Trends in Public Speaking and Thought Leadership for 2023 with Carol Cox: Podcast Ep. 310


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Happy New Year! This is the 5th year in a row I’ve done a trends episode for the start of the year.

This may be the most important podcast episode I’ve done to date, as the trends I’m talking about will impact every business and every industry in profound ways, including the rise of A.I. tools; the shift from mass audiences and the attention economy to trust-based audiences and the imagination economy; and a renewed focus on local, in-person activities and business.

What I mean by trends are not fads or cliches or gimmicks. 

Trends are like currents or waves of energy that move through our society and affect everything from business and politics and the economy to popular culture and media.

How do these trends impact our public speaking and thought leadership? 

As speakers and leaders, our talks and messages have more of an impact if our audiences can see the bigger picture of what’s affecting them and the world around them.

In this episode, you’ll learn 3 trends (and action steps for each) related to format, audience, and content that you can apply to your speaking and thought leadership, as well as to your visibility and marketing strategy in general.


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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SYB-310-Trends-rev2.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

SYB-310-Trends-rev2.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
This may be the most important episode I've done to date about trends to look out for for 2023. On this 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. Hi there. Welcome to the Speaking Your brand podcast and Happy New Year. This is the fifth year in a row that I've done a trends episode for the start of the year. What I mean by trends are not fads or cliches or gimmicks. Trends are like currents or ways of energy that move through our society and affect everything from business and the economy to politics, popular culture and media. And this episode I'm going to share with you three trends I've identified for 2023 in action steps you can take that you can apply to your speaking and thought leadership. But this goes way beyond just public speaking and thought leadership. These are big picture concepts and trends that will impact your business, your marketing, your visibility, no matter what kind of business you have and no matter what industry that you are in.

Carol Cox:
And this really may be the most important podcast episode I've done to date. This is episode 3/10 over 300 episodes because the trends I'm talking about will impact everyone in profound ways, including the rise of AI tools, the shift from mass audiences and the attention economy that we've been in for the past ten or so years to trust based audiences in the imagination, economy, and I believe a renewed focus on local in-person activities and business. For those of you who are new listeners, Hi, I'm Carol Cox, the founder and CEO of 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. We believe through women's stories and voices that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems to benefit more people. And as you hear, you'll hear on this episode, this is more important than ever to learn more about how we can help you create your signature talk and thought leadership message, You can check out our Thought Leader Academy at speaking your brand dot com slash academy. Again, that's at speaking your brand slash academy. Now let's get on with the show. Let me start by giving you a quick overview of the three trends and then we'll dive deeper into each one. These three trends are all very much interconnected to each other, and you'll see how they are as we go through.

Carol Cox:
The first trend is the rise of AI tools and engines. Artificial intelligence is going to impact every business, including my business in your business, in every industry. So we're going to look at that. The second trend is the shift for mass audiences in the attention economy to what I'm calling trust base audiences in the imagination and caring economy. This is a huge shift that's going to affect us as far as marketing. The third trend is community, a renewed focus on local in person activities and a business. The first trend is the rise of AI tools and engines. And like I said, artificial intelligence is going to impact all of our businesses in all of our industries and really society as a whole. And what we're seeing today is just the beginning of what we're going to see in the next one year, much less three, 5 to 10 years. The AI that is most interesting to me right now and what people are kind of are talking about online is called generative AI. So there are platforms like Chat, GPT, stable Diffusion Dolly. And so what it does is the AI engine creates images, text, audio, video and so on, and it's all what is really essentially original content. So this is not like doing a Google search and you find an answer to something that someone wrote on their blog or their website. And so that is their original content, that's their copy, written content, that's someone created.

Carol Cox:
What these generative AI tools are creating is original content. It hasn't existed in that exact form somewhere else. Now, there are some kind of ethical and legal implications of all these engines have been scraping data from the Internet, and that's where they got all their their data that they've been trained on. But what they're actually producing is original content. I've been using GPT four since it came out at the November 30th Open. I released Chat GPT and it's what's called a large language model. So basically it sucked up all the data from the internet. Really got to understand how humans think and how we write and how we interact with each other. And so if you ask it a question, anything, it will come back with a very well thought out, clear and cohesive answer. It is doing what's called predictive text. So it's literally just predicting what the next word in the sentence is going to be. Based on all of this data it has analyzed across the Internet. It can write programming code, it can write marketing copy, it can write short stories, it can write poems, song lyrics, blog post, advertising, copy, emails, text message replies, advice, columns, speeches. It can even help you to make decisions. It can help you to come up with ideas, marketing ideas, podcast episode ideas. If you have not played with it yet, I just I recommend just going signing up for it.

Carol Cox:
There's a link in the show notes to it. It's completely free to use. As of right now, it is just like the problem that I'm having right now is thinking of all the things I could ask it that I just am not in the habit of thinking to go ask something like a chat. Gpt To help me with that. And here's the thing also with these AI tools, whether they're image creation tools, audio, video writing and so on, is don't judge them based on what they're capable of today because you might start using them like, Oh well the user interface is a little bit clunky or what they're bringing back. The writing is a little bit bland and generic. And so yes, all of those things are true, but we're in exponential growth at this point as far as what AI is going to be able to do six months from now, a year from now, much less 3 to 5 years from now. And if we think about it, three years from now is not all that far away. It has been nearly three years since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic and here in March of 2020, and we're almost in March of 2023. That's how quickly three years goes by. So I go between being excited and terrified as far as what is coming down the pipe with AI.

Carol Cox:
I have a background in technology. 20 years ago I did software development for large Fortune 500 companies as well as for startups. I've been a self-taught computer programmer and database programmer for those 12 years before I started speaking your brand. And so I, I understand technology in the sense that I've seen these waves that kind of go through and impact everything that we do. And so the AI is going to be even more of a disruptor than the original Internet and then say like smartphones were. Here's the thing AI tools can generate endless quantities of what I would call decent content at virtually no cost decent. That really is pretty much the same as much of the content you see nowadays on people's websites, blogs and social media. Pretty soon I will be able to create personalized content from advertisements to TV shows based on what you like and respond to. So imagine you're watching a TV show and you don't like the direction that it's going in or you don't like a particular character. You could just ask the AI that's creating the TV show to change something up and it will change it. And there the TV show will continue. Yes, I really do believe that's coming probably sooner than we think, because I can generate this endless quantity of pretty decent and it's going to get better and better content and personalized content at virtually no cost.

Carol Cox:
We have to really think about what we as humans are good at. So what we're good at is determining what problems need to be solved, how we can make things better, because the AI is relying on us, at least at this point, to give up prompts, to give us questions to think about. So I want you as a speaker, as an entrepreneur, as a thought leader, to help your audiences and your clients think differently and imagine what's possible, because that's really is where our strength is. And speaking of asking questions, there are people out there who are asking the questions that need to be asked around the AI tools of how can we use them ethically and safely. Here's an example you may have heard of Lindsey. It says AI powered image editing app that a bunch of people were using on Instagram back in December. So you would upload a bunch of your photos into the Lens app and then it would create this like really beautiful artistic photo of you based on the AI. But what was happening is that for a lot of women who were using the app, it would come back with its AI trained images where the women were a little bit more sexualized, were even almost nude. And so, you know, a lot of women were sort of like, well, why is it doing this? Obviously, these are not the photos that I put into the Lens app to get back.

Carol Cox:
And so the developer of Lindsey said that it was not consciously applying biases, it was just using what was out there. A spokeswoman for the company said, quote, Essentially, AI is holding a mirror to our society. So in other words, they're deflecting responsibility as far as the their app having a bias toward showing women in a more sexualized manner. I agree that AI is holding a mirror to our society, and that's the data that's out there. Those are all the images on the Internet that the app trained itself on. But for me, that's not good enough. We need to push back on this default answer of, well, it's just what's out there. So and it's just what? So what are we supposed to do about it? Well, actually, I believe we should be doing something about it, which is making sure that we are adjusting the algorithms, adjusting the AI to make sure that it's actually not recreating the worst of our society, but actually creating something that's better. So then the question that comes from that is, are there enough women and women of color and people of color in AI who are working on AI, who are working in these different companies and these different apps? Are there enough women and people of color in there to to make sure that these questions are being asked and so that the default is not just kind of being pushed through.

Carol Cox:
So that's the one thing, kind of like at the leadership and coding level and what's going and what's happening, making sure that there are women and people of color in AI. The second thing is that to think about what is feeding the AI engine. So all of this data, this content on the Internet is was feeding it. And if we think about all of the kind of best selling authors, the top podcasters, politicians, entrepreneurs, the ones that we talk about the most, the most, the ones that get the most media time, the ones that get the most write ups and articles. And in other podcast, the creators of frameworks and models, most all of them are men and white men at that. And that's what's feeding the AI engine. So yes, there's going to be a default bias and kind of perspective on it. And this is why the work that we do here is speaking your brand for the past number of years is encouraging more women to be thought leaders, to put themselves out there in the public way, because we need that content that's generated by women out there. And we need us to challenge the status quo, to ask the questions that aren't being asked and to collaboratively work together to make things better.

Carol Cox:
So that was trend number one, the rise of AI tools and engines and how much is going to impact all of our businesses and industries, including around marketing. So that leads us to trend number two, which is we are currently witnessing and experiencing a shift from mass audiences and the attention economy to trust based audiences in the imagination and caring economy. This is a huge shift in online marketing. It is really the end of the era of social media as. We've known it for the past ten or 12 years. Really. Facebook and then Instagram have been dominant with a little bit of Twitter and LinkedIn. But for most of I know, the online entrepreneurial space really has been focused on Facebook and Instagram, and it's been about how can we accumulate as many followers as possible, So how can we attract those mass audiences? And then how can we market and sell to those mass audiences? How can we claim as much attention as possible from people? And and really, it's been the social media companies that have been trying to claim as much attention from us as possible. So the way we have been marketing through social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, posting decent content all of the time, I'm excited to see go away because as we're seeing this shift away from mass media and mass followings, this into the era of social media, it can bring about something that's going to be much more enjoyable and much more meaningful for all of this.

Carol Cox:
And the reason so there's a number of reasons why we're seeing this shift. First, Facebook and Instagram are on the decline. They're losing users, especially younger people. Twitter is a disaster. Since Elon Musk took over and Tik Tok, of course, has been dominating social media for the past couple of years. But there are governments, state governments in the United States that are actually working to ban the Tik Tok app on state government employees phones because they see it as a national security threat. And so who knows what's going to happen with Tik Tok since it is affiliated with the Chinese government. Even LinkedIn is getting harder to get engagement on than it was for me, say, a year, much less two years ago. We're seeing more people seeking private spaces to have conversations, whether it's Discord, Substack, Mastodon, Patreon, WhatsApp, Slack, there's this fragmentation of smaller communities of of smaller, more private places for people to go. I think people are kind of over this idea of having to perform for mass public, having to constantly post on social media sites about everything that's going on and constantly promote what you're doing. Your business is exhausting. And I would say if it has been working for you, that's great because some people are really good at social media. I happen to not be one of those.

Carol Cox:
If it's been working for you, that's great, But recognize that things are starting to shift. The algorithms are shifting with AI, creating endless quantities of content. It's going to flood all these social media sites even more. And I just read an article about marketing trends for 2023, and it listed several things that it recommended. And one of the things that said and I appreciate some of the other advice, but one thing it said was to post as much as you can. And I would say, no, I don't think that's a great strategy to post as much as you can. People are filtering out content that they're seeing all the time. They're spending less time on social media sites. I would say take that hour you would spend on social media, whether it's creating something to post, you know, scrolling through social media and instead use that time to send a personalized note to someone. So a personalized note to a prior client thanking them, checking in on how they're doing, a personalized note to a prospective client, someone that you met recently that you just wanted to say, Hi, I'm thinking about you, or take that time and go to a local event instead. So that brings us to trend number three. So trend number two is the shift away from mass audiences. Mass marketing, mass social media, trend number three is all about community, a renewed focus on local in person activities and business with the rise of AI.

Carol Cox:
We're not going to know who is actually creating this content with deepfakes, where you can actually manipulate audio and video to make it look like someone is saying something when it's really wasn't them. Deepfakes are getting much, much better. It's going to be very hard for us to tell what is real and what is not online. So guess what? What's going to happen? Instead, people are going to seek out in-person interactions, in-person activities, in-person events, and a lot of that's going to happen local just because it's easier for people to do that locally. So really think about how you can invest in your local community, how you can get involved, find a few local groups, go to their meetings and events. It could be business groups, could be women's business groups, it could be nonprofit organizations, volunteer organizations. Just find some local groups to get involved with. You could also start your own group. That's what we're doing here in Orlando, Florida. Diane and I are going to start our own women's business group because we really are looking for that, that in person connection and relationships as well. And guess what? As a public speaker, you are very much primed and poised to be able to leverage in person activities and in-person events. And as a speaker, think about it.

Carol Cox:
You're standing there in front of a group of people in person. You automatically have built in authority, trust, authenticity and connection, all of those things that are going to be harder and harder for us to find online, especially in mass mass media sites online. And instead we're going to be looking for that in person and local. So really get involved in your local community, find those local groups and events to go to, and also other in-person conferences and events to travel to and really think about how you can reach out to some of these local groups and events and offer to speak to their membership, offer to speak to their audience as a way that's also a great way to get involved and to kind of get on your local speaking circuit. So that was trend number three, which was community, a renewed focus on local in-person activities and business. There's a fourth bonus trend that I wanted to mention that didn't quite fit in with the rest of these three trends. But I'm going to talk more about this in a future episode is around entertainment, fun and escapism. I was reading an article recently. They were talking about these kind of these movies that are made to garner Oscar nominations. And so they tend to be kind of period pieces or just kind of a little bit more like dramas and excellent acting and excellent scripts. And the movies are well made and all of that, but they're finding that people are not going to see those movies.

Carol Cox:
And what as they've been interviewing moviegoers, they found that because because people don't want to watch depressing movies, they're looking for fun, escapism, entertainment. Of course, they want something probably more than just The Avengers movies, but they want something that's not like going to watch 2 hours where something's going to be really depressing because let's face it, things kind of have been not so great in the past few years in real life. Now I'm what I consider a serious thinker with a capital S and a capital T like I love, as you can tell from this episode, to really think about things like that-I make connections between things, tie things together. This is why I was a history major in undergrad and grad school. I love kind of like digging into what how things work and why they work the way they do. I know I have to be intentional about adding humor and lightning things up in my own talks, otherwise they will be really serious. So that's one of the things that we do when we work with you and our clients. And when I do my own talks using our signature talk canvas as we lay out all of the content from beginning to end, and then we go back and add layers. And one of the layers that we go back is to make sure we're adding humor, whether it's a funny video clip or just kind of.

Carol Cox:
King Breaking the tension after a more serious story or a serious point or an example or an anecdote, just to add a little bit of humor. Like I said, I'll talk more about this in a future episode based on these trends. Here are some action steps, some questions that you can consider. Number one, how can you start using these AI tools to enhance your own work? Really, they they can be extremely helpful. I've been using it to think of podcast episodes to to write first drafts of emails and things like that. So definitely see how you how you can work with them. The second thing is how can you start shifting your marketing strategy away from the time spent seeking mass audiences to instead of nurturing relationships and community? And this isn't easy because we have been trained over the years and this online entrepreneurship online marketing world to constantly post, to get more followers, to get more likes, to get more people on our email lists, more and more and more. And at some point there's diminishing returns to that. And at some point it just doesn't it doesn't feel as enjoyable and as meaningful. So I know that one of the things that we're doing here is speaking your brand is definitely shifting our marketing strategy more to nurturing relationships and community.

Carol Cox:
So you're going to see that evolved during this year. The third action step question to consider is where can you get involved locally and how can you incorporate in-person activities into your business? And then number four, how can you add more fun and humor to your presentations? If you would like to work together on your thought, leadership and signature talk, I invite you to enroll in our Thought Leader Academy. You can get all of the details at speaking your brand dot com slash academy. You're also invited to attend or in person client retreat speaking intensive. That is happening at the end of February 2023 in Orlando, Florida is three days where we're in person working on your speaking segments, practicing on our stage and getting professional filming. You can get all of those details at speaking your brand retreat again, that's speaking your brand dot com slash retreat. Did you enjoy this episode? If you did, I would love it If you would share it with a friend or a colleague, you can text the episode to them right from the share button in your podcast app. So if you're an Apple podcast or Spotify or any other app, there should be a share button in there somewhere. Just text it to them because this is how the podcast grows is really through those one on one relationships and I so appreciate you. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

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  1. Betty Pierce on January 2, 2023 at 10:27 pm

    Read the transcript on this episode and it was a WOW!

    Thanks for your continued insights and thoughtful information as a leader in your field.

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