. You can also just scroll back in your podcast app to find episode 241. And if you would like to join our Thought Leader Academy so that you can work on your transformative signature talk and your thought leadership platform, you can get all of the details of speaking your brand.com/academy. Again, that's speaking your brand.com/academy. Teri, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Teri DeLucca:
Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it. Hope to hear from everyone.

Carol Cox:
Until next time, thanks for listening.

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