Using Their Voices: Live Signature Talks from Our Thought Leader Academy Grads [Part 1]: Podcast Ep. 381

Using Their Voices: Live Signature Talks from Our Thought Leader Academy Grads [Part 1] with Carol Cox: Podcast Ep. 381

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Want to know what it’s like to create a signature talk with us?

There’s no better way than to hear our Thought Leader Academy grads deliver a 10-minute section of their talks!

You’ll hear how they’ve incorporated storytelling and their frameworks into their talks.

We’ll also have a roundtable discussion about what they’ve learned from being in the Thought Leader Academy and what’s next for them as speakers and thought leaders.

In this episode, I’m joined by Sandy Robinson, M.Ed., Yewande Fadojutimi, M.D., and Joanne Lane, Ed.D.This audio is from a live broadcast we did on March 12, 2024. You can watch the video at https://youtube.com/live/1aqLfUxEAAw.


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/381/ 

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/ 

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381-SYB-TLA-Clients.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

381-SYB-TLA-Clients.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 in for a special treat, you get to hear three of our Thought Leaders Academy grads deliver a portion of their signature talk 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 TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies, and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience.

Carol Cox:
Hi and welcome to backstage with Speaking Your Brand. I’m Carol Cox, your host and founder of Speaking Your Brand. Today we have a very special live show. We have three of our thought Leader Academy clients who are actually graduating today, March 12th, 2024 from the Thought Leader Academy. And they’re going to be sharing with us ten minutes of the signature talk that they’ve been working on with us for the past two months. This is the first time they delivered this signature talk live to an audience. They have been practicing in our group zoom calls, but, you know, it’s not the same being live in front of an audience, even if it’s a virtual audience. So if you’re here, say hi to us in the chat. If you’re watching on LinkedIn or on YouTube, let us know. And if you have any questions along the way, please let us know. After each of the three of them deliver their ten minute section, we’re going to have a round table discussion about what they’ve learned about creating their signature talk storytelling, use of humor, use of slides, and so much more. So let’s go ahead and get it started. First up we have Sandy Robinson. Sandy has had a career in corporate in revenue operations, and her signature talk is all around reimagining Revops. So reimagining revenue operations, bringing methodology, process and technology together for sales success. So I’m going to hand it over to Sandy and she’s going to kick us off.

Sandy Robinson:
Thanks so much, Carol. Appreciate it. $70 billion. Think about that number $70 billion. This is the amount companies spend annually on what you might be thinking. They’re spending it on travel, on entertainment maybe office supplies I don’t know. But that number according to the Harvard Business Review, is what companies spend on sales training. Crazy, right? Sales training. That’s about $1,500 per sales person. That’s about 20% more than companies spend on training for any other department. And thanks for that good old forgetting curve. Your people are going to forget 90% of that sales training that they learned. It’s like, Holy cow, we all have training budgets. So what you might want to do is walk out the back door of your office, go down the parking lot, open up the dumpster, take your training budget, drop it in, light a match and watch it burn. That’s what happens due to the forgetting curve. And I mean, I think a lot of you can relate to this. It’s a challenge, right? We want to bring sales training to improve results and to do all these things. And I want you to take me with to come with me on a little story that I have for you. So I want you to picture this. You’re getting ready to go to a sales meeting. The results? They’re not looking so great. The last five months, you guys haven’t hit the numbers. It’s month after month. And man, you’re dreading this Monday morning meeting. So you’re walking down the hall to your manager’s office, or maybe you’re on your zoom call.

Sandy Robinson:
Ladies, you’re fixing up your hair, getting your filters on. Guys. You’re like, do my pants or my pants on? You get into your zoom and you get to the sales meeting and you’re just dreading this, and your crew comes into the room. And this guy, he’s like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross talking about, do you guys have a set of steak knives? And he’s screaming at everybody, why aren’t we making the numbers? I know what we need to do. We need to put in a new sales training program. We need to roll out a new methodology. And you guys are going, oh, my gosh. And I think a lot of us have been there. Maybe some of you right now are rolling a training program out because of results, and you’re trying to improve them. And this is a challenge that we all face. The problem is that we sometimes try to slap training on something, and there may be additional underlying problems. And then what ends up happening is the team is running around saying, well, that’s just the flavor of the week. This thing is never going to last. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? And these trainings don’t stick. And the problem with that is, is again, we remember that forgetting curve. We tend to have an event, have a new methodology. Maybe it’s a new process we’re trying to roll out. And then we expect, you know, everybody’s going to do it and everything’s going to be just great.

Sandy Robinson:
But what happens is after a couple of weeks, we start to forget this thing kind of dies off. And then the sales folks are going, yep, see, I told you it’s just the flavor of the week. And then there goes your your training budget. It’s continuing to simmer in those flames. So I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been doing this over 20 years and in revenue operations, sales, operations. I’ve run different training programs in revenue enablement, and I’ve seen my fair share of trainings go up in flames. Right. And I’ve rolled out successful programs and equally unsuccessful programs. It based on what I’ve done and what I’ve learned, I realize that there’s more to rolling out a new initiative or a new methodology than just having it out there for people to see. You have to put a framework together, and this framework involves the methodology. So whatever the initiative is that you’re rolling out, whatever the new sales training is, and then ingrain it into your process. So the way that works is with your customer journey, your your customer journey maps your sales process. At what step do they need to enable some of this training? When do they need to have these conversations? When are they actually applying this? And then having everything layered into your technology, your revenue technology. So that might be your CRM, your call intelligence tool, whatever the tools are to make it sticky to where everywhere people look in your organization, they are talking about the thing that you’re working on.

Sandy Robinson:
They’re talking about your training. They’re talking about the new methodology, the new go to market initiative, whatever that may be, because it’s fully ingrained in everything that they do, from the coaching conversations to the sales process maps to the inbound marketing process, to the technology that they’re working with every single day. In order to do this, what I’ve found is that organizations are often disjointed. They’re often, you know, different silos and different areas. You might have marketing over here, you might have sales over here, you have customer success over here. And there are teams that work to this to bring this together, revenue operations teams and revenue enablement teams. And these teams sometimes even report to different folks on their own end. Some of them might report to the chief revenue officer or to the chief marketing officer. We don’t know. But the point is they need to work together. So in your organization in order to pull off a new methodology to optimize that $70 billion, like Islands in the stream or Ebony and Ivory with Michael and Paul or Senorita, all of these duets work together. Revenue operations and revenue enablement need to work hand in hand to bring together methodology, process and the technology so they can work in harmony. And you won’t have to throw your training budget in the dumpster. So I’d love to talk to you more about how this works. Thank you for listening today. I hope you had something to take away from that.

Carol Cox:
Yay! Congratulations, Sandy. Fantastic job delivering that portion of your signature talk. So I just want to point out a few things for those watching and listening before we go to our next speaker. So first, notice how Sandy opened her talk. So she had that question, what do organizations spend $70 billion on? So of course, in a in a talk where she could see the audience, she would have them answering back. So, you know, attention grabber right away. And then she’s great at that vivid storytelling using our ideal story ingredients to set the stage, use the dialogue, the emotion, the action, all of that. And then you can see how she kind of bridges to her framework towards the end of that section. So what she just shared is pretty much about act one of our three act signature Talk Canvas framework that we use when we work with our clients on their signature talk. So well done, Sandy. How did that feel?

Sandy Robinson:
Uh, it felt it felt really great. Uh, it’s definitely in a virtual environment. There are different things that you need to think about, but it felt awesome. I felt like I was prepared well, thank.

Carol Cox:
You so much for kicking us off. Next we have Doctor Yewande, who is a former emergency room physician, and she’s now a therapist working with people to help them redefine success for themselves. Yewande, go ahead and unmute yourself and I’ll let you. Share with us the first portion of your signature talk.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Awesome. Thank you so much, Carol, and thank you everyone for being here today. Um, I’d like before I get started, I’d like everyone to let me know when you were about 5 or 6 years old, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Um, did you know that you wanted to be a lawyer? Did you know you wanted to be an artist? Did you know you wanted to be a teacher? I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. And it turns out that I became a doctor. Um, and so just in case you’re having a hard time seeing what’s on the screen right now, this is some work that my daughter did about a year ago when she was five, just graduating, graduating from, graduating into into grade one. And just in case you’re having a hard time reading it, it says, when I grow up, I want to be a doctor because my mom does. Me is a doctor. I want to help people who are sick. Um, she clearly hasn’t gotten the memo yet because her penmanship is way too legible for her to be a doctor. So that is something we’re going to have to work on. Um, but just like a 5 or 6 year old, sometimes she wants to be a doctor. Sometimes she wants to be an artist. Sometimes she wants to be an astronaut. And we support it all. I, like I said, um or Carol had said in the introduction, I’m a former emergency medicine physician, uh, now a therapist.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
And just like the, you know, the girl who was supposed to do everything she, you know, was told to do. I am the daughter of immigrants. The first daughter, um, the first of four kids. Um, I went to school, um, went to the top school for medicine, did my fellowship and my residency. Got married, bought the house, had the first baby, then had the second baby. And so I was checking off all these milestones. Um, but the problem was, even as I was doing this, I realized that I wasn’t completely fulfilled. Um, I was blessed, and I am thankful for all my blessings. But I remember that there would be times when I would, you know, after the end of an eight hour, ten hour, sometimes 12 hour shift in the emergency department, I would leave the double doors of the hospital and, you know, sit in my car, um, while, you know, waiting for the car to warm up. I would, you know, feel really sad and feel really and wonder, you know, is this all there is? I knew that there had to be more to life beyond working. Um, and I knew that there was something missing. I just didn’t know what it was. And I know that I’m not alone. Maybe some of you can relate, and you have checked off all the milestones and you have done everything you were supposed to do. You’ve gone through all the, um, check, check boxes and maybe you know, that that there’s more. Gallup did do a study that shows that there is a rise overall in unhappiness.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Um, there’s a rise overall in anger. There’s a rise in sadness. There’s a rise in physical pain, which we know is related to emotional and mental well-being. Um, and all of these things all together show that generally there is a rise in unhappiness and unfulfillment. The interesting thing, though, is that when they took the study a bit further and asked and investigated those who were happy, they found that these people had five things in common. The first four of these things were one good physical health. Two they lived in safe and healthy communities. Three they had a support system so loved ones that they could reach out to and call on whenever they needed. Four they had little financial stress and finally five they had fulfillment in their work. And so when I realized that the lack of fulfillment in my work was at the crux of my unhappiness and dissatisfaction, I got to work. You know, being the problem solver that I am, I try to figure things out and I got to work. What do I need to do to to fix this, to change this? Um, and so I retrained as a therapist. I just need to clarify that the picture on the left was a study session. So a study vacation that my best friend and I took those two drinks. Okay, to be clear, aren’t mine. Hers is the pina colada. And we’ll just call the drink on the right orange juice.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Okay? And that that was my drink. Needless to say, I took the boards, I studied, I passed, and I spent several years working in. In high acuity emergency department. Um, but ultimately, like I said, with that, you know, questioning of, you know, what what is there what more is there to life? I retrained as a therapist. Now, if you’re part of this community, you are probably like a woman like me who whenever you do something, you really want to do it well. And what that meant for me in this season was putting my all into all the different domains of my life um, retraining, growing a business, growing a community, being married, being a daughter, being a sister and a friend. Um, being a parent. Um, at the time, I had two young kids. They’re a little bit older, older now, but growing, growing my family and really being intentional about my parenting, a lot of what that looked like was setting an example for my daughter, who was probably about three at this time. Um, and teaching her to love herself and teaching her, um, you know, just all the skills that I knew would be helpful for her, how to identify her emotions, how to how to express herself, and how to love herself from the color of her skin to the texture of her hair. But the problem was, in this season, I was being such a hypocrite because I wasn’t taking care of myself, and what that meant was and how that manifested was, um, physically, I started to display symptoms like hair loss.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
And so my hair went from looking like this. To looking like this, which is always, always a really hard picture for me to look at because it reminds me of a time in my life where I, like I said, I wasn’t taking care of myself, I was pouring everything that I had into my business, into my family and everything that I had going on. I remember there would be times where I would get so overwhelmed that 4:00 would hit, and I would run down into the basement just to get a bit of a break from my family, who I love very much. But again, I’m sure some of you might relate just wanting that break. And if I needed a bit of a sugar boost, I would say, okay, there’s snacks here, grab some cookies, grab a juice box, refuel and go back upstairs for for round two. Um, certainly not a time that I’m proud of, but and looking back, it was all stress and just being overwhelmed. So I’m not saying that this is me. I’m just saying that this is somebody. And so yeah, there you go. Me and session as a therapist versus me and session as a client. And so I want you to think a little about a little bit about how what unhappiness looks like to you. What does stress look like to you? What does being overwhelmed look like to you? It may not be hair loss. It may not be surviving on sugar your kid’s snacks, but maybe it is having a hard time getting up in the morning feeling really overwhelmed.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
And maybe it is a disconnect from those who you love the most. Maybe it’s what we call the Sunday Scaries where Sunday night rolls around and you are feeling anxious. You’re feeling a sense of dread about what Monday has. You get to the parking lot and you are paralyzed because of what awaits you in the office. The truth is that yes, you’re doing all these things and pouring into every area of your life. You want your kids to be well, you want your company to thrive. You want your career to grow. You want to have a fulfilling partnership. You want to support your parents. If you’re not well, if you’re not taking care of yourself, then nothing and no one around you will be well. It is so important for us to take care of ourselves so that those around us and the things around us can flourish and can thrive. I am happy to report that my hair did grow back. It took a couple of years and a lot of self-work and a lot of stepping back and taking care of myself, but my hair did grow back. And I’m putting together everything that I did in this framework that I’d like to share with you today. And it’s called the Care method. It’s what I share with my clients. It’s how I recalibrate whenever I find that I’m, you know, going off track. And care stands for connect.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Connect with yourself. Many of us are living on autopilot and having, um, just working and living almost like a zombie. Um, and so reconnecting with yourself and reconnecting with your body, reconnecting with those who you love and not living in a silo and in isolation, connecting with a therapist. Right. And so connecting is really is the first part of this framework. The second part is to assess, assess the areas of your life, whether it is your physical health, your mental health, is it your finances? Is it your relationships? Is it your spirituality? Um, what are the areas of your life that you would like to pay more attention to? And then restore is where we start to take the action. What are the things? Once you’ve identified a couple of those areas, what are the things that you want to start doing? What are the actions that you need to start to take in order to restore those areas from where they are to where you would like for them to be? And then empathy, doing all of this from a place of kindness and a place of self-compassion. Um, many of you might be really hard on yourselves when you get into seasons like this, but remember that it’s important to speak to yourself and address yourself, and treat yourself with the kindness that you would someone that you love and care about. And ultimately the goal is to create a life that you are excited to wake up to, instead of one that you’re trying to escape from. Thank you.

Carol Cox:
All right, Yewande. Congratulations. That was so beautifully said. And I have some some questions for you. But first, let me share with the audience a few things to notice. So you one day very much opened. And with her personal story, her personal experience and her personal journey to lead us into her framework. And so this again, this is kind of act one of our signature talk canvas framework. And then you can imagine how she could, you know, with her audience, then go deeper into her care framework. And a couple of things stuck out to me is first, that you you transitioned from your personal story. So the story of self to the story of us. So from the personal to the universal universal by saying something like, so you may not have had my experience with, you know, your hair falling out or something like that, but maybe you’ve had a time where you’ve noticed how stress has impacted you, right? So that’s that transition from self to us. And the other thing in all, three of the women here are doing this today, as well as the women you’ll hear next week, are other three thought leader Academy grads is about thought leadership. And thought leadership is about the hard truths like what are your deepest truths that you know you want to share with your audience to impact things in a positive direction? So you want to talk about this. Sandy did and Joanne will as well. So you want to let me ask you about the personal storytelling. I know this is something new for you in your talks. So how did it how did it feel to do that here today for the first time in front of a live audience?

Yewande Fadojutimi:
It was scary. It’s really scary. Um, it still is scary. Um, I was telling Carol just before we started that I was going to change my slides and take some of the personal stuff out. Um, but I knew how important it was to just, you know, be as open. You teach us a lot about vulnerability and how that fosters connection. And so definitely different for me. But, yeah, um, I’m glad I did it.

Carol Cox:
Okay. Well, we are glad to, because really, that is what connects us with each other. And I can imagine people in your audiences as you present this both virtually and in person, who are going to think to themselves, wow, like you one day can really help me because she’s been through it too, and she understands what I’m going through.

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Yeah.

Carol Cox:
All right. Well, thank you so much for one day. Joanne is up next. Let me get her get her on mute. Go ahead and unmute yourself, Joanne. There we go. And we’ll get your slides going. So doctor Joanne Lane is a doctor of education. And she specifically has a long career in education. But she has a book coming out around special education. It’s called the Principal Special Education Calendar a month by month Roadmap to Building Compliance. So the signature talk that she’s been working on is to help principals and educators and school districts understand the importance and impact of special education in their schools, and to lead them, to give them a guide to help them implement policies that are going to help all students and all teachers. All right, Joanne, so let me go ahead and share your slides and you are ready to go okay.

Joanne Lane:
Thank you Carol. Welcome everyone. You know, I believe that we became school leaders because we truly wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students. I have spent 40 plus years in education as a speech language pathologist, as a chairperson of special Education, a director of special education and assistant superintendent, as well as an adjunct lecturer. But like many of you, I have also navigated the principalship. I know that triumphs and challenges of the job. I’ve walked in your shoes. I know that you wear many hats, and your job on any given day could probably look like this picture where you are just spinning plates, trying to keep everything up in the air and not drop anything. When I think of the principalship, I think of an analogy of a lighthouse. Just as a lighthouse guide ships to safety through treacherous waters, I believe a principal also provides guidance and leadership while they navigate the educational terrain, all the while trying to support a secure environment and also an enriching environment, which actually brings to mind an initial experience that I had. I remember probably within the first week on the job, being in my office, having a cup of coffee, looking over my schedule for the day, and it’s jam packed and like everything, the best laid plans. My assistant principal walks in, wants to talk to me about a recent student suspension.

Joanne Lane:
So while we’re having that conversation, I hear out in the main office and irate parent. She’s demanding to speak with the school principal about her child, who was recently suspended. Coincidentally, it happened to be the same student. But what also caught my ear was she said that her child had an IEP and a behavior plan, and she was concerned that his rights were being violated. Well, I knew this was really going to become problematic, so I had to come into my office very diplomatically and gracefully. We had a conversation. This is really a confrontation. It’s taking a long time. My coffee is getting cold, she’s simmering, and we needed a momentary reprieve. And just at that moment, the fire alarm went off. Everyone’s exiting the building, the parents in tow. We get outside the building and she says the magic words, I think I’m going to get a lawyer and sue. Well, now I have to be peacemaker, legal consultant and fire drill coordinator. But meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, why didn’t my assistant principal and teacher know about the IEP and the behavior plan? Was this impacting all of my faculty? But was there a glitch in the student management system? Maybe that information wasn’t accessible.

Joanne Lane:
So my schedule goes on the back burner because now I have to manage this. But I feel fortunate. I had a background in special education, so I knew the questions to ask. I knew the path to take, and I really didn’t have to defer this particular concern to anyone else. Now, when a teacher or parent approaches you and says that they have a student or a child that needs additional support, they want to refer this particular student or child to special education. It’s easy to pass the baton to the director of special ed and think you’ve solved the problem, but it doesn’t really absolve you of your responsibility in this area because you both share professional and legal obligations, your services and systems are basically intertwined. Underscoring a collective responsibility as well as a social justice perspective that champions inclusion and says that it is a responsibility that is borne by all, not just a select few. So I want you to imagine a tennis match. The ball is going back and forth. All right. It’s a nice even game. All of a sudden you decide to lob the ball over the net, forget about it and walk away. If you continue to do that, this is what can happen to you as a principal at some point in time.

Video Clip:
Noon tonight. A group of parents are now suing the Coweta County School District and an elementary school principal. This is all tied to a failure to report alleged abuse.

Joanne Lane:
Okay, very real scenario, one of many in this particular situation, the principal received a two day suspension without pay, had to perform 80 hours of community service, attend a mandatory law course, and also, um, had to pay a $1,000 fine. But you need to consider the ripple effect of this on the culture and climate of your building. You know, a few months ago, a neighbor contacted me about her grandchild who had autism, high functioning, and she had a lot of concerns. Her daughter, in turn, contacted me, and she relayed issues such as she felt that her child was not being treated justly in school. The Csea meeting had created a decision whereby her child was going to be placed in a residential program, due to concerns about behavior and academic issues. I asked the parent that you contact the school principal, she said. I did, but I felt like I was getting the runaround and I really didn’t feel supported. So she asked if I could serve as a parent advocate at the next meeting, which I agreed. It soon became clear during the meeting that the recommendations for residential placement were really made on questionable grounds. So by the end of the meeting, we had reversed the decision. The student was placed in all co-teaching classes with supplementary aids and services.

Joanne Lane:
And it’s doing great. Actually made the honor roll. But what this scenario really highlighted was the school’s failure to individualize the student’s needs in a thoughtful and legal manner. So this experience, as well as others, really begged a pivotal question do leadership candidates have any specific training in special education in their principal preparation programs? Now, research has shown either a lack of information or superficial coverage of training in a variety of areas, such as history of special education, pertinent law or procedural knowledge. But all of these things help you nurture an inclusive climate for students with disabilities, and really helps to give you the information so that you’re not so fearful of litigation. You know that establishing a conducive environment in your school is key, and I know that it is essential for you to learn the action steps necessary for you to reframe how you manage special education in your building to ensure. Compliance, equity and consistency. Doing so will truly help you establish a conducive environment that will help to embrace a culture of inclusivity, and that will also expand to include all of the students in your building, as well as their parents and your faculty. And I want to be able to help you make this happen. Thank you.

Carol Cox:
All right. Well done Joanne. Yes. All right. Fantastic. And again, I love the vivid storytelling. I was there with you, with the irate parent in your office, your coffee getting cold and then the fire alarm going off. Like, you know, we were all there with you. And even though we are not your target audiences for your talk, like, you know, Sandy, we’re not in rev ops. Joanne. We’re not, uh, principals at schools. Joanne, will you one day more of us are because we’re high achieving women who want fulfillment in our lives. But even even even, you know, with Joanne and Sandy, I still can understand enough of your topic from your talk. That and I could place myself in your stories that I could be like, okay, I’m not a high school principal or I’m not in Revops. But how does this apply to maybe what I do in my work or industries that I, that I’ve been in? So, Joanne, let me ask you this. How did how did that feel and how did it how did it feel to work on your signature talk with us?

Joanne Lane:
Oh, I, you know, no doubt. Um, it’s interesting to pull together all of the elements that we learned in the program, which is something that you don’t generally consider when you’re giving a presentation. It’s all very new. So it felt great to be able to see it all come together in fruition.

Carol Cox:
You did you you know, one of the things that we talk about in the Thought Leader Academy, once you have your VIP day done, where you’ve created your talk is adding layers. So things like humor, obviously the vivid storytelling, but video clips, you know, funny memes. And so all of you have done that. And I know that’s different than what the way that a lot of you approach your presentations. So, Joanne, how do you feel going forward as far as, you know, thinking about adding multimedia elements and funny clips to your presentations?

Joanne Lane:
Well, I think it’s great. I had something that I’d never really considered before in the past, but I think it just truly adds a whole new element to the presentation and enables you to have another particular focus so that you can expand upon it in other ways.

Carol Cox:
Yes. All right. Let me go to Sandy and Joanne. Let’s all go ahead and have a round table discussion to help the watchers and the listeners who are speakers and thought leaders just like you, and the insights and tips that you can give them. So you’ll one day I’ll go to you. What has your experience been like working with us in the Thought Leader Academy? Anything that surprised you and what what insights do you have to share with those who are watching and listening?

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Yeah, so I really have enjoyed connecting with these amazing, amazing women like Joanne and Sandy and just learning about different industries and learning about their work. You know, every woman that I’ve met has been really inspiring. I remember joining the first day and being like, what am I doing here? Everyone here is so accomplished, you know? But we are all we’ve all learned from each other. And it’s been it’s been amazing. Um, I love stories, you know, and I love hearing stories. I grew up my my dad is a story teller. And so, um, I’ve loved being able to pull that more into my presentations versus, you know, just giving the facts or educating and just understanding how stories can really, really bring presentations from one level to the next. And so it’s been it’s been an awesome experience.

Carol Cox:
And what advice do you have for for women who maybe, like you, have been reluctant to share personal stories?

Yewande Fadojutimi:
Embrace the process. You know, what I kept telling myself is growth and comfort do not coexist. This is only uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable because it’s a growth process for you. And so just embrace it. Trust that Carol and Diane know what they’re doing. And so even if it feels, um, uncomfortable, just go with it and the results will be so worth it.

Carol Cox:
All right. Well, thank you. And and as I, as I’ve said on the podcast before, and I say to you all in the Thought Leader Academy vulnerability hangovers are real. I have had my share of them over the years, and so it is totally normal to even if you are excited to share something personal, you do it on in a presentation or on a podcast interview, and then a couple hours go by or you wake up in the middle of the night or the next morning. You’re like, why did I share all of that? That is a normal reaction. Just know that, like a regular hangover, it will go away in a day or two and then you’ll be. I don’t know if you’ll be glad you had had had the alcohol, but you will be glad that you had shared the vulnerable stories. Haha. All right, Sandy, what about you? What is your experience been like with us in the Thought Leader Academy? What insights do you have to share?

Sandy Robinson:
Uh, it’s been a great experience every week, learning just what all of the other women are sharing and what happens in their lives and different insights has just been a great collaborative experience. I’ve gotten a lot out of working on the storytelling and getting digging a little bit deeper into the stories. I really enjoyed the group work and the breakout sessions and everything like that. So it’s just it’s also been. A way for me to kind of dig down and figure out like, how, how am I developing my personal brand and bringing that kind of all together through the stories and getting a little bit more personal about my stories? I know I didn’t share personal stories today, but this is something that I’ve been really thinking about. And throughout the sessions, the other women definitely pushed me to tell some stories that I hadn’t told before and and things like that. So one in particular, when I was like a kid, um, and it was I don’t know if you remember that one, but. Oh, yes.

Carol Cox:
Okay. Sandy. Yeah, yeah. Share that story. Can we share it or do you now or do you not. Yeah. Or do you not want to. No, no that’s okay.

Sandy Robinson:
Of course I should not have brought it up, but, um. Yeah. So I was trying to think of when I first started in sales and, uh, went back to when I was a little kid. I was knocking on doors. Uh, I would actually my, my best friend and I, um, we would pick, like, flowers and plants and put them in pots that he had in his mom’s garage. And we’d actually go up and knock on the door and try to sell them to the people. And, and and sometimes we’d sell them their own plants back in some cases. But, um, anyway, so you guys kind of pushed me to, to tell some of these stories that were a little bit different. But, um, I don’t know, it was just such a fun and safe environment to do it and to really push myself to grow. So I’ve really enjoyed the experience. And, um, you know, each week having the homework to apply and everything like that.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, that was so fun. I remember I was asking you like, you know, why did you get into sales when you were a kid? Did you like, you know, did you have the lemonade stand? And you’re like, oh no, I didn’t have a lemonade stand. But I did something else.

Sandy Robinson:
Yeah, yeah. I went door to door and I made my best friend do it, and he thought I was crazy, but, um, yeah, it was fun.

Carol Cox:
Yeah. So, like, the threads in our careers generally do go back much further than we realize. So I love thinking about that. Now, uh, one of the things that in the Thought Leader Academy then, in addition to the group calls, is you all did the one on one VIP day with either myself or with Diane, where for three hours we sat together and we mapped out your signature talk from beginning to end using our framework. And the portion that you all shared today, again, was kind of mostly act one, and the whole talk generally ends up to be about 35 to 45 minutes in total. Of course, you can expand it or contract it as needed. So Joanne, let me ask you about that. How what when you coming into the VIP day, what did you expect? Did you think we were going to get it all done in three hours. And what was the experience like?

Joanne Lane:
I honestly didn’t, um, because there was so much information to have to cover. And you were so wonderful and so enthusiastic about constantly prompting, and it was like, tell me more, tell me more. And we had all of the resources at hand in terms of the particular areas that were involved around storytelling, but just the fact that you were able to guide us throughout the whole process and give us all of the pieces, actually bring the pieces out that we can utilize in the presentation was unbelievable. But by the time we got to the end and when I looked at my storyboard, I was really surprised that you managed to fit it all in.

Carol Cox:
Yes. Well, yeah. And that’s because, you know, like, as I always say, we Diane and I sit in the shoes of the audience. So we’re imagining your audience is close to your ideal audience as possible. And like, what questions would we have as your sharing something? What else would we want to know? Or is there something we would need to know first in order for the next thing to make sense? And how? How would we, as the audience buy into what you’re you’re sharing your thought leadership like the bigger point, like we need to buy into it. How can you get us to buy in? So that’s what we think about as we’re asking you questions. Yewande, what about you? You did your VIP day with Diane. What was that like?

Yewande Fadojutimi:
I remember when we, um, we actually started on, like. Dan, I have no idea where this is going, so I’m like, you know, in your hands. I just couldn’t fathom how I was feeling at the beginning of the session, turning into the framework. And so bit by bit, you know, I think that the, the best part for me was the stories. Yes. But then actually coming up with the framework itself and figuring out, okay, what would that look like? What’s the acronym? And you know, what does it all mean and what stories are attached to each acronym. Because like Carol said, this was just the intro, the act one, and we have three acts. And so no, it was it was a fun experience in Sandy.

Carol Cox:
What about you? I know that in addition to the Thought Leader Academy, you also just attended our three day in-person client retreat. So I have seen you get so much more fluid with the storytelling, not only through the TLA, but also with the in-person work.

Sandy Robinson:
And it was the signature talk definitely helped with that going through understanding what stories are relevant in different areas and kind of trying to bring it all together in the particular one that I’ve been working on going through in each section. Um, Diane really helped me to kind of dig down and figure out like, well, what story would go here, what story would go there? And I thought of things that I totally even forgot about when we were going through it, and it just really came together. It was a great experience. And then being able to practice some of it in person as well and through these sessions has just been I’ve been really grateful for it.

Carol Cox:
Well, I am so excited to see what all of you do out on stages in front of your audiences, in the positive impact that you’re going to have on all of the people who hear you and get to work with you. And so next week, we’re going to have the other three women who’ve been in our Thought Leader Academy come and do the same thing. Diane is going to host that one. So just like this one, you’re going to hear them share about a ten minute portion of their signature talk and then have a roundtable discussion. So make sure to tune in to that. That’s going to be Tuesday, March 19th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Live on LinkedIn and and YouTube. So definitely come live to cheer them on and make sure to connect with everyone on LinkedIn. You can connect with Sandy, Joanne, and Joanne on LinkedIn right here through the LinkedIn live. Just find them under the speakers section and connect with them there. So thank you all so much for coming on and being brave enough to deliver your your signature talk live for the first time to an audience. I am so proud of you and I appreciate you doing doing this for us and for the audiences out there. If you’d like to join our thought leader Academy enrollment is open now for our April 2nd start date. We work with you both one on one and in a small group to develop your thought leadership message. Create your signature talk and learn the business of speaking. You can get all the details, including pricing and schedule a zoom call with us and speaking your Brand.com slash academy again, that’s speaking your brand.com/academy. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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