Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, the podcast that teaches you how to build your dream coaching practice and how to significantly increase your income. If you're a coach and you're determined to start making more money, this show is for you. I'm master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I'm psyched for you to join me on this journey. You're listening to episode 14, here we go.
Do you like how your voice sounds? When you hear a recording of yourself speaking, are you like, “Oh yes, nice…” or do you feel more like, “Is that seriously what I sound like?” And how do you feel about speaking in front of a crowd? Do you feel powerful and confident when you speak in front of an audience; whether it’s on stage or maybe on a podcast like this one or a webinar? Or, do you get tense and shaky and sweaty?
Does your voice change when you have to speak to a journalist or a potential client or to a group? Maybe you notice your throat gets tight, your mouth gets dry, or you start talking much faster than you normally would, maybe you run out of breath? Maybe all of the above?
Well then, today’s episode is going to be extra super valuable for you because today, we’re talking about your voice. As a coach, a big part of your job is listening, but another big part of your job is talking. You might be talking to one client one on one, or you might be teaching a class with eight people in the room. Or you might be speaking to hundreds, thousands, or even millions during a media appearance. Or you might be describing your new program to a potential client and asking them to hire you and pay their deposit today.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you want to feel good about your voice and you want to feel grounded, powerful, confident, authentically you. But how? How can you improve your speaking skills and create a voice that people love listening to? Well, that’s what today’s episode is all about. Let’s begin with your Two-Minute Pep-Talk.
Here’s your Two-Minute Pep-Talk for the week. This is the part of the show where I share some encouragement and inspiration to get your week started off right, and I try to keep things to 120 seconds or less.
So imagine the sound of someone’s voice; a voice that you love. Maybe you’re imagining the deep rich sound of James Earl Jones’s voice or the grounded powerful sound of Oprah’s voice, or the laid back positive cheerful sound of Ellen DeGeneres’s voice. Some of my favorite voices are – I already mentioned – Oprah, but I also love Michelle Obama’s voice.
I could listen to those voices all day long. When you hear someone that’s got an amazing voice, it’s easy to assume that they’ve always sounded that way; that they’re just born with an incredible pair of lungs and an incredible sound. But usually, this is not the case. Most people have to develop their vocal skills, just like developing writing skills or coaching skills.
Here’s something that might surprise you; did you know that James Earl Jones was born with a speech disorder? As a kid, he was a severe stutterer. This caused him so much embarrassment. He’s be stuttering in Sunday school and other kids would tease him so cruelly.
He had to work and train and practice to overcome this. Vice president Joe Biden was also a stutterer as a kid, and just like James, Joe had to train himself to overcome this. And did you know that Gandhi – yes, Mahatma Gandhi suffered from a crippling fear of public speaking? It’s true.
One time while reading a prepared statement he’s written, he got so panicked that his vision started blurring. He was shaking like a leaf. And after reading one sentence, he had to ask someone else to finish reading the statement because he just couldn’t do it. And another time, while he was speaking in a courtroom, he got so panicked that he literally left. He walked right out of the courtroom.
Over time, Gandhi’s fear of speaking got so bad, he would try to avoid any kind of crowd, any kind of gathering, even just small dinner parties. He’d avoid any scenario where he might have to speak in front of a group.
So how did Gandhi go from being someone who could barely speak at all to being the leader of a civil rights movement? What happened is that he found a cause that fired him up so much, he realized that he wanted to speak up and he needed to speak up and hiding and being silent just wasn’t an option anymore.
His cause became greater than his fear. And when it comes to speaking up and sharing your message, Gandhi once said, “Consider the maximum number of people who will benefit.” And he said, “Serve them by solidly banging the drum for what you know to be true.”
Whoa, doesn’t that give you chills? Bang the drum for what you know to be true. Imagine being so terrified of doing something but choosing to do it anyway because you want to serve the maximum number of people that you possibly can. You’re willing to get out there and bang that drum because you know it’s going to help people to be happier and healthier and to be free.
Take some inspiration from the people I just mentioned and remember that you don’t have to love the sound of your own voice. You can improve it. And if you don’t love speaking in public, you can get past it and you can feel absolutely terrified about speaking and still overcome that.
Others have done it and you can do it too. The key is to find a cause that excites you so much that your passion, your urgency, your excitement to get this message out there becomes bigger than your fear.
So this week, whether it’s in private or in public, with one person or with thousands, I want you to be brave, speak up, make a scene, and bang the drum for what you know to be true. Pep-talk, complete.
Now we’re moving into the part of the show where I give shout-outs to you; shout-outs to listeners, clients, all the wonderful people in my business community. And today, I want to give a shout-out to two members of the Rich Coach Club Facebook group, Patty and Kelly.
So Patty started a super fun conversation about the podcast and she said, “Hey Rich Coach Club. Susan’s podcast is a game-changer. Are you listening? Every episode I’m like, yup, that’s my fave. It’s pure gold. You must get plugged in.”
And Kelly chimed in right after and said, “Every time I listen I think, no this one is my favorite. Crazy good.” Listen, I just want to thank you guys so much from the bottom of my heart. Alright, those are the shout-outs for today.
And hey, if you have something to say about the show, please send an email to my team or, even better, post a five-star iTunes review about the show or post something on social media, and you might hear your name on a future episode. I love giving shout-outs to folks in my community, so holla at me. Thank you so much for the love and I love you guys right back.
It’s time for an interview. And this week, we’re chatting with the illuminating Michelle Barry Franco. Michelle has a master’s degree in speech communication and she’s been teaching public speaking in colleges and universities for over a decade. She hosts a fabulous podcast called Speak so it Matters, which you should definitely check out. And I have so many questions for Michelle about her coaching practice, her own experiences with public speaking and anxiety, and her tips on how to prepare for a big moment like a TEDX talk, and lots more, so here we go.
Susan: Welcome to the show, Michelle Franco.
Michelle: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
Susan: I am so stoked to have you here because, listen to me, people, Michelle is the coach to hire if you have a big presentation, if you want to give a TED Talk, if you have big things you want to say in the world. And, Michelle, you and I were chatting before I started the recording and we are in such agreement and alignment, especially for life coaches who are burning up with passion and they have a message they want to get out into the world. What do you think the biggest stumbling block is for coaches who they want to get on that stage, they want to make an impact, but they hold themselves back; why?
Michelle: Yes, why? But actually, I really get why. It’s scary. There’s so many layers to it. You know, they say public speaking is about the death – that people would rather die. It’s actually inaccurate. I remember reading about this at some point. It’s actually that people are more afraid thinking about public speaking than thinking about their own death.
Susan: Oh, okay…
Michelle: Isn’t that interesting? And I find that a really important distinction and valuable in answering your question because that is where all the blocks are. It’s all those thoughts that tell us we have to do it perfectly, that we aren’t ready for this, that we’re not good enough, that we don’t know enough, that our story isn’t powerful enough, all of those things. That is what gets in the way. And when we pay a lot of attention to our thinking, it’s real easy to feel stuck.
Susan: And most people are mostly worried that what’s going to happen?
Michelle: They’re afraid that they’re going to make some kind of major mistake, that they’re going to look like a fool or ultimately be ostracized from society. Then they’ll get killed by the animals out in the wilderness. You know, I think it comes from this primal place in our brain. We are social beings and, actually, that comes from when our very survival depended upon that. Nobody knows exactly why public speaking is so scary for people, but the theory I subscribe to that makes the most sense to me is that that primal part of our brain says, if I do this and people don’t agree with me – which if you’re doing it right, will happen – then I might get ostracized and then I’ll be out in the, you know, basically I’ll die. It’s like primal.
Susan: And I love that you said, if you’re doing it well or right that people are going to disagree with you. So let’s talk about that a little bit because in my work with helping coaches build their businesses, one of the things I work with coaches a lot on, you know this, is having an opinion that you believe in that may not mesh with every person, but it’s going to mesh with your ideal person.
Michelle: Yes, absolutely. And that’s actually a foundation of what I teach my clients around thought leadership. I mean, there’s basically a path to becoming a person who is recognized in your industry as the one to go to for a particular thing. Even among life coaches, there’s all different ways that you stand out to the right people. And one of those powerful ways is the first in this three-part path that I talk about too, which is take a stand for something that matters. And it’s with that powerful stand that people can – it’s like a filter. They’re like, “Oh yes, this, yes, me.” But there are other people who are like, “What? I don’t agree with that at all. That’s not the way. I would never do that.” And that’s cool. That’s actually how you find the right people and conserve them so powerfully with your message.
Susan: Exactly. I love that. And I think that when you’re trying to build a body of work and stand for something, public speaking is a great way to do it. So I obviously, in my business, teach people all different ways and methodologies to communicate with their audience. However, I see way too man of y’all hiding behind the Instagram or thinking you can Tweet your way to the business that you want. And while social media is a super powerful tool to communicate your message, getting up in front of actual human beings, I don’t think there’s anything that replaces it.
Michelle: I completely agree. I mean, one of my sort of mantras that I’m always saying, because it’s just so true – and I hear it from my clients all the time too – there is no more powerful way to change a lot of lives, to serve a lot of people at once than through authentic powerful speaking.
Susan: So, Michelle, we’ve already sort of identified that coaches, sometimes, want to come up with a talk that is agreeable to everyone, so they end up diluting their message. But what are some of the other things that listeners here can look out for that they’re maybe unintentionally doing that’s blocking their brilliance on the stage?
Michelle: Yeah, I think that’s such an important one just to kind of underline it, that that delusion is really common and it comes from that fear, not only that we’re going to attract more people, but that we might hurt someone’s feelings along the way. And it’s really real, and so just kind of recognizing it is powerful. And sometimes, there is work to be done around how you language things. So one of my clients is a business coach and strategist for Momma CEOs. And so she really struggled with this, “I think all women CEOs are amazing… It’s not that I don’t want all women to be successful…” and she talks about that it’s actually an advantage to be a mother and be running a business because there’s all kinds of things that crossover. There’s even some research around it. Anyway, but she needed to find a way to say, hey, you know what, we all have specific advantages. Let’s figure out what they are. And I just happen to speak to the ones that are mammas. So I just kind of wanted to underline that point that if you are trying to dilute your message, it might be because you haven’t found a way to sort of lovingly share that message really clearly and in a focused way. I think the other things that come up really often are so much around – besides the fear, which we touched on already – it comes up in so many different forms. Like I said, my story isn’t powerful enough or I need to get more experience or I need to get a certification.
That will happen to me midway with clients sometimes. We’ll craft a talk and they’ll say, like, “Uh-oh, I can’t go deliver this because I’m not good enough…” essentially, I don’t have what I need. And it’s, of course, not true. It’s absolutely not true. But sometimes, what we need to do at that point is say, who are you here to serve? Because it’s really both of those things. So yes, if you’re not a doctor, you’re not going to go speak at doctor conferences. But that doesn’t mean your health coaching experience isn’t valuable to a room full of moms or life coaches or lots of other people.
Michelle: So some of it is just making sure there’s an alignment between those two.
Susan: So good. And so talk to me about – what I would love to hear is you have worked with so many coaches to help you craft an amazing talk. Can you think of an example recently where you just felt really proud of what the client presented and what the talk did for them; whether it was an internal emotional return or something big happened for their business as a result of giving the talk?
Michelle: Yeah, I mean, a few of them definitely come to mind. It is really common for – once we go through the process of crafting their talk, and really they go through that deep dive process of what is it I really want to say. And this is such a creative process and it’s another thing that doesn’t get the time and attention it needs, so it’s one of those things that gets in the way. The first thought is to just go craft the talk that comes top of mind. And you might come up with an okay talk, but when they go through these deep dive processes – so I have one client who’s a health coach and a functional nutritionist. She lives in another country and she serves expats in that country. So she’s super specific, but a lot of, like, intestinal things, a lot of digestive things come up when you’re in a brand-new country with different water and food and organisms and all that. And so, we dug deep together and she crafted this really amazing talk that she has delivered repeatedly.
She uses it in a lot of different venues. But like so many of my clients, once she had that so clearly articulated, it showed her how much she knows, how powerful that expertise is, and how natural it is to go share it in a way that just easily attracts the right clients. I’m not talking about selling from the stage. I don’t teach that because you don’t need to do that. You can just go up and be the expert and when you’re aligned with the audience, when you’re in the right place, the people who need you are like, “Oh my gosh, I want to work with that expert person.” So that has happened to her over and over again. She just speaks and gets clients. It happens with most of my clients.
Susan: I love what you said about selling from the stage, because I think so many coaches really get wrapped around the axle about this concept that, oh my god, I’m going to have to go up there and I’m going to have to be super sales-y, and while I definitely spend a lot of time helping coaches stop being afraid of sales, I do believe what you’re saying because I’ve experienced this as well. I can’t think of a time when I’ve ever sold from the stage. It’s a matter of, like you said, going up, telling stories and sharing examples from the heart and curating and crafting your talk in a way that’s super powerful and impactful, and you will get clients on the backend of that. You will.
Michelle: That’s right. It’s just natural. And I guess – I’ve actually had this conversation with some clients and various other people in my travels, and some people will say, aren’t we always selling? And when you go up there and even just share, quote en quote, about your program at the end, is that not selling from the stage? So I think it’s valuable just to kind of recognize that yeah, there are times when you talk about your program because this audience should know about it. So when I talk about selling from the stage, I’m talking about the kind that your clients are avoiding; that manipulative invisible, “Let’s not let them know that I’m leading them to some outcome that they may or may not need and want at a level that they’re not ready to invest.” I get it. I’ve been in those, and actually I’ve been sickened by the experience at times and really got caught up in it. It was years ago – I just didn’t even realize what was happening to me.
And so there is a difference between these ways of talking about your work, but it's absolutely true that when we embody the expert that we know we're meant to be, and the people I work with usually, and I know this is true of so many coaches in Rich Coach Club, they know they're meant to share their expertise and story. It's like a feeling. It's a call. And when you have that, that's all you need, except of course then you just go act on it. I'm not saying it's easy but it's kind of simple. Go up and share what you know and you serve that audience. And if it's appropriate, you let them know how they can get more of what they're loving.
Susan: I love that. Let them know how they can get more of what they're loving. And that really ultimately, I think when you do a webinar or you speak from the stage, any time you're presenting to an audience, I told this story in Rich Coach Club the other day, you probably saw it. My chicken soup example. I've been telling everybody this example. So basically you guys, over the weekend, I made a bomb ass pot of chicken soup. And I'm not a big cook, so this is a big deal. And the silver fox was working in the garage on his racecar and he came in and said, "Tell me something good," and I said, "I'll tell you what's good. I made an epic bomb ass pot of chicken soup." And he goes, "Oh, that good, huh?" And I said, "Yup, and if you don't have some, you're stupid." And I started laughing because I'm like, and that is the truth. Facts only. And I think that we have to feel that way about the message we're delivering and the business and the help that we have to offer. So obviously not calling your potential client stupid, but communicating to them that I believe in this. I am passionate about this, and I'm not going to be shy about letting you know what the next steps are. But like you said, it's not going to be a hidden process that people don't know what's happening. I'm more like, straight up, here's the information and here's what you should sign up for, and here's why.
Michelle: Right. Yeah, and one of the other things that people will worry about that often coaching will worry about is giving away too much even in a talk. They're heard that. They have actually heard that from a number of business coaches and some speaking coaches that you know, if you give away too much then they're not going to want what you have. And there is of course - there's a little bit of a - there's an art to putting the right content, of course, in a talk, but the fact is you only have a certain amount of time and you know, you want this audience to be connected with their struggle in a way that they can feel it right then, and then to serve them. So give them something of value so that no matter whether they sign up with you or not, they are better off than they were when they got there. So if you can do those two things, you actually get them inspired and into motion.
And then there will be a subset of those people who will want more than that. So back to this whole like, if you give them what they're wanting then they're going to walk away feeling really satisfied. It's almost impossible to do that effectively in a talk because if you've done a good job, you've spent a good amount of time in the beginning really like, letting them know you get it. You're going to say, "I get it. I get what you're struggling with and it's hard, you're not alone, and it's not your fault, but there is something you can do about it." Well, that takes some time and some storytelling, right?
Susan: Absolutely. So I would love to know from you, Michelle Franco, what do you think is best possible pep talk thought somebody could have with themselves before they hit the stage? I will tell you, I've been telling everybody lately, and I recorded this in the - podcast episode is called Whatever it Takes, and I'm talking with Kara Loewentheil about just having the attitude in business that because it's so hard in business, you'll try a million things that don't work and you have to keep going and I was sharing a story about how I spent all this money on Facebook ads and then people couldn't get into the Zoom webinar room and I felt like I had flushed $4500 down the toilet and I was really bitter about it. I'm still talking about it so obviously I'm still mad about it, but my attitude was I was mad for a day and then I was like, okay, around here we do whatever it takes, we get up, we figure something else out. And before someone hits the stage, like you said, it's a primal fear. Oh my god, so before these people listening do their next webinar or give a lunch and learn presentation or do a TED talk, what's some advice you have about revving yourself up mindset wise?
Michelle: Yeah, I actually probably go the opposite direction. So it would be finding the place, again, all the messiness, all the blockage, all the stuff that gets us really wound up is like, I almost picture it like, above my head. It's swirling around and if we turn away from that, you don't have to do anything with it, especially in those moments right before you're going to walk on stage, you go like, oh yeah, of course my body's reacting like this because I'm looking at all these thoughts, but there's always, always a calm, peaceful, confident, and ready you that's the real you that can do anything, that will walk you out on that stage no matter what your body's doing, no matter what your head is doing.
So there's two things that I say to people, and I often record little audios for my clients who are really struggling with speaking anxiety before they go on that they can just listen to, which is like, just turn toward that place in you that knows, that always knows, and let her walk you onto that stage. Let her start this talk because when you've prepared and you've practiced, you two will combine. The flow happens and you'll just be there because the second part of this is this isn't about you. It's never been about you. It's about them and how you can serve them. So if you just remember that, then you being perfect is just totally irrelevant.
Susan: That is so beautiful and sidenote, do you watch the show, Queen of the South?
Susan: Okay, so...
Michelle: Should I?
Susan: So it's super violent and I usually don't watch anything violent. I cannot stand it. However, it is a really compelling storyline and it's about a woman who gets sort of roped into a drug ring and she rises to the top of the drug scene, but it's a really interesting plot storyline, and she often - she goes through from episode one, man, they hit you between the eyes with scary stuff, and she goes through so much stuff, and when things get really bad, she will see her future self. She will see not the beat-up woman who is in ragged clothes. She will see this beautiful, future self all dressed in a white suit with beautiful jewelry and her hair slicked back in a bun and she gives her these pep talks.
And when you were describing the pep talk for budding speakers or professional speakers like hey, why don't you let this other version of you walk yourself onto that stage, it's the same kind of thing. In the show notes you guys, I'm totally putting a Queen of the South clip because pop culture is always where my mind goes. But I love that we could just not even reframe it, turn away from it and decide like, my future self is walking me onto this stage.
Michelle: Yeah, I love that. I've never seen the show but I've got a picture of the slicked back hair and the white suit, exactly. It's perfect. Yeah.
Susan: So let me ask you this, Michelle, how can people best learn more about you and hang out with you? Of course, we're going to have the details in the show notes, but you tell us.
Michelle: The best place to go is michellebarryfranco.com. There's lots of free stuff there. Well, I would say michellebarryfranco.com you can kind of get a sense of the work, but actually even better is probably my podcast, which is Speak So It Matters. Speak So It Matters Podcast.
Susan: And I am one of those episodes, people, so go check it out.
Michelle: It was called the Beyond Applause Podcast but at this airing, it is Speak So It Matters. But they're all in the same place so you can hear Susan. It is a much-loved episode.
Susan: Thank you very, very much. So let me ask you a fun-sy question. What's something that doesn't cost anything that makes you feel rich?
Michelle: Ooh, that's so fun.
Susan: So I'll tell you mine and give you a minute to think. So here's mine. I'm such a weirdo that what makes me feel rich and I giggle every time I unpack these. Having a huge supply of toilet paper and candles. So I'll have to take pictures of - you guys would not believe. I order my favorite candle like, 24 at a time and I get shipments of toilet paper and candles and tea and honey and if I am stocked with that stuff, I'm like, I am a Rockefeller.
Michelle: I love that. It reminds me of when I was in my 20s and I remember I was getting into my late 20s and I had just - I noticed in my cabinet, my linen cabinet, which is where I kept backup supplies that I had like, three extra bottles of shampoo, and I remember thinking like, I am for real an adult now because I have backup supply, you know? But that's not the thing that makes me feel the most rich, I have to say.
Susan: What is it?
Michelle: I would say it is like, 10:30am, sunny morning, mid-week, maybe a Tuesday, and I'm like, barefoot, dressed in something super comfy, on my deck, in the sunshine, looking at the horses. We have views of horses, drinking a cup of coffee. Because I can.
Susan: Because I can. We need a t-shirt for you that says because I can.
Michelle: I'll wear that t-shirt. That's awesome.
Susan: That's beautiful. Well, thank you so much for your time today.
Michelle: Thank you. Yeah, this has been super fun, as I knew it would.
Okay, I've got one more quick thing to add before we wrap up this episode. All throughout the show today, we've been talking about your voice and I want to share a quick tip with you, and this might sound weird but trust me, it works. Have you ever been speaking and you notice that your throat or mouth is getting dry? This can happen for all kinds of reasons. Maybe there's an air conditioner blasting in the conference room and it's really dry, or maybe you have a wave of nervousness, which can also cause that dryness, you don't want a dry throat when you're speaking because it's going to change how your voice sounds, and not in a good way.
So there you are, you're drying you, your mouth is a desert and you don't have any water right in front of you, so what do you do? Alright, here's what you do. Gently bite the inside of your cheek. Alright, listen, don't chomp down hard. Just a gentle bite and hold it for just a second or two and this triggers a response in your body and saliva flows into your mouth. Voila, no more dry mouth.
Okay, I know this sounds weird and kind of gross, but it works and a lot of actors and singers and professional speakers do this little trick all the time. maybe you see a motivational speaker pose a question to the audience and while she takes a second or two of silence to let that question sink in, she's using that second-long break to bite the inside of her cheek. So sneaky. Nobody can tell you're doing it. It's your little saliva secret.
Alright, try this out and holla at me on Facebook and tell me how it goes for you, but please don't send a photo of the inside of your mouth or anything like that. I love you, but no. Let's just not do that part. Okay, thanks.
Thank you for listening to today's episode. Your homework for this week is simply pay attention to the sound of your voice and pay attention to what's happening with your voice as you move through different kinds of conversations and topics and situations. Do you become tight and tense in some conversations but not others? Are you comfortable recording a podcast but then when you have to do a video, like a webinar, it's a whole different story? Just start to become aware of what's going on with your voice and start to make some small changes.
If you're tense, exhale, try to relax. If you're dry, bite the inside of your cheek. If you're nervous, remind yourself about your cause, your mission, your reason for speaking in the first place. And if you need a positive affirmation, here's one you can say to yourself, "My voice is growing stronger every day." Repeat that to yourself if you're ever feeling discouraged. "My voice is growing stronger every day." Alright, that's it.
Alright, thank you so much listening to Susan Hyatt's Rich Coach Club. If you enjoyed today's show, please head over to susanhyatt.co/rich where you'll find a free worksheet with audio called Three Things You Can Do Right Now To Get More Clients. You can download the worksheet and the audio, print it out, there's a fun checklist for you to check off. Just three things to do. Check, check, checkidy-check.
This worksheet makes finding clients feel so much simpler and not so scary. So head to susanhyatt.co/rich to get that worksheet. Over there, you're also going to find a free Facebook you can join especially for coaches. Bring your coaching practice and your income to the next level at susanhyatt.co. See you next week.