What to Do Now to Position Yourself as a Thought Leader [Thought Leadership Series] with Carol Cox and Diane Diaz: Podcast Ep. 356

What to Do Now to Position Yourself as a Thought Leader [Thought Leadership Series] with Carol Cox

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We’re continuing our new podcast series on thought leadership.

We’ve talked about finding and developing your big idea and what your signature talk should be doing for you.

Today we’re diving into what you can start doing now to position yourself as a thought leader.

Yes, you can absolutely be a thought leader – and we need you to be!

Thought leaders have an interesting idea and they’re willing to share it in a bigger way.

Most thought leaders are also public speakers because of the built-in authority and credibility you get standing in front of an audience and the broader impact you can make.

But, here’s the thing: Seeing yourself as a thought leader doesn’t come *after* you’ve done the thing.

You need to see yourself first as a thought leader and claim that identity.

That’s what’s going to align your actions and propel you forward.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What exactly a thought leader is
  • How people become thought leaders
  • Self-limiting beliefs around claiming an identity, including my own self-limiting beliefs around an identity I need to claim for myself
  • Why *you* can be a thought leader
  • 6 things to do to position yourself as a thought leader
  • How I positioned myself as a thought leader in AI this year

Get the 6 steps to position yourself as a thought leader and a lot more in our FREE guide on Developing Your Thought Leadership at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/guide/.

 

 

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox, joined in this episode by Diane Diaz. 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/356/ 

Get our free Thought Leadership guide: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/guide/ 

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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356-SYB-Thought-Leader.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

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

Carol Cox:
We’re talking about what you can start doing now to position yourself as a thought leader 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 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 and welcome to the Speakergram podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox, joined today by our lead speaking coach, Diane Diaz. Hi, Diane. Hi, Carol. We are continuing the series that we’ve been doing on thought leadership. Last episode was called what a Signature Talk Is and What It Should Be Doing for you. The episode before that was on finding and developing your big Idea. Definitely go back and listen to those two episodes as well. Today we’re going to talk about what to do now. So starting now to position yourself as a thought leader. That’s why those two prior episodes on your big Idea and your signature talk really dovetails so nicely with this idea of thought leadership.

Carol Cox:
I know you’re probably getting ready for 2024, as we all are, so I want to help you set yourself up now so that you can start doing things to position yourself as a thought leader. We’re going to talk today about what exactly it means to be a thought leader, claiming the identity of thought leader in six steps that you can do to start positioning yourself. And so, as I talked about in that prior episode about finding and developing your big idea, you want to put your idea out into the world. Doesn’t do any good to have it sitting in your head or on your computer, or just kind of like in your journal or wherever it happens to be. And Diane, I know that when we work with the women in our Thought Leader Academy, we get this question a lot where they feel kind of proprietary about their idea. They’re afraid to talk about it, whether it’s on podcast interviews or speaking engagements or on social media, because don’t know if they don’t want someone to steal it from them. I think it’s also they feel a little bit of lack of confidence in their idea and putting it out there.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, I think I feel like most of it is that lack of confidence, because I know I’m saying that too, from personal experience, because I’ve also been there where you’re feeling like I have this idea, but is it a good idea or also that that thought of, oh, but other people are already talking about that. So it’s like I had this idea, but nobody’s going to listen to me talk about it, because so-and-so is already talking about it, and certainly their idea is better. So then here comes the imposter syndrome. Here comes the lack of confidence. And then we keep the idea buried away. Never share it, never develop it any further. Never get feedback on it so that we can know that it’s a good idea. And again, I have been there myself.

Carol Cox:
And if that’s the case, then literally nothing happens with it, which means nothing happens for you, for yourself or your personal brand, your business, your career, thought leadership. But then you can’t have that positive impact on the people in your audiences who end up hearing your idea and your message and your story because you’re sharing it with them. And so here on the podcast, we talk a lot about this idea of evolving from an expert presenter to a thought leader. An expert presenter is someone, and we’ve all been there like, you know, there’s a time and place for that where you’re really primarily teaching and training to your audience. You’re passing along information to them. But really we want you to think about thought leadership because that’s about having ideas, having opinions, wanting to have a positive change in your industry or in your community or in society as a whole. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. And towards the end, I’m going to talk about how I’ve been positioning myself as a thought leader in AI, in artificial intelligence this year, which is brand new to me in a sense, as far as positioning myself as a thought leader.

Carol Cox:
So I’ll walk you through that case study if you’re new to speaking your brand. Welcome. We have worked with hundreds of women over the years to develop their thought leadership and to create their signature talk. We do that through our Thought Leader Academy online program. We are enrolling now for our next start date in January. The group is limited to just eight women, so you get lots of hands on feedback from us and from the other women. Not only do you get the weekly group zoom calls, but you also get a one on one VIP day with us to create your signature talk. It truly is life changing for so many women who go through it. You can get all the details and submit your application as speaking your brand.com/academy. All right Diane, let’s talk about what exactly a thought leader is. So I decided to ask Google to you know I just put into Google what is a thought leader. And also helpfully, their little new generative AI search function came up and it gave me an answer. Do you want to share a little bit about what Google’s AI said?

Diane Diaz:
Yes to men.

Carol Cox:
Yes.

Diane Diaz:
Steve Jobs and Bill gates are thought leaders. So there you go. That’s all you need to know. Done, right?

Carol Cox:
Yes. So gave this like helpful definition of bullet points. And then it said here are two examples of thought leaders. And I must say I was not surprised that it came back with two men. And that was it. And that was their list of thought leaders. Again, this is why we need more women. The sort leaders so that these tools, whether it’s regular Google search or search, know that, hey, women were here as well. Yes. And to to.

Diane Diaz:
White men we should add.

Carol Cox:
Right.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah. So no diversity whatsoever. Yeah.

Carol Cox:
Right. So true. Like Steve Jobs and Bill gates are very well known. But let’s let’s try a little harder. Yes. On this. All right. So I mentioned a little bit ago that, you know, thought leaders not only just share their expertise but also their ideas and their opinions. So I want you as you’re listening to think about what opinions do you have about your industry or the way that things are done. And as thought leaders, you want to be inspiring people with ideas you know they could be innovative ideas or ideas to change things. And, you know, thought the word thought and thought leader, I think is a little bit of a misnomer, because I believe the best thought leaders really want people to turn those ideas into something, like in like take action on them. It’s not just about thinking about them in our own head, but actually doing something with them out into the world. Obviously, thought leaders share their ideas and their expertise with larger audiences, offering those insights to them as well. And they and they also typically go deep into specific topics. And I know, Diane, we’ve talked about this quite a bit, that when we we talk to women is that some of them are hesitant to think that they can be thought leaders or to kind of claim that identity as thought leaders. And really actually, we see a lot of women who are hesitant to claim the identity that they are a speaker, much less a thought leader. Where do you think that’s coming from?

Diane Diaz:
Oh my gosh. Well, for sure, there’s some confidence. Issues in there. And again, speaking from personal experience, I’ve felt that as well. I think we could connect it back to that idea that Google told us thought leaders, or Steve Jobs and Bill gates, because in our minds, we think it has to be someone who has led a multi-billion dollar company or some huge initiative that got, you know, sort of celebrity recognition and that that’s what a thought leader is. Yes, that is one type of thought leader. But we forget that we can also be thought leaders. We can be thought leaders locally, within our community, within our state, within our area of expertise. It doesn’t have to be that you have some celebrity status to be a thought leader, but I think because that is what we are fed, that’s what we’re seeing. And then we say, oh, well, I don’t line up with that. So therefore I cannot be a thought leader. And then when we think of speakers, we think of Renee Brown and Marie Forleo and people like that who are on these huge stages. And I will often when I’m working with women and then they say they’re not a speaker and they’ll say, but I have done workshops and I have done trainings, and I’m like, well, that’s speaking, right. I have been on a podcast. Yes, because you are a speaker. So we I think we forget because we get we get accustomed to what we’re being told is a speaker. What we’re being told is a thought leader, and then we don’t put ourselves in that category.

Carol Cox:
That is such an excellent point, Diane. And it reminds me of the book Atomic Habits, where the author, James Clear, talks about picking the identity of who you want to be. And once you if you select the identity first, then your behaviors and your actions, and obviously then in your mindset will align to match that identity. And so to your point, you know, we see these people as thought leaders who have New York Times best selling books. And they graced stages with thousands of people in the audience. So they have Ted talks with millions of views. But guess what? They had to be thought leaders way back in the beginning, and part of their journey to get to those best selling books and to get to those stages and to get to those highly viewed Ted talks, they didn’t become a thought leader after that. They were a thought leader before all of that.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. You know, it’s so funny that you mentioned that because what he said in the book that you just referenced also aligns with my experience from way back when I was doing triathlons, which is that it was very similar, where a person would just start out doing triathlons and they would do a short distance triathlon and they’d say, oh, but I’m not really a triathlete. And then they would do the next distance. But I’m not really a triathlete because they haven’t won the Ironman. But that doesn’t. That’s not what makes you a triathlete. If you’re doing triathlons, you’re a triathlete. You don’t need to win anything. You don’t need to be the fastest. You don’t need to be the best swimmer. If you’re doing it, you are it. So the action comes first and then you you work your way into it, but you have to start referring to yourself as that thing. Whether it be triathletes, speaker, or thought leader. You have to start referring to yourself that way, because it’s not going to be comfortable until you until you start saying it about yourself to yourself.

Carol Cox:
Well, and this actually, this thought just popped into my mind. So I’ve been wanting to write a book for a really long time, and I’m struggling with figuring out exactly what I want the focus to be because it is a big time commitment, time, energy, effort. Right? It’s not like a podcast episode. So like podcasts, because I can do a different topic every single week. And, you know, but I always have said to myself, to others and to myself, I’m not really a long form writer. Like, I like writing, you know, the email newsletters, and I like writing these podcast episodes and their short form. But I am actually limiting myself. I keep telling myself, I’m not a writer. I’m like, Carol, you went to graduate school. You wrote so many long papers, whether you liked it or not. Like, clearly you can do this. So I need to adopt this identity, claim this identity that I am a writer and author, and then that maybe that will help me write my book.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. You see how that’s just a really good example of how we all do this, right? And good. Another example, I’m doing that comedy set coming up in January. I’m doing a five minute comedy set for a women’s event, and I’m going to start referring to myself as a comedian then, because because I feel like it will impact your ability to do well at whatever the thing is you’re doing, whether it’s speaking, thought leadership, writing a book, you know, doing a comedy set, if you don’t really believe you are that thing.

Carol Cox:
And you don’t have to wait for anyone else to give you that title. You don’t have to wait for someone to kind of, you know, grace you with, oh, you are a thought leader, or you are a speaker, or you are an author, or you are an entrepreneur or whatever it is that you want to be, you can claim that identity and title for yourself.

Diane Diaz:
Absolutely, 100%.

Carol Cox:
Well, let’s think of a. I have a few clients that I thought of as I was preparing for this episode, who have really are doing an excellent job of putting themselves out there as thought leaders in different ways. So first, we have one of our thought leader Academy grads, Kara Hauser, and she has a brand new book that was just published in October. So not too long ago called Burned Out, Too Lit Up. And it is a really great book. Speaking of writers, she I love her writing style. It is so well written. And so she went through our thought leader Academy, obviously working on her public speaking, her signature talk, but then took those thought leadership ideas and turned it into a book. And so that I love seeing that what she has created. From there, we also have Sharon Erlich, who was on this podcast just a few episodes ago. Diane, you interviewed Sharon and really seeing how she took her framework around her thought leadership and now has and is creating different presentations and talks with that as well. We have Dr. Nicole Rochester, who’s been on this podcast a few times. She did a TEDx talk as well as a lot of other public speaking, and she really talks about health equity and health advocacy. So she’s putting her heart thought leadership out in a lot of different ways.

Carol Cox:
And then another one who came to mind, Terry DeLuca. She was on this podcast back in the summer, and she has really and she has two PhDs. So talk about knowing how to present as an academic, you know, academics, like they are used to speaking and presenting, but it’s at their conferences in the style that those conferences are. And so she really has had to kind of unlearn a lot of how she was used to presenting in order to step into thought leadership and into the storytelling that she’s doing. And she talks about that quite a bit on that episode. All right, Diane, so let’s talk about now six things that the listeners can do to start positioning themselves as thought leaders. So again, claim the identity. Say yes. This is something that not only that I want to be, but actually I can start doing now and I can start claiming this identity and title for myself. All right. So let’s go through these together. So Diane, the first one is about identifying what ideas drive you. So this goes back to that episode I did two two episodes ago finding developing your big idea. So if you want to think about like what gets you on your soapbox, what ideas light you up, what do you gravitate towards as far as conversations and books and podcasts? Mhm.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah. Well one of the topics that I love to talk to people about is personal branding. And I think part of that is because I’ve used it throughout my career and also in teaching at the university, I talk to students about, directly and indirectly about their personal brand and sort of coach them through that and then also with clients. That comes up a lot. So I’m a big advocate of making sure that you identify how you want to come across to others and make sure that you’re doing everything. If you want to come across as a thought leader or as an author or as a speaker, that you’re doing everything to position yourself that way. So that is one of my big soapboxes and something that I get really excited about.

Carol Cox:
And I know you’ve had personal experiences throughout your career from when you were younger, in your 20s, you know, through the present day of how understanding what your personal brand is and how it’s coming across is really important, not only for career advancement, but I think just for relationship building with other people.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, absolutely. When you’re talking to others, understanding how you want to come across directly impacts how they will see you. So that helps you build the relationship and position yourself in a way that will build the relationship further toward whatever goals you might have. So it comes in to play in personal situations, professional situations, academic every way, shape and form.

Carol Cox:
All right. So perfect. So if we think about this first step. So kind of like look at what ideas drive you. What ideas are you interested in. Kind of what are you getting your soapbox about. What do you naturally gravitate towards. Then the second step and position yourself as a thought leader is to start developing your thought leadership message. So you have your idea. Kind of think of this like as your umbrella idea, like your big, your big picture idea. So now we need to narrow it down into your perspective or your angle. So what is your point of view for this umbrella topic for the field that you’re in, what do you do or believe that’s different than others in your industry or others who talk about that topic? Is it you know, it could be something counterintuitive or unusual or what do you see that needs to be changed or status quo that needs to be challenged? So that’s your how now you’re kind of pinpointing what your message is in this larger umbrella topic. So Diane thinking about personal brand. Do you have some a counter-intuitive take on it?

Diane Diaz:
I would say mine is more related to this idea of changing the status quo or seeing something that needs to be changed, and that is that I see a lot. It still happens. I did it. Women in corporate, anybody in corporate, but particularly women in corporate, will kind of give up their whole identity toward whatever they’re building in the corporate space. And then when something happens, like, for me, I got laid off and then you realize, oh, crap, I don’t own anything. As far as like, I don’t own any idea. I don’t own any thing about who I was at that job. That’s all gone. And now who am I and what have I built that positions me? And so, in retrospect, and this is what I tell to everybody I talk to, is when it doesn’t matter what job you’re in, be building who you are along with that, so that you’re building something not on the side, but it kind of runs along with whatever work you’re doing so that when you leave on your own accord or anything happens, you have built an identity and a brand that stands apart, and you can use that to parlay it into something else.

Carol Cox:
And we do have some women who come to us who are working in jobs in corporate. So they’re not entrepreneurs, they are working, but they have recognized that they need to start doing things for themselves. So not going to speak because the company has assigned them to go speak at a conference, but instead go look for those opportunities on their own.

Diane Diaz:
Yes, Jamie Tynan comes to mind for me because she is someone who was in a certain field and then started building her brand alongside that and had her own initiatives that she was doing. So she built a presence as Jamie Tynan so that they run, they work together. But you also have something separate that you’ve built on your own.

Carol Cox:
Yes. Jamie Tynan is a great example because then she got a contract for a book with a publisher, because she was a thought leader first and then got the book contract. Right?

Diane Diaz:
Right.

Carol Cox:
Love that. Okay. So identify what ideas drive you, then start developing your thought leadership message. So you’re kind of zeroing in. And then the third step is to create your signature talk and your framework. Because your signature talk is the foundation for the content that you’re putting out into the world. It showcases who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why it matters. So you’re really taking your audience on this journey from where they are to where they want to go and how your approach. So that’s where your framework comes in, how your approach, your methodology fits in with that can help them get there. And really, when you’re creating your own framework and your own signature talk, you’re creating intellectual property that you can use for not only your presentations and your speaking engagements and workshops, but you can use it for to build courses around programs for books. And we have a number of clients who had done that, just that they’ve taken the signature talk that we’ve created together and then created these different assets from them. So really, if you start thinking about putting yourself out as a thought leader is that I would be hard pressed to say that I don’t know if you can be a thought leader without being a public speaker. Mhm.

Diane Diaz:
I would agree with that. And it doesn’t have to be public speaker in that you’re on a gigantic stage at a conference in front of thousands of people. Public speaker in that you’re using your voice to speak about your idea, whether it be on podcasts or in front of a small group or within your company that you work for that you don’t own speaking to internal groups. Right. So however, speaker is defined in that case.

Carol Cox:
Yes. Because there’s obviously the act of writing is incredibly important because it does unlock certain parts of your brain and certain ideas and generates new novel thoughts in that way. But the act, literally the act of saying things out loud in front of other people, also helps you to develop your message and iterate it, and to see what resonates and to see what the audience is responding to in a way that just just just writing it down, even if you’re publishing it out into the wider world, but just the act of saying things out loud, you’ll find you are not only thinking of new things, but you. I find that you just develop another level of confidence that you hadn’t expected.

Diane Diaz:
100% agree with that. Yes.

Carol Cox:
All right. So that was the third step. So creating your signature talk and framework because that really helps to gel together your expertise, your thought leadership message, your personal story, your personal journey. All of those are coming together in your signature talk. And again talk more about signature talks in the last episode. So go check that one out as well. Step four, then, is to take your signature talk and actually go speak at conferences and events. So we kind of got there a little bit early. So yes. So when you are presenting in front of a group of. People, whether it’s 20 people, 50 people, 500 people and so on. You are naturally seen as an authority on that topic by you just literally being there, standing in front of them. You get so much built in credibility. So that’s that’s also going to give you kind of more credence, this idea of being a thought leader because you’re naturally seen as an authority. And then other people see you there as well. So then you’ll start getting more speaking invitations to help share your message, because you’re kind of getting on the speaking circuit. And then event organizers realize, oh, I can bring so-and-so in to speak at my event as well. I know, Diane, you and I have gotten so many speaking engagements from speaking at other events.

Diane Diaz:
Oh, yes. Absolutely. I think it’s interesting when we tell our clients that same thing, you know, go start speaking, even if it’s just locally to some small, small local group, they’re amazed at how once they start doing it, it starts to grow exponentially. And they do get people reaching out to them and they book other talks. And because if you’re going to be a thought leader and you’re going to grow that that presence and that message that you’re sharing, there’s a lead up time to doing that. And it’s sort of these small steps that start to lead to that bigger, um, you know, voice and that bigger space that you can speak in, but you’re starting locally and kind of growing that to wherever you want to take it, but you’ve got to get out there and start doing it. Otherwise that will never happen. Right?

Carol Cox:
Yes, absolutely. Because think about it from an event organizers point of view. They want to find speakers that they’re somewhat familiar with. Like, if I’m going to put on an event and I need to look for speakers, I’m going to if I’m at an event and I see a speaker I like, I’m going to go approach her rather than just go fumble around, Google somewhere to see if I can find someone for the unknown.

Diane Diaz:
Right. That’s a known entity. Yeah.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, exactly. All right. So definitely start speaking at conferences and events, submit speaking proposals for conferences that you find find those local groups, whether they’re business groups, nonprofits and so on, and start kind of getting yourself out there. Yes. So then number five is also be a guest on podcasts. Being interviewed on podcasts is not only an excellent way, just to kind of put yourself out there as the go to person on your topic and and in your thought leadership message. But I also find that when I’m a guest on other people’s podcasts, they ask me questions and I end up answering things in a way that I hadn’t put together before just because of the way that they asked it. And I’m like, oh, that. Actually, that was a really good answer. I need to like, remember this or go download that episode when it comes out.

Diane Diaz:
Yes, because the conversation, usually the conversations on podcasts are pretty organic, and they might have a general, you might have a general idea of what questions they’re going to ask you. But the conversation unfolds organically, which leads to questions that come up that weren’t planned, which leads to interesting conversations and ideas and new ideas. I love to be on podcasts because it I tell our clients this too is it gives you an opportunity to practice your message. Whatever framework you’re talking about in the message, that’s your thought leadership message, but it helps you also learn to think on your feet and to have those more casual conversations and work your messaging into it, which I think is good practice and good experience.

Carol Cox:
Yes. And I know that there are some listeners who just said, oh my gosh, think on my feet. That’s the last thing that I want to do. I want to have it all scripted out. But trust me, no you don’t. You go on people’s podcasts. You will find everyone. Most of them are not live. They’re recorded so they can be edited. If you really like, feel like you just freeze or, you know, you take a few beats to answer a question. But also here’s the thing. We all talk like we talk to our friends and our family all the time. We have conversations all the time. We don’t script them out in advance. You can do the same thing when you go on podcasts.

Diane Diaz:
It’s so. And once you do it. Then you find out how fun and easy it is and you get more comfortable with it. And again, it’s just a good sort of proving ground for then getting on a stage.

Carol Cox:
Exactly. And it’s also good even if you are an experienced speaker, if you’re testing out new material. Yes. So you have a new thought leadership message, or you are thinking of putting together a new talk and it is kind of new content. Not only do you get a chance to practice it, but you get to see, you know, how interested is the host in this. So I get a lot of follow up questions when I bring this up. Or does it kind of not go anywhere?

Diane Diaz:
Yes, that’s a great point.

Carol Cox:
Okay. So that was number five. Be a guest on podcast. The number six as far as ways is are positioning yourself as a thought leader is to create and launch what we call your thought leadership project. So think about we’ve been talking about thought leaders as speakers. So whether you’re on stages or in front of groups, doing workshops or on podcasts, so you can do that, but also think about if there’s another way to create something that your audiences can participate in. So you could host your own event, whether it’s an online event like we did our Brave, bold beyond live virtual summits during the pandemic when we couldn’t have in-person events, we have our in-person speaking intensive client retreat that we hold every February. So it could be an event. You could produce a podcast or video series so you can do, you know, maybe you don’t have a podcast, but you’ve been thinking about it. We’ve had a number of clients over the years who have launched brand new podcasts as a result of working with us, because it’s fun, like, it’s fun to be able to put your ideas out on a regular basis. You can do that. You can do a video series, you can write a book. You can create a challenge, a challenge for your online community to participate in. You can start an initiative. Initiative. We mentioned Jamie Tynan a few minutes ago. She started an initiative to help to get health care organizations to sponsor more women of color in health care. So she got organizations to sign on to this initiative to participate in that.

Carol Cox:
So that’s an initiative kind of a way to get industry, the industry that you’re in, to kind of advance whatever your mission is. So think of your thought leadership project as running parallel to your business, right? You’re not selling your thought leadership project. It’s not something that people are buying, but it’s something that they can get involved in. So that’s really going to give your thought leadership stickiness to over time. And rather than just one speaking engagement. So we just went through the six different steps to position yourself as a thought leader. Now you may have written those down if you did not, we have a free guide for you where you can get those six listed out. Go to speaking your brand.com/guide. Again, that’s speaking your brand.com/guide. Just put in your name and email address and you’ll get the guide. And we’ll have those steps in there as long as some other resources for you. Now I know this may seem like a lot, and you’re probably not going to do all the things that we listed in one week, because that is going to be a lot. But this is exactly what we work with you on in our Thought Leader Academy. This is why we’ve designed the Thought Leader Academy the way that we have. It’s very intentionally designed. So you don’t have to guess or wonder about your idea. You don’t have to stare at your slide deck wondering if your content is going to resonate with your audiences, or if it’s going to achieve the goals that you have for your speaking engagements.

Carol Cox:
And here’s the big one you don’t have to keep procrastinating on creating your signature talk, which I know again, like, we feel so like all these ideas, I don’t know where to put them. I’m just going to, you know, I’ll work on this later. You know, I’ll work on this later. Like Carol, me saying I’m going to work on my book later, procrastinate your talk or submitting your speaking proposals because you’re not sure what your topic is or your description, or procrastinating on asking for a speaker fee or raising your speaker fees. Like we see this all of the time. This is what we work with you on in our Thought Leader Academy. So we are accepting applications right now for our January start date. As I mentioned in the intro, we only have eight spots total for the group. You get a one on one VIP day with us to create your signature talk using our framework. Plus you get the group calls and women have really loved the hybrid of both of those. Here’s what some of our recent grads have said that they really appreciated the signature top framework and the VIP day, and the chances for feedback and idea sharing with all the participants, all the women in the group. And this particular woman said that she feels her talks are far more engaging and purposefully organized, and her message is better honed and articulated. And I think that we’ve infected her, Diane, because, she said, now I find myself making up acronym frameworks for every freaking thing. It’s true. Overboard.

Diane Diaz:
Once you start, you can’t stop.

Carol Cox:
It is true. Like that’s just the way. If your brain is wired that way, every single thing you do will find a framework or an acronym for it is. Yeah, it’s it’s a little bit much. All right. And then another woman said that she joined the academy because she wanted to come up with a thought leadership message and see herself as a thought leader in her field. And she said. She said, quote, now I have a fully planned, ready to execute thought leadership project. Clarity and feedback on my message and I have my signature talk. You’ve got me thinking about my business in very tangible ways, and getting out of my comfort zone and more importantly, out of my head. Yes, I completely understand that. And then another woman said that before joining the Thought Leader Academy, she was drowning in content ideas that she wanted to manifest, and she really needed help pinpointing the main idea and what to focus on and how. She said, I’ve known for a long time that it was my time to step into thought leadership, and I felt that something was holding me back and I needed a growth container. And the Thought Leader Academy was that growth container for her. So I love hearing that. It makes me feel like I know we talk privately about this all the time, how grateful we feel for the women who we get to work with. Like it lights us up every time we have a call with them. They are so smart, so talented, so generous, so supportive with each other. And I can’t wait to meet the next women who are going to be in the Thought Leader Academy.

Diane Diaz:
Me too. And I’m glad you shared what grads from Thought Leader Academy have said, because I. That’s one thing that I want to share with anybody listening to this is that. Usually I feel like almost universally kind of across the board, the sense from our clients who’ve gone through thought Leader Academy is that being part of that group is the thing that got them unstuck and moving forward. Because and we’ve all done this is we have some idea, but we just kind of circle and circle and circle in our heads. And it doesn’t really go anywhere for a variety of reasons. Maybe we need the direction, we need someone else to bounce it off of. But when you then get in a group with other women and you have direction and you have a sounding board and you have other people supporting you, it is going to you are going to be taking action. It’s just going to happen. That’s what happens when you start to kind of work with other people and you’re able to express your ideas, and you almost need someone to reflect back to you about your idea. Right? And it’s it’s hard for any of us to do things when it’s just us and a piece of paper or a blank screen, but when we have other people to reflect back to us, that’s when the the momentum starts and ideas bubble up and momentum starts to happen. So if you’re on the fence about joining Thought Leader Academy, join it because you will not be disappointed. You will make progress.

Carol Cox:
Yes, we you know, the grads tell us like this is the best coaching program that they have invested in because we are so because we keep the group small, because you get the one on one work with us along with the group as well, because we really want to make sure that you get those tangible benefits of the assets that you’re creating, but also the personal and professional development with building that momentum and building that confidence. And so you can go to speaking your brand.com/academy, get all the details, including the pricing, and then you can submit the application and schedule a zoom call with us because we will talk with you about what you’re speaking. Goals are what you’re thinking about thought leadership wise. If the Academy is a good fit for you, we do not do like a heavy sales conversation because I always say I want the answer to be like a hell yes! I’m so excited. I can’t wait to join. I’m not here to twist your arm like I’m just so I don’t do FOMO, I don’t, I just don’t do that stuff at all. Because we know the women who join are exactly at the right time for what they want to do. So I mentioned in the intro about positioning myself as a thought leader in the AI artificial intelligence space this year. So and I’ve talked about it on the podcast a few times this year as well. So when ChatGPT came out last December 2022, again, because I have a background in technology, I was all over it.

Carol Cox:
Like I was so excited, like, have it right, my outlines and have it write my blog post. And it was, you know, we forget now because it’s been almost a year, you know, hedonic adaptation. We get used to it. But it was magical and it was mind blowing when it first came out. We’re like, how? How can it create these like sonnets and poems and lyrics and like sales, like it was it was so cool. I mean, it is so cool and it’s getting better and better all the time, but I was like, you know what? I really want to start talking about this. I feel like it’s going to shape so much of of what we do work wise, but also just our whole society. Obviously, I want to make sure that women have a seat at those tables that are making decisions around AI because it’s going to impact all of us for years and decades to come. So, like, you know what? I really want to make sure that I put myself into this conversation. And I talked about this on that ideas episode. Is that with your big idea, you want to be part of the conversations that are happening. So I said, okay, how can I take these different aspects of myself? So I have marketing, I have obviously public speaking and communications. I have my degrees in history, I have politics, I have technology, like how can I put and obviously my advocacy for women, how can I put this together? So I started to pitch to speak at different conferences that I found, and then I ended up being selected to speak at Macon, which is a marketing conference.

Carol Cox:
Fantastic conference, highly recommended if you’re in the marketing space to go to the next one. And so my presentation topic was around how to maintain your brand voice in this age of AI. So if we’re going to be using these tools like ChatGPT, how can we make sure that the content still sounds and feels like us, that we’re not losing the essence of who we are, either as personal brands or as company brands when we’re taking advantage of these tools. So I thought that was a nice blend of it. And obviously I want to make sure that women’s voices also don’t get kind of diluted out of this generic internet voice that these tools tend to use. So I was pitching to speak. So basically if we go back to our list, so identified the ideas that drove me. I started developing my thought leadership message, I created my signature talk, and I created a framework around the brand voice canvas. I started speaking at conferences and events. I was a guest on podcasts, so I was ended up going on different podcasts to talk about AI and talk about these AI tools.

Carol Cox:
And then the six step launch your own thought leadership project. Well, I think that’s going to be a book, and we shall see. We’ll just see what happens to that. So here’s the thing about what we do as speaking your brand. Like we actually do the things that we teach and coach on. Like we use our signature Talk Canvas framework for all the presentations that we do and the podcast episodes that we put out. And so we so because we know that this is what works well. And so if you want to listen to more about that brand voice, and I did an episode in August called I Almost Got Stuck in the Expert Trap, how I created my recent successful conference presentation, because, like you, I also was like, oh, I’m going to teach and train and all these cool things that I have learned about ChatGPT. And I was like, no, no, no, no, Carol, you are you are going on the wrong direction. You need to stay in thought leadership. So I had to then constantly remind myself, as I was working on this presentation, to keep putting back this idea of brand voice, and also about women’s voices and and inclusion and diversity. So that episode you can check out as well. All right, Diane, so I know you’re getting into the comedy space. So we’ll we’ll see if you become a thought leader in comedy by this time next year.

Diane Diaz:
We’ll see about that. I’ve already bounced bounce new ideas off of you for my next comedy set, so we’ll see how it goes.

Carol Cox:
Well, we’ll make sure that we do an episode, you know, sometime in Q1 of 2024 after, because I know your comedy set is like the end of January. So we’ll make sure to do an episode all about what you’ve learned. Yes, about comedy, because comedy is a really important part of your signature, your signature talk and just presentations in general.

Diane Diaz:
And comedy can be hard. Let me just tell you, even though I’m funny, it’s still hard. Yes.

Carol Cox:
All right. Diane, well, thank you so much for coming on the Speaking Your Brand podcast, as always. And again, check out the Thought Leader Academy as speaking your brand.com/academy. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

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