The Kind of Speakers that Get the Best Feedback and Referrals with Carol Cox: Podcast Ep. 393

The Kind of Speakers that Get the Best Feedback and Referrals

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We’re finishing up our new podcast series called Speak with Confidence.

When you speak at conferences and events, you want to do a great job, get great feedback from the audience, and get referrals and invitations to other speaking gigs.

This is how I’ve gotten so many speaking invitations over the years – event organizers are oftentimes in the audience at events and they refer speakers to each other.

What kind of speaker gets the best feedback and referrals?

You may think it’s the most energetic speaker or the funniest speaker or the speaker with the best story or the speaker with the best slides.

But, that’s not necessarily the case.

In this episode, I’m going to share examples of speakers I’ve seen, what I’ve noticed about them, and the qualities they have in common.

I want you to be the best version of YOU as a speaker. That’s what’s going to set you apart.

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


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TED talks mentioned:

 OpenAI’s new ChatGPT-4o demos (HER is here) =

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

393-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:
What kind of speakers, get the best audience feedback and referrals to more speaking opportunities. That’s what we’re talking about on today’s episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. 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. Welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox. We are wrapping up the series we’ve been doing called Speak With Confidence. My goal has been to get you to think about speaking in a different way than you have, and to improve your skills as a speaker. Last week, I talked about why I no longer teach from the stage and what I recommend instead. The week before was about claiming your identity as a speaker and your thought leader. And then we started this series a few weeks ago with impromptu speaking and how to improve your impromptu speaking skills. Now, I know when you speak at conferences and events, you want to do a great job. You want to get great feedback from the audience, and you want to get referrals and invitations to other speaking engagements. That’s how I’ve gotten the majority of the speaking invitations I’ve received over the years.

Carol Cox:
Event organizers are oftentimes in the audience at events, and so they will then come up to you afterwards or reach out to you afterwards. If you do a great job and invite you to speak at their event, they also refer speakers to each other. That’s why it’s so important to get on the speaking circuit, to start speaking and to do a great job. So what kind of speaker gets the best audience feedback and gets referrals to other speaking opportunities? Now, you may think it’s the most energetic speaker, or the funniest speaker, or the speaker with the best story, or the speaker with the best slides. Now, those qualities are definitely important, but that’s not necessarily the case. Great speakers spark curiosity. They encourage their audiences to look at things in a new or different way. They’re engaging. They capture the audience’s attention, they hold their attention, and they’re inspiring and they spark new ideas. So that’s what we’re going to talk about in today’s episode. And this came about because a few months ago, I was on a zoom call with a client. I was helping her prepare a short speech she was going to give at a ceremony where her company was being awarded business of the year, which is pretty amazing. We were going through the remarks that she had drafted and they were lovely. She was centering the award on her team and how much they’ve been there for each other during all the ups and downs, as she described it in the business that year.

Carol Cox:
And then she said to me, Carol, but there’s this guy who’s going to be going up before me at that event, and he’s really charismatic and high energy, and I just feel like I have to match that, and I know I’m not going to. And I looked at her and I said to her, you don’t have to be anyone other than exactly who you are. The very reason you’re getting this award is because of the caring, compassionate, down to earth CEO and leader that you are. That’s your natural speaking style, and that’s what we want to come across. We want you to be authentic to who you are. And a lot of times as women, we think we have to mimic men or mimic other speakers. We’ve seen. And I talked about this on these previous episodes in this series, and I’ve worked with hundreds of speakers over the years, from Ted speakers to keynote speakers to women who do business presentations. And what I have seen time and time again is that everyone has a different speaking and communication style. And you know what? That is fantastic. Otherwise, as audiences, we would be really bored if everyone were exactly the same. So we’re going to talk about how to be the best version of you as a speaker, not anyone else. That’s what’s going to set you apart. And at the end, I’m going to talk about the very rapid advances in artificial intelligence and how being authentically you is even more important than ever.

Carol Cox:
I’m also going to talk at the end of the episode about our Build Your Speaking confidence workshop that we’re holding on June 13th, so it’s coming up very soon. I have a special coupon code for you to save $100 on this online workshop, so I’ll share that at the end of the episode. Now let’s get on with the show. At our in-person retreats and workshops. One of the things we do is show clips from a variety of women’s speakers to show the range of speaking styles and how effective each style is, that you don’t have to be a certain mold of a speaker. So we look at Amy Cuddy, who I call our stellar scholar speaker archetype. She’s a Harvard professor. She has a great Ted talk about building confidence and power, posing in the research she did around that and in the TEDx talk that she gave, she’s very amiable and she jokes with the audience, even though she’s a stellar scholar. So she still brings those elements to that. Lilly Singh is a well known YouTuber. She is our provocative performer, speaker, archetype and her TEDx talk, she’s wearing this beautiful pink bright pantsuit. She has props on the stage with a table and a chair. She’s incredible at telling stories and also using humor to make her point. And then we have Shonda Rhimes, the showrunner from TV series like Grey’s Anatomy, and she is our spellbinding storyteller speaker archetype.

Carol Cox:
And no surprise, because she is a show runner and she writes all of those TV episodes. But what’s interesting about Shonda Rhimes TEDx talk is that unlike Lilly Singh, who was very interactive, she moves around the stage a lot. Shonda Rhimes just stays in one spot. She even says at the beginning of her talk that she doesn’t consider herself a public speaker. She feels nervous about it, but she’s still really effective in her speaking style because she uses the natural storytelling strengths that she has. And then, of course, there’s Brene Brown, who I would put under the fabulous facilitator speaker archetype because she does a lot of workshops, she does a lot of trainings at companies, so she’s great at engaging the audience, but she also brings in the storytelling aspects as well as her research. So that’s why I show these range of speaking styles at our in-person events, because I want the women attending to see that they don’t have to be like any particular one. They can take what they naturally do and amplify that. And I’ll include links to those four TEDx talks that I just described. I’ll include links to those in the show notes, which you can get a speaking your slash. 393 now why are Amy Cuddy, Lilly Singh, Shonda Rhimes, Brene Brown and other speakers that you may have seen and admire? Why do we resonate so much with them? Because their speaking style is authentic to them.

Carol Cox:
It’s authentic to that particular speaker. So let’s take a look at the qualities that the best speakers have in common. So I’ve already mentioned a few of them, which is storytelling and humor. No matter what speaker archetype you are. And by the way, you can find out which of the four you are by taking our free ten question quiz and speaking your So no matter what archetype you are, you want to always be leading with story, incorporating story into your talks, and finding places for humor. Because humor is so important to either lighten a heavier moment or a heavier story that you just told, or just have that bonding moment with the audience. Also, the best speakers are conversational. If you tend to write out your presentations word for word, or you look at the notes on your slides when you’re presenting, you’re losing that conversational nature that you can have with your audience. If you think about if you’re sitting in the audience, would you rather have someone read to you a paper that they’ve written, or would you rather just have them have a conversation with you? I know I would rather have the conversation, so for sure, no matter what your speaker archetype, no matter what your natural communication strengths are, you want to make sure that you’re making it conversational, that you’re incorporating story, and that you’re integrating humor where appropriate. Now, here are the other things that the best speakers have in common is they have clarity in their mission, their values, and therefore in their message.

Carol Cox:
So no matter if they have five minutes to prepare to give a short speech or a TV interview or a podcast interview, or they have five weeks to prepare for a presentation or even five months to prepare. They are so clear on their mission and their values that therefore they know that they’re going to be able to articulate their message well. I was on the TV news the other week. I was called in to talk about the presidential election and the impact that here in Florida, the abortion amendment will have. So I knew going into that TV interview that my message that I wanted to make sure that I can conveyed was how important it is that women have access to reproductive health care and the fundamental right to choose. So I made sure that the very first question they asked me about that I put that in and that the very, very end of the interview, I made sure to mention that again, because I was very clear on my values and the message that I wanted to share. So that’s the first thing, is having clarity in your mission, your values and your message. The second thing, as far as the quality is the best speakers have in common. The second thing is belief. Belief in themselves that they have something important and helpful to share with their audiences. They believe in their message, and they’re also curious.

Carol Cox:
They’re curious about themselves, about other people, and about the world. I think about the Tedwomen conference that I went to last fall, and the 30 plus women speakers who I saw on that stage over those three days. And you could tell because they were standing there, a lot of them had written books. They’ve been doing this work for a very long time. How convicted they were in their message, the belief that they had of how important it was, not in a dogmatic way, but in the way of they were the messenger for this idea. They’re the messenger for this message to share. So that’s the second thing, is belief in yourself that you have something important and helpful to share. The third thing which I’ve mentioned already is authenticity. The best speakers don’t try to be someone else. They embrace their natural style and personality, but then they look to amplify it. A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure to see one of my clients, Katie Anderson. She’s been on the podcast a couple of times before, and I’ll include links in the show notes. I had an opportunity to see her deliver a keynote at a conference here in Orlando, where I lived. So she had flown into Orlando. We spent the day together, so I watched her deliver that keynote, and then she also got an award that evening for a book that she had written a couple years ago. And after her keynote, it was lunch time and she had to go to a book signing.

Carol Cox:
So I just went to the lunch line. I was getting my lunch, and I and I found a table just to sit with some people at the conference and get to know them. And so I was kind of listening for feedback from the event attendees about what they thought about Katie’s talk, and what I heard was how memorable her stories were time and time again. That’s what stood out were the stories. And also I heard how fun it was, how original it was, and how much it felt like Katie, because some of the people in the audience, they’ve known Katie for a while from going to similar events. So it really felt like Katie. I think that’s the best compliment you can get as a speaker is that when you deliver a talk, especially in front of an audience of hundreds, that it still feels like you. Now I’m going to contrast that with a online presentation that I saw just a few weeks ago by Tim Cook, who is the CEO of Apple. This was for one of the Apple events where they I think they were debuting their latest version of the iPad. As I was watching Tim Cook, all I could think to myself was he was trying so hard to channel Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is well known for having been an incredible presenter. He knew how to pause in the right places and how to bring the audience along the journey and have them anticipate what was coming next.

Carol Cox:
Tim Cook tried to do that and it felt really off again. That was like cognitive dissonance. It felt incongruent. It didn’t feel authentic to who he is. It was almost like he had put on someone else’s clothes that didn’t fit, and he just kind of seemed uncomfortable, which made me as the person watching it, uncomfortable. That’s why authenticity is so important, because as humans, we can tell these things even subconsciously. They may not be conscious, but we can tell these things if someone doesn’t feel like they are communicating in the way that is their natural personality and their style. This is why it’s so helpful to know what your speaker archetype is, so you can embrace who you are naturally as a communicator, and then seek to amplify it. Add to those skills. So let me go through the four speaker archetypes I’ve identified. You can probably pick out which of these you are. You may be a combination of a couple of them, but there may be one that really stands out to you. The first one is Stellar Scholar. This is what most of the quiz takers end up with, because this is our audience high achieving women. As a stellar scholar, you like to identify connections and find solutions to problems, and you make things happen. You’re definitely an action taker. Your big challenge is that sometimes you might be a bit too technical and tactical in your presentations by sticking only to the facts.

Carol Cox:
So what we recommend is incorporate more personal stories and performance aspects to your speaking so that you can connect with your audience in a deeper way and make your talks even more impactful and memorable. And this is what Katie Anderson has done since working with us, adding those stories and performance elements. The second speaker archetype is the fabulous facilitator. If this is you, your empathetic nature allows you to identify connections among people rather than you being the provider of the solutions. You like to help people find the solutions together. You probably really like facilitating workshops. Your big challenge, though, is that you’re so inclined to give the floor to others that your audience misses out on the opportunity to learn more about you, to learn about why you care about this topic, what brought you to this? So what we recommend is to share personal. All stories. You’re going to hear this as a thread. Share personal stories and lessons learned so that you can connect with your audience in a deeper way and make your presentations more transformational, not just informational. The third speaker archetype is the spellbinding storyteller. You already understand the power of sharing personal stories and being vulnerable. You’re pretty good at this already, because that’s how you’ve learned to better understand yourself. You see what’s happened to you as a way to share life lessons and help your audience realize they’re not alone.

Carol Cox:
Your big challenge is that you love sharing stories so much that you may miss out on the opportunity to provide your audience with your overall thought leadership message and a strong call to action, so we recommend that you share your bigger why of what matters to you and the impact you want to make on a bigger scale. It’s time to universalize your personal story and connect it to your ideas. The fourth speaker archetype is the provocative performer. If this is you, you’re an entertainer at heart. You love to incorporate things like acting, comedy, dancing, singing, props and multimedia into your speeches and presentations and your natural performance abilities and comfort on the stage make you a really captivating speaker and you can wow your audience. Your big challenge is that you love performing so much that, like the fabulous facilitator, you may miss out on the opportunity to provide your audience with your overall thought leadership message, making that really clear with your through line and giving them a strong call to action. So make sure that you are integrating your bigger why of what matters to you, and use your talents to make your message memorable and actionable for your audience. You may recognize yourself in one or a couple of these. Find out for sure by taking our free quiz. It only takes a couple of minutes. It’s ten multiple choice questions. You can take that as speaking your slash quiz. Again, that’s speaking your slash quiz.

Carol Cox:
You’ll get your results right away, along with my suggestions and a customized podcast playlist just for that speaker archetype. As I mentioned in the intro, artificial intelligence is advancing really quickly. You may have seen that OpenAI just recently released its brand new chat GPT model called GPT four. Oh yes, they’re not that good with with naming things GPT four zero and basically the movie her is here. If you haven’t seen the movie her, go watch it. It’s fascinating and I’ll include a link to the demo, the demo videos that OpenAI released last week when they were showing these new capabilities. And basically their AI system can now not only talk out loud, so talk back to you. You can listen to you. It can see if you have if you’re using it on your phone and it can see whatever you’re putting your camera on, it can distinguish between different voices that are talking. It can actually have AIS communicate back and forth with each other. It is incredible. This is why we need human authenticity more than ever. Yes, people are going to love AI. It’s going to be a fantastic assistant. It’s going to do so much for us. But we also need that human connection with each other. And people are going to want more in-person experiences and more in-person interactions, which guess what means that they’re going to need more speakers just like you. If you would like to build your speaking confidence, I invite you to enroll in our upcoming workshop.

Carol Cox:
It’s on June 13th live on zoom. Use the coupon code podcast 100 to save $100 on the workshop. Again, that coupon code is podcast 100. So altogether podcast 100. To save $100, the workshop sign up page is at speaking your again that’s speaking your The link is also in the show notes. You’re going to learn our signature talk canvas framework. So you can prepare for any presentation, speech or interview you have. Whether you have five minutes or five weeks to prepare, you’re going to learn our ideal story ingredients. You’re going to work on a key story, and we’re going to get you to practice. Speaking really does get easier the more that you do it. We’re going to help you craft your brand message and your story, and then you’re going to have time to practice it and get feedback from us. We’re also going to give you strategies that we use, and that top performers use to help you to reduce your nerves and deliver with confidence. Whether it’s a one on one conversation, a team meeting that you’re leading, or a keynote speech or business presentation that you’re doing, again, get all the details at speaking your and use podcast 100 to save $100. And that workshop is coming up on June 13th and the next two episodes. You’re going to hear from our recent Thought Leader Academy grads. They’re going to deliver a ten minute version of their new signature talks that they created with us. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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