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Heidi Parr Kerner is a Speaker, Coach and former Psychotherapist, networking queen and founder of Coffee Club Divas. She has positioned herself as a leader in the arena of Women's Empowerment, Business Networking, Motivational Speaking, Sales Training, and Transformational Change.
Heidi's coast-to-coast career spans 25+ years and includes roles as a career coach, group facilitator, certified seminar leader, radio host, actress/producer, marketing consultant, author, and keynote speaker. She provides Step by step guidance to assist others out of their comfort zone and live boldly and confidently in their business and personal lives. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profits, universities, hospitals, and professional associations. As a seasoned business owner and marketing consultant, she is especially passionate about mentoring women entrepreneurs and professionals.
On a personal note, Heidi is very involved in community theater, the arts, dancing and performing locally. She loves to travel with her husband, Phil.
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Networking is one of the primary tools Heidi uses to assist others in building confidence and creating professional success. Heidi established and subsequently sold, several successful network marketing groups in L.A. and PA. The Coffee Clubs Divas is the networking group that Heidi currently leads in her hometown of Erie, PA. Step inside any Coffee Club Diva event and you’ll witness the charismatic Heidi Parr-Kerner inspiring women to reach for confidence and clarity in their lives.
Heidi doesn’t preach theoretical hype, she “walks the walk and talks the talk!” She is the epitome of positive personal transformation! Heidi is a reformed introvert, and familiar with the debilitating fear of public speaking. Painfully shy, Heidi would hide at networking events to avoid interacting with other people. But through her degreed education and observing human behavior, Heidi transformed herself from a fading wallflower to the passionate self-esteem coach that she is today!
It was her role of psychoanalyst and group therapist that fostered a desire to help people become more confident in their personal and professional lives. Heidi has developed several seminars and programs, providing step-by-step guidance to assist others out of their comfort zones, live intentionally and boldly and confidently improve their business and personal lives.
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6 Minutes To Speaking Success With Heidi Parr Kerner
I am looking forward to sharing an industry expert with you. I am excited because we are going to talk about something that whether you are thinking about becoming a speaker, a seasoned speaker, a paid speaker, or maybe you waive your fee when you speak. Whatever the case may be, the first six minutes when you start speaking will make all the difference to your speaking success. I am going to give you a little sneak peek. You are going to want to make sure that you stay until the very end of this episode because the gift that our guest is going to give is so over the top. It blew my mind.
Let me tell you a little bit about our guest. Heidi Parr Kerner is a speaker, coach, and former psychotherapist, networking queen, and Founder of Coffee Club Divas. She has positioned herself as a leader in the arena of women empowerment, business networking, motivational speaking, sales training, and transformational change.
Her coast-to-coast career spans several years and includes the roles as a career coach, group facilitator, certified seminar leader, radio host, actress, producer, marketing consultant, author, and keynote speaker. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, nonprofits, universities, hospitals, and professional associations. She is so passionate about mentoring women, entrepreneurs, and professionals. Let me bring her on.
Thank you so much for being here, Heidi Parr Kerner.
Patty, thank you so much. I am so excited to be here with you and on your show. You are a celebrity so I am happy to be in your presence here.
Thank you so much. As I shared with everybody when I was reading your very impressive bio, you have done a lot of things. It is been a journey. You could not have accomplished all those things without there being somewhat of a journey. We are going to focus a little bit more on speaking success so I do want to share a little bit.
A lot of times when people hear seasoned speakers and people that they think are successful, it is like how they think about networking like, “You are a master networker.” They think you were born naturally that way. It is a skill and so is becoming a speaker. Becoming a good speaker does not happen naturally. There is some work to it. Let’s talk a little bit first about your journey through those things and how you became and got to wake up one day saying, “This is how I want to serve and help women.” You do it in so many ways but in this way, let’s talk about how you got there a little bit about the story and journey.
First of all, I love the word when you say serve. One thing that is missing from my bio as I am eliciting myself and I am going to start sticking it in there is what people do not often know is that I call myself a recovering introvert. I am not one of those people that was born with charisma, confidence, or anything else. I was the geeky little shy girl in the corner. Even at networking events, I used to hide in the ladies’ room because I did not know what to say and do. What I love to share with my clients and audiences is, “When you learn skills, tips, and tools, anybody can become a speaker. If I can do it, you can do it.” I was not born this way at all.
Through time working my past as a therapist and getting into marketing for psychiatric facilities, I found a networking organization, Globe Networking, and I worked behind the scenes at the networking on the phone and selling memberships, things of that nature. I saw all these women in the networking group how powerful they were and how they were owning their confidence by speaking. I thought, “I want to get out there.”
There is a little bit of a frustrated actress in me. There is a part that is like, “How could I get on stage?” I went the old-fashioned way. I hired a speaking coach, kicked and screamed, and took classes. There was a part of me that said, “How can I combine my Master’s in Psychology? I love helping people. I am good at marketing and selling. There is a part of me that wants to be on stage. How can I do that?” That is how the speaking journey began.
It is doing an internship, going on the road, crying a lot, and getting booed off the stage. I have gone to Toastmasters, made a fool of myself, and the ugly stories that I like telling people only to let them know I have done it all. That does not just happen. That is why I love empowering. If people have a whispering in their souls that they have a story or they want to get their services or products out there, that is a yes. With training, specific tools, and techniques, they can make a difference for themselves and others.
That makes so much sense because, for those who do not know my story, I accidentally became a speaker. With that said, I remember years ago thinking, “I could never be a speaker,” because I did not think I was eloquent enough. I remember hiring a speaking coach and saying that one of the reasons why I did not think I could be a speaker was because I did not want to wear what I call soap opera dresses. I did not want to wear those types of dresses. That was not me.
Although, I do wear heels all the time but not like stiletto pumps with soap opera dresses. I thought, “I am not going to be like Patricia Fripp.” I was not going to be able to get up there, be eloquent, make a point, take a pause, and all of those things. I was like, “That is not me.” I feel like you called it old-fashioned but sometimes the old-fashioned ways are still the ways that worked.
She said to me, “Here is the key, Patty.” I never forgot it. It was a game-changer for me. She said that it was not changing me to be in front of the audience. It was getting in front of audiences who needed to hear it the way I said it. That changed everything for me. All of a sudden, it was like, “That makes sense.” From marketing and every single thing else, honestly, you always want to be talking to your people.
It does not do any good to go, “For me, I am a marketing person.” It does not make any sense for me to go and speak to a whole conference of nurses that want to get better at nursing and certification. They are not marketing themselves. If you see a speaker and think, “I can’t ever do that,” you do not have to. You need to be you.
I want to speak to that. First of all, Patricia Fripp, I used to sit in her audience and follow her. I love what you are saying because also so many people say to me, “There are already so many people out there that are teaching communication skills or how to dress for success. What is going to make me different?” To speak to what you are saying is trusting the process. We need people like Patty to help us market but to put ourselves out there, it does not matter if one million other people are doing what you are doing.
It is about trusting the right people will show up to hear the message that you have to get in the way that you deliver it. That is a beautiful concept and a mindset concept because that stops a lot of people and an excuse like, “There are too many people in that field.” I love the soap opera dress that you mentioned. Be your authentic self and the right audience will show up. We all have a story so trust the process.
In everything, it does not matter what we are talking about. The bottom line, honestly, is we are not trying to reinvent ice cream. You are trying to create your flavor. Some people still love vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, and then some like all kinds of exotic flavors. You need to be your flavor. People who love that flavor will find you. You need to make sure that you are out there so they can’t find you.
I did not know how to get up there and start speaking. I am a firm believer. My introverted and logical like the fact that I am a template queen. What I mean by that is it is a jumpstart shoe because people were like, “How do I speak? What do I do and say?” They give training wheels which helps with the confidence in which way to go to get your talk started, how to tell stories, and how to close. Many of your readers are beginning speakers or seasoned speakers. The bottom line is what are we selling? Are we selling ourselves? Are we selling a message of inspiration? Are we selling our books, products, and services? How to create that in a way that is tangible and deliverable?
There does need to be somewhat of a structure. Winging it is never what you want to do. Spending years of being a speaker, if I am giving a talk for 90 minutes, when I am putting my presentation together, I think about it for an hour and ten minutes. I know that I have been doing it long enough that when I get in front of that audience, I want to be able to connect with them. Even though this is what I am presenting on, you can sometimes tell where you need to go a little more in-depth here. As you speak longer and you get more confident about it, you know where you can go off-script so to speak.
You do not want to memorize your speech. You want to know what you are talking about. It is okay. Sometimes you have to tell this different story here. You are in front of this group of people and you are like, “This story will work well here and that serves them.” I know a lot of people think that you create this signature speech. It is the only speech you give. You memorize it and get up there like a mannequin. You open your mouth and say that. That is not it.
I do not believe in winging it at all. I do believe in preparing but never memorizing. We can feel it. The magic word that you said is connect. That is it so that you are prepared and know your stories. When you are up there in front of the audience, the first step is to let go of yourself and be present with the audience. I will come up with stories that I never even thought of before except when I am in front of that audience. They will feel the connection.
That is what makes it fun, creative, and special. That is why you, Patty, as a professional speaker myself, can do the same talk over and over again and people are like, “Aren’t you going to get bored?” Every audience has a personality. It is a whole different flavor, back to your ice cream analogy, that comes forth. Connecting to the audience is they will feel it but a lot of people bring and read their PowerPoints. That is another no-no and that does not work.
A lot of times, when someone becomes a speaker until they get a little seasoning under them, they think it is about them. It is never about us. It is always about our audience. For eighteen months, every time I spoke, it does not matter if I was speaking for fifteen minutes or an hour and a half, I violently got sick before I got on the stage. You never know who you are going to meet in the bathroom. Conversations in the bathroom have changed my life.
She said to me, “How long has this been going on for you?” At that time, it was 17 or 18 months. I told her and she said, “Can I share? Are you open to receive?” I said, “Absolutely.” She said, “You are still making it be about you. You are thinking they are judging you. It is all about what you think. It is not about you. You need to get on that stage. When you walk out, you need to center yourself and say, ‘This is not about me at all.’”
Once I started doing that, taking that moment and saying, “This is not about me, let me serve the audience and hope that what I say will change somebody else’s life.” It is a transformational thing. Sometimes the thing that you are sharing, other people are praying for. You have to know that you are the instrument. “Let me connect in a way that if this is what they need to hear, I can say it in the way that they need to receive it.” Once I made it not about me and understood that, it changed everything for me.
I have a little story I am going to share but before even doing that, that is this whole concept. It is a mindset concept. When people get a sign to breathe and all that stuff, we do that. One thing that I always encourage is a warmup act for yourself, even before you get in front of the audience, whether it is listening to rock and roll or doing deep meditation. It is like singers before they sing or actors before they get on stage. A lot of times, people do not even think that as a speaker that they need to warm up.
To your point, this is when I was working in Los Angeles for a wonderful women’s networking organization that is still in existence. I was not a speaker at that time. However, I would get up in front of the “members’ audience” to read the announcements like, “What is coming up? We have a meeting next week.” My boss at that time wanted me to read the announcements and I would shake. My hands would shake with the papers and almost get violently sick like you. I would be so terrified to do that. I look out at the audience and am be a mess.
My boss came up to me after one of these speaking engagements. I was up there for ten minutes and she said, “Heidi, I know why you are such a terrible speaker.” I am like, “What do you mean? Thanks a lot.” She goes, and this is a strong word, “You are narcissistic.” I am like, “I am a therapist. What do you mean narcissistic? That is pretty dramatic.” She said, exactly to your point, Patty, “You are making it all about you.” I said, “What do you mean? I am reading your notes or the script.” She goes, “No, you are so worried about yourself. Is your lipstick on? How are you caring? You are making it about you. You are not there to support the audience.”
After I walked away in shame the first time, like you, Patty, I got it. We are going deep already with the speaking stuff. I call it the sweet surrender. When you get on stage, I know that I am prepared and have to let go of Heidi, the ego. Sometimes, I say, “That is where it becomes a spiritual experience. Be present with the audience, Heidi, and trust what comes out.” We are on the same page with the stories. It is a concept for people that they have to wrap their heads around. Once you get it, the nervousness can go away and your presence. It is a sweet surrender.
One of the things we are going to talk about and lead ourselves right to that is what you say the first six minutes to speaking success. It is all about the first six minutes. I do not think people realize it but it is that way in pretty much almost anything you do. They say when people go to a website or somebody is watching a webinar, right away we make our decision but the reality is when you are speaking, it is more than that.
When you are speaking, you are selling whether it is you, you are the face of your company, a service, or whatever you are going to do. You do not want to blow it in the very beginning. These first six minutes are setting you up for success. Let’s talk about those. Can you take us through some of the things that happened in the first six minutes, the do’s and don’ts?
First of all, why? A lot of people know that with public speaking, you need to start with an opening or some hook. Why six minutes? In real life, six minutes is a long time. We all know first impressions within one minute, people make judgments about you so the audience will give you six minutes. My whole concept is if you do not have your audience in the first six minutes, get off the stage.
Here are the couple first before I even get into the specifics, the psychological reasons. We have to be our warmup act. Here is what happens most times. Patty, you could tell too. I could tell in the first minute if a speaker has been trained or not. Most speakers get up there and want to deliver that information. “I am Heidi Parr Kerner. Here is the number one in networking.”
We are not with you. We are checking you out. “I wonder how old that woman is. Those shoes are interesting.” We have to know people are judging us. I do not mean good or bad. They are not with us. We need to quietly sell the audience on us so there is that trust, credibility, and likability. Plus, if there is a little bit of your nervousness there, it warms you up at the same time.
My whole concept is that it has been proven that you would need six minutes, which need to be deliverable. Here are some of the nuggets to give a tease as to what needs to be in the six minutes. One, you need to have some hook. Bring the audience in, whether you want to be gimmicky or start asking them questions. You are doing it in a way so that the audience could start connecting.
Patty, we are in marketing and all about, “It is okay to sell.” I tell people, “When you are doing a speaking engagement, you are selling them from step one, even your service.” Let me give you an example. Everyone is in front of my audience and let’s say they are all potential speakers or working on their speaking. I asked them to raise their hands and said something like, “Let me start with a couple of questions. How many of you are wanting to perfect your speaking?”
They raise their hands. Look at underneath that. They are potential clients for me. They engaged from step one of my first question that they are saying, “Yes, I need help.” Another question is, “How many of you are getting paid as speakers? How many of you want to go to the next level in your speaking? How many of you, when you are doing a speaking engagement, the audience loves you?” You know this, Patty. When we are on, I am snapping my fingers, they are laughing at our jokes, and we are on fire.
In the end, they are applauding and maybe giving us a standing ovation but nobody is coming up and asking for your business card or buying your books. All the hands go up. Right from step one, I have said to them, the psychology part, “Let go of looking at Heidi, put it back in your head, and start thinking about what your pain is about the subject.” Can you speak to that, Patty? Does that make sense to you?
I called that technique getting everybody on the bus because now you know you are talking to every person. Questions in the beginning have always worked well for me in what I do. Everybody has that. An example of that is, one time, I was giving this workshop on list building. We were all talking about that. I remember in the beginning when I asked them, “How many of you here have the most robust list? You are so happy. You have a great conversion rate.” They raise their hand.
I said, “How many of you here have a list of not as much as you want it to be and you are putting your head in the sand and be like, ‘Nope?’” I talked about that a little. The third question was, “How many of you who sometimes your list goes great, you are adding 5 to 10 people every single day and other times it is like crickets?” Pretty much, every one of those questions was everybody in the room. The sooner you can get everybody on the bus, they are listening because you are talking to every single one of them.
It is a tool. There are other ones. You can tell a story. I go back to the basics. I like to pull them in warm and semi-up the questions. I see how they respond. Even virtually, I get a sense of the audience. That is always number one. Number two is one of my power phrases called the purpose. The purpose of now, this workshop or me being here, what that does set the stage. Patty, we have seen so many speakers, sat there, and were like, “What is going on? Where is the speaker taking me? I have no idea what is happening.” The purpose and power word sets the foundation for why we are here so people can feel relieved.
After reading this episode, when you are out there in life, you will hear. It is a speaker thing. You will hear speakers and ministers use it. You will see it in books, the word, the purpose. Within the six minutes, you want to let them know what they are getting. Do not get into the material yet. Tease them and have them on the edge of their seat. “Here is what we are going to be doing.” It is sharing the objectives. Do not give away the store.
“We are going to be sharing the seven secrets of how to be a powerful speaker.” It is pulling them in. It is an art, psychology, marketing language and it works. Within the six minutes, here is the juicy part. You have hooked us in. We are on the edge of our seats and it is only been a couple of minutes. We want to hear what I call your credibility and vulnerability. Why? Let me take a pause here for a moment. These six steps that I have developed are based on our four personality styles. I am a psychologist. We all have many personalities but in your audience, there are four personalities and many speakers forget to speak to all of them. I learned this the hard way.
I am going to tell a little story. When I was on the road as a speaker, I have a big personality. I like to have fun. I would get my audience up and dancing clapping on their tables. Some of the feedback I would get to the evaluations are, “Where are the charts, graphs, and statistics?” I would think, “Who wants that stuff? It is boring.” I have been doing this long enough that we had overheads, not PowerPoints. I learned the hard way. The company I worked for, let it be known and trained me, that I was only talking to half the audience. People that like fun and dance. We call them socializers.
They are usually the people that are like us.
Talk about ego, I was not taking into consideration other parts. There is going to be one area as a speaker that you are going to have to get out of your comfort zone and realize. When I learned the six-step opening and make sure that I address each personality, whether you are logical or you like to have fun, it all has to be in the six minutes. That goes back to my storytelling. Within the six minutes, it is important for the direct or logical personalities to know, “Who is this woman? What is her credibility?”
We share our credibility. I have been doing this for many years. I have a Master’s in Psychology. I am a Certified Seminar Leader. We build the story. Talking to the readers, even when Patty has given me a beautiful bio, we are not all 100% present. That is my thing. I would build in and say something like, “As Patty said, I have been on the road for many years.” We build our credibility for that part of the audience that wants to know, “Is she educated? Who is this girl?”
Within the six minutes, we tell our vulnerability and story because the socializers, the relaters, and the way you use the word connect to us is through our heart. That is why right away I share my truth that I have been bullied on stage. I used to cry with my evaluations. I ran out of Toastmasters and never went back. I teach for Toastmasters but I was so humiliated. I never went back to a meeting so that you are relatable. Those are parts of my six-step opening. I take out the kitchen timer and make my clients do it. You have six minutes. In the six minutes when it goes ding, you say to your audience, “Let’s get started.” It is building the story and connection. You are your warmup act.
I hope everybody took lots and lots of notes. Sometimes, when people read, they are trying to take all that in. I always take it a little differently. It is funny but the person who was my speaking coach is Ava Diamond. She became a very good friend of mine. She can type not just sound but word for word. It was crazy how fast she can type. We never spoke together on the same stage, which is funny but we would go to events together. We had this great deal because it is all about how we intake stuff. That is why you need to do all those.
One of the things that would happen is a lot of times when you take notes, you stop listening because you are thinking about yourself. That is on both sides. When she and I would go to events, she would take notes on everything that they said. For me, I took notes on strategy. My pad would say, “Ava, Patty,” and I would take notes. I wouldn’t worry about taking notes of everything. I would take notes on what they said. In my mind, I would think of strategies and write those down so that after, I could look at her notes and fill in the blank.
While you are hearing her, she is going to inspire you. By the end of this episode, if you have been thinking, “Maybe I can’t do it. I do not have the skills,” you do but you are not going to know what to do. Believe me when I say that she has a gift that she is going to give you at the very end. If we stopped right here and gave you the gift, this would probably be the best hour that you have spent if you want to be a speaker or even if you are a seasoned speaker. There is so much more to come.
I want you to think about it. Go back and read this episode again. Think about how you can apply what she is teaching, what the stories have made you think about for you, and make sure that you connect with her. Take advantage of her gift and I am going to tell you, you are going to be like, “This was a breakthrough for me.” Thank you so much for what you are sharing so far, which is good in those first six minutes.
What if somebody does not feel like they have a very good speech or they have a story? I remember at the beginning for me, the storytelling was what was so hard. I used to say to Ava, “Which comes first, the story or the speech? Do they all have to be my stories?” Storytelling is so important. There is an art to storytelling but it is learning how to tell a story. We all know people in our life, when they tell us stories, they are like, “My husband is not a speaker but he is a great storyteller.” Can you speak a little bit about that?
I am the same. There is an art to telling stories. I am not a natural storyteller. I got coaching on stories but here is the whole concept that I love. It is one of those little ditties. Stories sell, facts tell. I work with many people. The insurance industry wants to share facts. Even if the audience is all insurance people, they start tuning out after a while. Learning how to tell stories is an art in itself.
How do you do that? It is when you come up with whatever your point may be. For example, we were talking about the point of getting nervous. You shared a story. Do not make it about you. I shared a story about not making it about me. We all have different stories. There is also the belief in yourself that even if you do not feel like your story is important, it is.
You use a story to support your talking point. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. Address the story so that it is quietly selling you or your services. It could be somebody else’s story or a great testimonial. What I have learned about storytelling is we have to take people there. That is why this was not natural for me. Your husband is a good storyteller. My husband is a great storyteller. They take you there on the journey.
Instead of saying, “This girl also used my speaking services and she is a great speaker now.” We need to say, “There was a shy woman who was 38 years old. When she walked into the room, you would never notice her.” We have to take them there. It is an art and a skill. I still have to take time out to prepare my stories. I run my stories by my husband like, “Does this story makes sense?”
This is the work but when it plays out in the audience and you tell a story about yourself or somebody else, that is the magic. You won’t hear a pin drop. People love stories. It is so important to get a coach, learn how to tell a story, practice with a friend or a partner spouse to get those stories, and support your points so it is not just a left-field story.
There are a couple of things about that. When you become a speaker and you hear other speakers, in the beginning, you are learning. It is all about the information like everybody else in the audience. Once you are a speaker, when you hear other speakers, it becomes so much more. You are watching how they deliver and how they do this and that. I remember early on one thing that made a difference for me. I heard this one speaker and she told this great story but here is what happened. She got everybody feeling all that emotion but she did not close the loop. She takes them out of that.
You are going to tell a story that is going to get people in the mucky-muck as I like to say. You got to get them out of the mucky-muck. At the end of that, get them back for the next thing that we are going to talk about. Sometimes, people forget and do that. They go on with their point, like, “This is why you should listen to me.” They are still stuck in the mucky-muck. You have to get them out of that. That was one important thing. Years later, this still gets me choked up.
I will share this little story. I was giving this talk talking about lifestyle by design. That is super important to me. I would only be a speaker at that point maybe a year or so. I was still doing the vitally ill thing. I noticed this girl in the front had these tears running down her face. It affected me like, “Here I am. I see her in the front and out there. What did I say?” All these things are going through my mind while I am trying to deliver my talk. In the end, she got up and started running out of the room, freaking me out. I go running after her because I could not help it. I stopped her. I did not know any better then. I said, “Was it something I said?” I felt like she needed a hug.
She said, “I love what you said about lifestyle.” She was not talking about me. She said, “Many speakers think when they are talking about it that here is what you can have and do, they think everybody wants to take ten vacations a year and be a millionaire. Can I tell you what is important to me?” I was like, “Sure.” She said, “Here is what makes me pick up the phone every day. What I want more than anything is to have the appliances in my house matched so I am not embarrassed to bring people to my house.”
It got me. At that moment, I thought to myself, “You need to realize that when people come and hear speakers, the reason they are there is so different for every one of them. You can’t forget that some people want to go to their kid’s soccer games or take one vacation a year.” Not everybody wants to be a millionaire or do that. It is important to remember that everybody has their story too.
Be careful that you are not also taking them to a place that they are not ready for yet. Maybe they will years from now when they are going to see further and say, “Now, I want that,” but where they are now, they are not. Some of the people in the audience may, some not but I have to tell you that that story still chokes me up. I have never forgotten that.
It is like the lady in the ladies’ room that gave you that feedback. We have a little theme going on here, which is not make it about us. You and I are both driven and want these bigger things in life. This is a good lesson for me. I always want everybody to play bigger and go to the next level. I have some people saying, “Heidi, I want to be number two. I do not want to be number one.” I remember a woman told me this years ago when I was thinking, “How can you want to be number two?” It took me a while because that is not what I want.
Our audiences have different personalities and are at different levels but wrap it around and trust the process of who is in the right audience. Speak to all of them. I did a work-life balance stress management for all high-level executives. They have taken these seminars before. “What do we do?” I told them, “A lot of what I am going to share is basic. You already know it but sometimes, they are reminders based on where you want to go with it.” It is understanding our audiences and getting our agenda out of the way. That is a great theme for all of our seasoned speakers, new speakers, and people that are contemplating stepping into the speaking business.
I am going to shift us a little bit for those seasoned speakers so that they know that we have got some super great nuggets for them too. Even if you are not quite seasoned, that is okay. You are going to get there. I remember in a conversation that you and I had that you were talking about how in every single speech you give, you are already prepping the person who hired you for the next speech.
You were telling me, “I am already telling you that. I am speaking to you. Here is another thing that I do and how you seeded.” That is a speaker word for those who might not know. I will have her explain what that means but you did not seed it with the audience but you seeded it with the person who hired you to come and speak.
I have never heard somebody explain it better about how you get booked more often by knowing how to use the techniques. If you are a seasoned speaker, you are already using those techniques with your audience by serving and supporting them. You can also do it to get yourself booked more. Very few people talk about that. It was funny because when we got off that call, I thought, “I do that but I did not realize I was doing it.” I am in marketing. For me, I naturally did it because I was like my own client. That made sense to me. Once you said it and the way you said it, it made me realize I do not know a lot of other people who are doing it. Can you talk a little bit about that? I hope I have given you enough.
Some of you may be doing it naturally. My job is to remind you to do it cautiously. When I go in, I am working with my audiences aside from having the audiences fall in love with me so that they want to bring me back. The audiences are not the decision-maker. The decision-maker is not always and usually not even in the audience because they let their employees learn. I set the intention for the audience to be like, “Wouldn’t this be great? Wouldn’t this be the next step? I do it all the time.”
To define the word because if you do not know, it is a speaker word. What it mean is planting the seed. When I am working on a seminar or whatever it is, I know and think about the audience. What might be next for them? If they need a stress management seminar, what could be the next piece for them? I am very clear and prepared before I even go into that seminar to let it be known. I will give you the secret of what I said and what I have coming up.
Let me tell you some secrets of the trade. This is stuff that I have learned along the way from all the gurus. I like to take credit for everything. Do not allow people to be like, “This person hired me.” If they are at the meeting, you need to go over, check-in, and thank them for the opportunity. What is your preparation and needs assessment beforehand? What do they hope to get out of the seminar? What do you want your audience and employees to do differently?
First of all, I hope there is a needs assessment for the seasoned speakers prior to the audience. We are not just going in with a canned piece. If that person is at the meeting, you meet and greet, build that connection and let it be known the excitement. During the breaks, if that person is available, how is it going so far? Do you like where I am going with this? What would you suggest? You build that relationship so you are customizing. That is how you seed an audience.
I did a work-life balance for corporate via Zoom and I was like, “I have been doing a lot of seminars with this company.” I have done present yourself like a pro, networking skills, stress management, and work-life balance towards the end of the year. What do I think they need? What do these corporate women need? They need The Queen’s Academy. It is a program that I offer. That is a five-week course where we can dive deeper and not just do a one-day seminar. We can have two hours a week and keep each other accountable.
I thought, “I am going to seed The Queen’s Academy.” What did I do? These are tricks of the trade. Two of the women that were in my audience I knew are in my Queens Academy. I encourage them. They did not know they were seeding. I was not doing anything disingenuous. I had asked them prior to the meeting, “Would you mind sharing your experience why you signed up for The Queen’s Academy?” I am putting my hands up as a cop and use testimonials. Testimonials from the audience are a way to seed the next steps. It is called social proof. It is okay to ask people to do that.
Within my six-step opening, I acknowledged and go, “I have got two women here who are in my Queen’s Academy. Give them around. You may not know what The Queen’s Academy is but we are going to be talking about it later.” That was bullet one and I set the stage. Later on, I gave each of these women an opportunity to speak for a few minutes about The Queen’s Academy.
As the day went on, I seeded. “How many of you are feeling like you need more support?” The audience raised their hands. “How many of you feel like you probably need accountability for a few weeks to help you?” The audience raised their hands. “How many of you feel like you might be interested in The Queen’s Academy? Would that be something you would like me to talk to your bosses about?” Hands went up.
We are working on The Queen’s Academy at the beginning of 2022 because I seeded. I will tell you what, Patty. If I did not upsell my corporate clients and they adore me, they would never call me and are not thinking like that. They are busy in their life. It is up to me. I am an entrepreneur. Seeding is what I do regularly to sell myself and the next steps, and it works. It is putting those pieces in place. It does not happen organically.
It is not just a conversation. It is an intentional conversation thinking. It does come from service and support. I did not understand this in the beginning because I thought, “They are going to sell us.” I was one of them too like everybody else. Here is what I believe. I spent this time, whether it is time in my day virtually or I got on a plane and flew somewhere. I never walked to an event no matter how I am experiencing that event, walk in there and think, “You better prove to me why I need you.”
Why am I even there? I walk into there thinking, “Please have the steps for whatever the next thing is that I want to do.” That is why I am there. I believe that if a speaker does not offer us a way to take the next step, you are doing us a disservice. You gave us this great information. We had our eyes and hearts opened. You served us. Now you are going to leave us without giving us a way to take the next step? They can say yes or no.
The last thing I want to do is sell. You let people off the hook. If you need support and want to go to the next step, that is one of my takeaways. It is not right for everybody. You may not have the time for it but you want extra support. The women who have reached out are the ones that need support and are excited. They are writing me emails like, “Please, I need accountability.” It is a gift. That is what we need to realize when we are in marketing, own business, being a speaker, and just not waiting for the phone to ring. There are sources, speakers’ bureaus, agents out there, and networking. There are a lot of ways to get speaking engagements.
I also teach a lot of these techniques for doing your videos for social media. You can still do your six-step opening. Some of you might be thinking, “You say that it is six minutes but we know videos should be short. Six minutes and I am doing my opening.” The beauty of any speaking engagement is it can be extended to an 8-hour seminar and shrunk to 1 or 2 minutes. You could do three steps. If I am doing a video, I might ask a couple of questions like, “How many of you?”
The purpose of the video is to give you one secret for speaking success, share a quick little story and a call to action. That is the close. Do not leave them open emotionally like a therapist. They would never want to do that wrap-around. Do not just end the talk. I see seasoned speakers do this. “Bye, everybody. Thank you for coming.” What is the offer, the next step, and the call to action? Wrap it around. That is an important piece.
There should be a call to action in everything. I see people all the time go on a podcast, get on a stage, be in a networking meeting, able to give a five-minute presentation, whatever the case may be, with no call to action. A call to action does not have to be something that you are selling. It could be getting on a call, even something free, or getting this checklist but some type of call to action to move them forward where they can implement that information that you gave. I do love that. What you did talk about was a gift.
Speaking of gifts, I seeded that in the very beginning for you. We have been doing the seeding, the close and the six minutes. Once you have learned this and you have taken notes, read this episode again. You will see how we modeled it for you. Let’s talk a little bit about your gifts. Tell us what it is called, who it is for, and what it is about so everybody knows. You are doing all that for free but go ahead.
I am giving away the store. There are a lot of speakers out there. I believe in the power of templates. I have downloadable audio. It is a combination of three hours. It includes handouts. It is a blueprint to take you from zero to hero. You can sit down and even in the audio, I say things like, “Let’s take a pause. You know the audio. Go take some notes while I walk you through how to create, not just your six-step opening but your signature talk.” I call a signature talk for 20 to 25 minutes. What I love about the audio is that it is in front of a live audience. You hear juicy questions and a little bit of pushback. It makes it more interesting.
Make no mistake. I walk you through the process so that afterward, you should have confidence, charisma, and a talk in place that you can take on the road. It is the giveaway. It is downloadable. Usually, I sell that for a fee but I wanted to give your speakers a gift. Knowing that often, if you create the talk, it would be polished. This is where my call to action. You create the talk but sometimes, it is like, “I want to perfect it. I want somebody to hear my stories or work on my tone of voice that I am always available to support and serve if needed.”
Thank you so much. If we did not give you enough, serve and support you, we always ask our guests, what is your number one marketing media or money strategy?
My number one, because there is a reason they call me the networking queen, is building business relationships face-to-face. A face-to-face is Zoom and coffee. How I get all of my speaking engagements is by networking. I do all the social media things. I am on speakers’ bureaus and things of that nature. I get some gigs that way but when you build that likability and connections, that is when people trust, like, and refer you.
I believe in the old-fashioned way of marketing and my media connections. Patty, we met each other through networking and set up a coffee date virtually. That is how we are connected and why I am here sharing my tools on networking. That is the way to make money. That is it, old school. Get out there, virtually shake hands, and say hello.
How can people connect with you? They are going to want to so let’s make it easy for them.
You can go to my website, HeidiInspired.com. I offer discovery sessions there. You can snoop around. I have an upcoming Queen’s Academy. If you have any questions, please email me. I am very passionate about this. I am seasoned and in a position in my life where I want to support and mentor other people to get their gifts out there and share their stories with confidence, charisma, and courage.
You are going to want to take advantage of her gift and go to her website. Thank you so much for being here with me, Heidi, and for being so generous in sharing your zone of genius. I appreciate you so much.
I appreciate you. This is fun, a great interview, and fun bantering. I love hanging out with other speakers. Thank you. It inspires me.
We want to thank the audience. We are so thankful that you are here. I have a question for you. If you have ever wanted a simple answer to the question, “Where should I focus my time and energy to attract high-qualified ideal clients,” I invite you to take the marketing media and money assessment. In three minutes or less, you will know where you are excelling, make a few changes, and what steps to take to achieve massive results. Go to M3BizQuiz.com.
Thank you for joining us on the show. If you enjoyed this episode, and I am sure you did, please subscribe and review the show on your favorite platforms. This has been so fabulous having you here, Heidi. You make it a phenomenal day. Remember, if this is not phenomenal for you, you have the power to change it.