I Almost Got Stuck in the Expert Trap: How I Escaped and Delivered My Recent Successful Conference Presentation by Carol Cox: Podcast Ep. 342

I Almost Got Stuck in the Expert Trap: How I Escaped and Delivered My Recent Successful Conference Presentation by Carol Cox

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I *almost* got stuck in the expert trap when I was creating my recent presentation for MAICON called Maintain Your Brand Voice Through AI Personalization and Storytelling.​

I had lots of slides filled with examples and case studies.

Useful, sure, but not impactful or memorable.

I knew it was missing heart and soul.

Fortunately, I took my own advice 🙂 and saved myself from the expert trap.

Attendees loved my session – they said it was “fantastic, amazing, and valuable.”

In this episode, I share 3 specific things I did to escape the expert trap to create an impactful and memorable presentation, plus one more bonus thing that made a huge difference.

I know you want to create and deliver outstanding presentations, get excellent feedback from attendees and the event organizers, stand out and get noticed, and get leads plus more speaking invitations.

You don’t want to get stuck in what I call the expert trap. 

The expert trap shows up in a few ways: as an information dump; no unique framework or methodology tying everything together; no vision or mission or thought leadership message; and no opinions or stances on your topic.

Listen in to hear what you can do to make sure your presentation provides value to your audience and gets you noticed.

Here’s the Brand Voice Canvas I created for this presentation:

Brand Voice Canvas by Speaking Your Brand

Here’s a short video that shows the custom-made paddles I used for audience interaction:

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/342/ 

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/ 

Get on the interest list for our in-person client retreat speaking intensive: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/retreat/

Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolcox

Related Podcast Episodes:

342-SYB-Solo.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

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

Carol Cox:
I almost got stuck in the expert trap. Hear how I got out of it and how you can too 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:
Welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox. Today we’re going to talk about how I almost got stuck in the Expert Trap for a presentation that I created for a conference. But how I got myself out of it just in the nick of time and the strategies you can use for this as well. The conference that I presented at was called Macon. It’s a marketing conference put on by the Marketing Institute. The session that I delivered was called Maintain Your Brand Voice through Personalization and Storytelling. And I’ll tell you right now that the presentation that I ended up delivering went really well. Attendees loved it. I had people coming up to me right after the presentation later that day and even the next day at the conference, they actually sought me out and told me that I was a fantastic presentation, amazing, valuable, that I had great energy and charisma.

Carol Cox:
And so not only did I get this incredible feedback from the attendees, but also from the event organizers, including being asked to speak again, but it almost didn’t go this well, which is what this episode is about. I know that if you’re listening to this, you also want to create and deliver outstanding presentations so that you get excellent feedback from attendees and from the event organizers so that you stand out and get noticed so that you can get leads from your presentations and more speaking invitations. And not just that, but also you want to make sure that you’re delivering really valuable information to the people in your audiences so that they can take what they’ve learned from you and use it for themselves. However, you don’t want to get stuck in what I call the expert Trap. I’ve talked about The Expert Trap on this podcast starting about two years ago. I’ll include links in the show notes to some other episodes that go deeper into it, but the Expert Trap shows up in a few ways in your presentations.

Carol Cox:
The first way is an information dump. This is where there’s just lots of information, lots of what I call facts and figures. In your presentation, if you want to hear more about how to get out of that specifically, check out last week’s episode on this podcast with one of our thought leader Academy grads, Judy Carlson. It’s a really great episode to to hear the transition from kind of this facts and figures presentation into thought leadership. So that’s one way the Expert Trap shows up is just lots of information. The second way is, along with having lots of information, is that there is no unique framework or methodology that ties everything together. So kind of just things are just one after the other. There’s no bigger picture. Also, a lot of times when you’re in the expert trap or if you’re listening to speakers who are, there’s no vision or mission or grander thought leadership message that they’re presenting the why behind why this topic matters to them. And there’s also no opinions or stances on the topic. So in this episode, I’m going to share with you three things that I did to escape the expert trap that you can use as well. Plus, one more bonus thing that made a huge difference in getting the feedback that I got from attendees and from the event organizers. If you’re new to speaking your brand, welcome. 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. And this thought leadership message is important, as you’re going to hear in just a few minutes.

Carol Cox:
Before we get into the main part of this episode, I do want to let you know that our next group for the Thought Leader Academy is starting on August 29th. So just a couple of weeks away. And we only have two spots left. So we’re capped out at seven women total. We have two spots left. The only other group will have for the rest of this year for the rest of 2023 is starting October 24th. So we have two groups left August 29th and October 24th. If you want to join us for August 29th, definitely get your signup in now, Get your enrollment in now or schedule a Zoom call with us. You can do both of those things as speaking your brand.com/academy. Again, that’s speaking your brand.com/academy. Now let’s get on with the show.

Carol Cox:
As I mentioned at the top, my presentation at Macon was called Maintain Your Brand Voice through AI, Personalization and Storytelling. If you want to hear more of the content from the presentation, check out the podcast episode from two weeks ago Episode 340 called Can I Tell What You What a brand voice is and Why You Need one? I go through the main points of that presentation now. I came up with the topic and the description for this in early February of this year, starting in December when ChatGPT was launched. I was immediately using it and like many of us awed by what it could do.

Carol Cox:
You ask it to write a blog post or ask it to write a podcast outline or come up with ideas, and it would come back and it was like magic. And now we’ve kind of gotten used to it in the past. What has it been, eight months or so? But really it was awe inspiring at the time. So I was really getting into this, but then I recognized that although I appreciated the content that would come back from ChatGPT, I wanted it to sound more like how I wrote, how I talked. And of course I have over 300 podcast episodes, I have over 600 email newsletters I’ve sent out. I have transcripts of video trainings that we’ve done. So I knew that I had this this foundation of content. And so I’m thinking, well, how can I get ChatGPT to take this base of information, my content, and use that to write content or to write to come up with ideas, not just regular ChatGPT. So that’s where my gears started turning kind of in late December during the holiday break. And so I we got some programmers to create what we’re calling chat. Seb So like chat GPT But chat. Seb Chat speaking your brand. So we created an interface as well as a chat GPT plugin so that we could query my podcast transcripts, email newsletters and so on.

Carol Cox:
So that’s where this idea of maintaining your brand voice through AI personalization and storytelling first came up. So then I submitted a speaking proposal to speak at Macon. That was in early February of this year, and then I got the email that I was accepted two months later in April, and the conference was at the end of July, so that was about three, so about a three month headway before the actual conference. I started working on the outline in May and the slides in June because we were still working on the programming aspects of what we were building. So I knew I needed to get more of that finished before I could work on the outline and definitely work on the slides. So I started working on the slides. And here’s where I got stuck in the Expert trap. And I see this for a lot of speakers and a lot of presenters at conferences that I go to, there was just I was working on the slides and there was just a lot of information and a lot of it was there were screenshots, screenshots of ChatGPT where I would show a prompt that I used and then the response that it came back, which would be good but not great. And then contrast that with using chat CIB. So querying my data and showing how much better the replies were, how much more they were in my brand voice and how much more useful they would be.

Carol Cox:
So these were like case studies and again, useful content, but it was missing something. It was just like screenshot after screenshot and I don’t like using a lot of text on my slides, but this had to be a lot of text because I had to show the prompt and the reply. But it was missing something. It was just it was lacking. It was lacking heart, it was lacking soul. It was just a lot of information. So again, it was somewhat useful to the audience, but I knew that it was not going to have an impact and leave a lasting impression that I wanted it to do. So I kind of stepped back for a little bit and then of course went back to what it is that we teach in our Thought Leader Academy and we work with our clients and here on the podcast. And so taking my own advice. So here are the three things that I did to get out of this expert trap, this expert presenter mode, and instead to create a memorable and impactful presentation. The first thing that I did was I went back to my mission and speaking your brand’s mission, which is all around advocating for and champion women’s voices so that I had to ask myself, Well, why does this topic of brand voice and artificial intelligence matter to me? You know, clearly this was a topic that I wanted to present on.

Carol Cox:
I came up with the idea and the description based on my own experience using chat GPT. So why does this topic matter to me? And of course I know this because I want to make sure that our voices as women don’t get overlooked or drowned out or obfuscated or kind of blurred out with what I call generic internet voice. So again, chat GPT is great. There are so many uses for it, but when it comes back with its replies, it’s it’s what I call generic internet voice. It’s professional and it’s polished. But there’s really, again, no heart and soul to it. And so I wanted to make sure that as women are our unique voices and experience and stories didn’t get drowned out because so much of what ChatGPT and these large language models have been trained on, a lot of it is is books and writings and articles and media profiles that were written by men and about men. So I wanted to make sure that our voices as women didn’t get obfuscated. The other reason is because of my background in politics and being a political analyst on TV news, I knew from my own experience as a woman with a public voice that having a strong voice and making sure again that women have these strong public voices is really important to me and making sure that women have a voice and a seat at the table for AI, because AI is going to impact all of our businesses, all of our industries and society as a whole.

Carol Cox:
I mentioned in that episode that I did two weeks ago where I went through the main points of the content of the presentation around brand voice that not too long ago, Dot AI, which is Elon Musk’s new AI company, announced their leadership team. 12 people on the leadership team, not one woman on there, and they said that the purpose of the company is to understand the nature of the universe. Well, I find it rather difficult to truly understand the nature of the universe when you completely exclude half the population from your leadership team. This is why women having a voice and a seat at the table for AI is so important. Now, I knew that the audience at the conference was going to be a co-ed audience, so it wasn’t a women’s conference. It was all genders. And so when I put this together, of course, I mentioned about my background in politics and TV news and being a woman with a public voice and making sure that our voices as women don’t get overlooked or drowned out. But then I said, you know, your voice matters, your insights, your experiences, your stories, all of that matters no matter who you are. And that’s why I want to make sure that your brand voice is part of the AI work that you’re doing.

Carol Cox:
So that was number one, is I went back to my mission and speaking your brand’s mission and making sure that was infused into the content of the presentation. The second thing I did was I created a brand new framework to tie together what I was showing, specifically what I was showing with those examples from ChatGPT and Chat CIB. I also made sure that I had an opinion about this idea of brand voice is that brand voice is much more than tone and personality. A lot of times we think of brand voice as, Is your brand voice serious or is it funny? Is it quirky or is it a little bit more buttoned up? And that is part of your brand voice. But there is a lot more to brand voice than just kind of the the above the surface tone and personality. So I started thinking about, well, what are these different components of brand voice? So mission is really important. I just talked about that before. This one mission is important. Your expertise, your methodology, how you do what you do and your experiences. So I came up with an acronym meme m e m E, so mission expertise, methodology and experiences. And then I created a visual tool called the Brand Voice Canvas, which has those four building blocks in it mission expertise, methodology and experiences. And then this the brand voice canvas is is modeled after the business model canvas and value proposition canvas, which are tools that are used in startup world.

Carol Cox:
And I’ve been teaching digital entrepreneurship for 14 years, so I’m very familiar with these tools. So I knew this idea of a one page canvas would be really useful for the audience to be able to follow along as I showed all of these different examples to tie it together and how these examples would fit with them and their own different elements of mission, expertise, methodology and experiences. I’m sure it’s hard to visualize what this brand voice canvas looks like, so you can see the image on the show notes page for this episode as speaking your brand.com/342. That’s the episode number speaking your brand.com/3 42. So that’s so I use that brand voice canvas and I introduced it towards in act one of of the presentation. So kind of after I set up the audience goal and the obstacles and, and who I am and why this is important to me and why your voice matters. And I so I talked about all of that. And then we then I introduced this idea of the brand voice canvas and the meme. I had some funny gifs in there about, you know, if you’re what meme would your brand voice be? And then I showed the brand voice canvas, and then what I also did was I had these, these paddles custom made.

Carol Cox:
So paddles where, you know, there’s a that someone can hold like a little paddle, like a fan. And then one side had a smiley face representing a human. The other side had the robot emoji representing I. And then I would ask some questions about, you know, is it human or is it AI or who who is better at this human or AI? And the people in the audience would then raise the paddle and either show the human the smiley face side for the human or the robot emoji for the AI. So that was a lot of fun. There’s a video where I show what the paddles look like also on the show notes page, so you can see that there. And so in when I introduced the brand voice canvas and talked about the mission expertise, methodology and experiences, I asked the audience, Who do you think is better at each of these four elements, the human or the AI? So that was that was a fun way to get audience interaction. So that was the second thing that I did to escape The Expert Trap was creating this framework. So there was the acronym meme, and then there was the visual image, the visual tool, the brand voice canvas. The third thing that I did was I added layers to the presentation. This is something that we teach and that we work with our clients on. In the Thought Leader Academy is adding layers to your presentation.

Carol Cox:
After you have your initial outline done, after you start working on your slides, you want to make sure that you go back and you add some things to it to kind of liven it up. The the main thing is to make sure you have humor. So many of the women that we work with and I know so many of you are what are we call our stellar scholars. That’s your speaker archetype from the quiz, the free quiz that you can take on our website and stellar scholars. You’re great at information. You’re great at presenting what’s important in your topic. But a lot of times it’s not that it’s necessarily dry, but you just go from one thing to the next one slide to the next. And so I know I have to make sure to intentionally go back and add humor into my presentation to add humor into my slides. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find funny gifs. So this is what I did When I asked if your brand voice were me, what would it be? And I had some funny ones of Ryan Gosling as Ken in the Barbie movie and Beyonce saying, I’m not bossy, I’m just the boss and some other funny ones. So that’s so definitely add humor throughout your presentation. The other thing for layers is to add short video clips. These can be video clips from movies or TV shows.

Carol Cox:
And so I had a clip towards the end from the movie Chappie, which is about a robot kind of that becomes sentient. And so that was fun. I just had a little clip from the trailer, and I also have a video wall that shows all of my news appearances and speaking engagements. And so I did that towards the beginning of the presentation, not the very, very beginning, but when I talked about the importance of of having a voice and as a woman with a public voice. So I showed that that was instant credibility. The other thing that I did for short video clips was that I had a lot of those static screenshots of showing the prompts and the responses from chat, GPT or chat S-ib. So what I did was I created some short screen recordings where I would would type the prompt and then show the response and I sped it up a little bit so that it would go faster on the screen recording But having movement on your slides is really important, especially in this day and age when we’re so used to our social media feeds, whether it’s Instagram stories and reels and TikTok videos, that if your your slides are totally flat, if there’s no movement on any of the slides, your audience is going to get bored. That’s just that’s just the way it is right now.

Carol Cox:
And so you want to make sure that you have some movement on your slides with these short video clips. I also made sure to have third party credibility. So I, I had some some call outs from some recent articles from McKinsey on some research that they did as well as the VC. Company Andreesen Horowitz, where both of those well known firms talked about the importance of fine tuned content with large language models. So it just reinforced the point that I was making. And then the part of the presentation where I talked about storytelling and how to use ChatGPT to, to help you idea for stories and even write stories for you. I told a very funny personal story in that section of the talk about this time when when the first time that I went to Disney World, when I was a little girl with my sister and my mom. And then what happened? So I told the story and as an example of using our ideal storytelling ingredients. And then of course, like I had the vocal variation and kind of acted it out. So that was a lot of fun. So that was the third thing that I did. It was adding layers, humor, funny gifs, short video clips. I even had a music clip in there, a short clip from a song, Third Party credibility and making sure you’re using those storytelling ingredients. Now, these three things that I did thought leadership creating a framework and adding layers is exactly what we work with you on in our Thought Leader Academy.

Carol Cox:
During the eight weeks of the weekly group Zoom Calls, you get mini trainings as well as lots of feedback from us on what you’re working on. You also get a one on one virtual VIP day where we sit down with you for three hours over Zoom to create your signature talk from beginning to end using our framework so you have everything mapped out from your key points, your supporting points, your framework, your audience engagement, the humor, all of those layers. That’s what we work on with you during the Thought Leader Academy. Let me share with you an excerpt from one of our recent graduates, Karen Keene. She was on the podcast back in July and she said So at the end, everyone delivers a graduation speech, a three minute graduation speech about their experience. And Karen said that we could use what she wrote in her and what she delivered in her graduation speech to share with all of you. So let me share an excerpt of that just so you can get a sense of what the Thought Leader Academy does for the women who go through it. She said that she reached out to us because she knew of our excellent reputation for helping women achieve bigger goals and make an even greater impact by using their voice.

Carol Cox:
And she says, The work I’ve done in concert with the team at speaking your brand was absolutely the best experience I could have hoped for. Through a series of weekly coaching calls with other dynamic women in the cohort, we learn skills and techniques through collaboration and camaraderie. And then, she continues, The true magic takes place on VIP day when we get the experience, the vision board process tailored to our goals and our unique voice. Carol and I worked together to create a roadmap that helps convey my story in a way that is compassionate and inspiring, while also leaving audiences with a call to action. Speaking your brand opened my eyes to all the possibilities of how my voice can make an impact in the world. Before entering the program, I thought my talk would only be of interest to groups in the local community. I now understand that with my own self-limiting belief. Most importantly, I’ve truly enjoyed the relationships I’ve formed with the other women in the cohort. We lift up one another and I’ve learned so much about the gifts that they share with the world. So that is the experience you get by working with us both in the group and one on one. This is why we design the Thought Leader Academy this way so that you get the benefits of both group and one on one. As I mentioned in the intro, we only have two spots left for August 29th start date.

Carol Cox:
So if you’re interested in that, go to speaking your brand.com/academy. You can either enroll directly or you can schedule a zoom call with us to talk first. And if you know, August 29th is not a good date for you, the next start date is October 24th. And if you want to reserve your spot for that, you can make a deposit to do so and just just reach out and do the zoom call and then we will direct you there. Now, I mentioned that there’s a bonus number four strategy that really made this a successful and impactful presentation, and that was my delivery. So content is really important as we just went through. You have to have content that takes the audience on a journey that that gives them what they need and digestible ways using that framework, having your thought leadership in it, having those layers, but your delivery has to come through too. And here’s what I heard from the event organizers and from attendees that I was energetic and charismatic, that it was fun, that I had enthusiasm and passion for what I was talking about. I think someone described me as a an optimistic realist when it comes to AI, and I’m like, Oh, I like that. I think I’ll take that. An optimistic, realist vocal variation movement when I especially when I told that funny personal story, having that the audience interaction either with questions or those paddles.

Carol Cox:
So have your delivery really is what will lead that lasting impression on the audience. And the best way to uplevel your delivery is to attend our client speaking intensive that we hold every year in February in Orlando. So our next one is coming up this coming February 20th, 24. I know it seems like a long way away. It’s really not. It’s going to be here before we know it. If that’s something that you want to get more information on and you can add yourself to our interest list, go to speaking your brand.com/retreat. Again, that’s speaking. Your brand.com/retreat registration will open in September and that’s limited to 12 women. So if you’re are interested in that, make sure to go to speaking your brand.com/retreat to get on the interest list. I hope you enjoyed this episode. So next time you create a presentation, make sure that your thought leadership is in there, that you have a clear framework and there you’re adding those layers and that you’re delivering with energy and enthusiasm. We have coming up more episodes specifically on delivering your talk on in-person delivery. So make sure to subscribe or follow this podcast in your podcast app. And also, if you have a friend or a colleague who you know would benefit from this episode, go ahead. And I would love it if you would share it with them. You can text it to them, email it to them, or share it on social media. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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