Ep #81: The Thought Leader Power Session (Podcast Break Starts Now)

by | Podcast

Thought Leader Friends, today I’m sharing the final podcast episode for 2019… which will also be the last episode for a while because in 2020, I’ll be taking a podcast haitus!

Why, you may be wondering? Well, simply because I can feel something else is brewing in my business and so I’ll be taking a break to tune into what’s next for myself, my business and my thought leadership.  (I have learned over the years that the way that I know what's really supposed to be next is I get really quiet and I listen in, and so to get clear on what my next phase will look like, I need to take a little time.)

But before we go on hiatus for the beginning of 2020 the year of big vision, I want to talk with you about thought leadership and really how to set yourself up as a thought leader in 2020 (and beyond!)

So in this episode, we are closing out 2019 and starting off our podcast break with a power session! This week's episode is packed with the essentials to set yourself up as a leader in your industry and make the biggest difference with your message. So many tools, strategies, and resource links in this one – you don’t want to miss it, so tune in below!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The answer to the question “how do you get on great stages?”
  • Discover the three simple steps you’ll take on the path to thought leadership.
  • How to craft a talk using my Rooftop message Talk (this exercise will help you move into your role as a leader in your industry)
  • How to craft your juicy core message
  • What the power essentials for your thought leadership are
  • Why most people are over educating and under inspiring (and what to do instead!)

Listen to the Full Episode: 

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you're on a mission to make a difference in the world with your message, you are in the right place. I'm Michelle Barry Franco and I'm thrilled that you're here. Hello. Hello. My Thought Leadership friends. So this is going to be an unusual podcast episode because it's going to seem kind of sudden to you though. It's less sudden to me. Of course. This is the last episode for a little bit. I'm going to take a little hiatus from the podcast. I'm taking an early 2020 listening in, I guess I'll call it a break, but really it's about, I know there's something else coming in my business and I have learned over the years that the way that I know what's really supposed to be next is I get really quiet and I listen in and it's been an amazing year, like the most amazing year.

So it's clear to me that if I want to hear the fullness of the next phase, I need to just take a little time. But before we go on hiatus for the beginning of 2020 the year of big vision, I want to talk with you about Thought Leadership and really how to set yourself up as a Thought Leader. I want to give you like it's a power session. I'm calling this the Thought Leader Power Session, so this is our final session. This is the last session we're going to have for just a little while, at least through January of 2020 I'm going to take a little break in January and likely be back, I'm guessing in early February, but I'm giving it a little bit of a loose, you know, we'll see. We'll see what feels right. I know that when I come back, what I come back with is going to feel so next level right on for this coming year.

By the way, it's not about this whole 2020 things. Even though I think that's so cool that we're moving into 2020 a new decade, 2020 vision, all of that. This is really just about, I have learned to listen to the calls in my own heart and soul and it became clear to me probably about a month ago or so that the only way I was going to really hear what I know has been coming is to get even more quiet in the beginning of 2020 so for now though, I'm guessing if you are like me and like so many, you're going into a period of planning and thinking you've probably been in one for the last little bit about what you want for this coming year. Right? We tend to do that many of us toward the end of one year and then as we go into the next and possibly it's feeling even more exciting and like a big deal because it's a new decade.

It may or may not be the case for you, but in the midst of all of that, I want to offer up really the power session on you into Thought Leadership. There's one thing that has been crystal clear for me across this year, the last couple of years that I will continue to take a stand for and that is that the answer to the question, how do I make the biggest impact in the world with my message and my story? How do I get on the great stages? How do I make the biggest difference possible? The answer to that question is you step into Thought Leadership. You deliberately consciously actively commit to becoming a recognized leader within your industry and when you do that, you get all kinds of cool opportunities to serve more people at a level that you just can't serve them. You can't reach that many people and make that big of an impact without this recognized leadership and that has really been one of the big lessons of this year.

I've been doing this for a long time. I know I talk about that a lot, but in the last couple of years, I have really enjoyed being in this position of Thought Leadership and it has allowed me to serve people in a way that I didn't even dream of before, which is part of why I know that it's a good time for me to listen in and see what the next level of service is. So as you plan for your next year and the difference you want to make, this is coming out on Christmas. So for those of you that celebrate Merry Christmas for everyone else, I hope you're having a beautiful day and a wonderful sort of closing out the year time. So if you're listening to this during the end of the year of 2019 we're moving toward 2020 this is the perfect time for you to really put a strategy in place, and I want to give you the power session elements to be able to do that.

If you've read my book Beyond Applause and you can do that for free, by the way michellebarryfranco.com/freebook we'll put a link in the show notes if you've read my book, you know that what I discovered when I went to ask the question, how do you get on great stages? I had a client, you may have heard me tell this story, I was finishing up a speaking gig. I was standing outside of the CEO of this organization's office and she turned to me and said, I'd really love to do more speaking. I've always imagined myself a big stage inspiring thousands of women and I'm looking at this dynamic woman who's done amazing things in the world. She's already a recognized leader in many ways. She's been in the media, all kinds of cool stuff. And I said, what's stopping you?

She said, how do you even get on those stages? She said, I know people who are running these events, planning these events, and I still can't get on their keynote stage. I went away from that conversation thinking, you know what, that's most people are asking me. They're not saying, how do I craft the best talk? How do I become the best speaker possible? They're saying, how do I get great speaking gigs? Then of course I'll learn how to be a great speaker. So that kind of sent me on this new path, a new level in my own work, and changed the whole focus of the book that I was writing at the time, which eventually became Beyond Applause, Make a Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking and In Beyond Applies. I break down really what recognized thought leaders are doing, and I break it down to just three simple steps on the path to thought leadership.

The first is to take a stand for something that matters. The second is committed to serve through that stand. And then the third is go where they gather and serve. It's a really simple kind of formula, if you want to call it that. But of course, even when you hear those high level titles of each step, there are a lot of steps within each of them, right? Getting clarity on that stand. What should your stand be? Who are you serving and how do you share with the people that you're serving in the most powerful way that you're the one who can make a difference in their lives with your message. So there's all of that about clarity of message and taking your stand with conviction and confidence that's in that first take a stand for something that matters element and then commit to serve through that stand as a really big and broad.

Within that, I talk a lot about, and I'm going to talk more about today, about crafting a talk that I call it your rooftop message talk. Some people call it your signature talk, but it's the talk that you go out and share in service of the difference you want to make in the world. So part of it is that, but part of it is also who you be. It's about, I have the five pillars of thought, leadership and speaking, and these are really about who we are as leaders in our industry. When you look at both what you say in the form of your talk and who you be while you're saying it, that combination is really about your commitment to serve through that stand. Of course there's so much more I could say about that. What I'm going to focus on today is that talk, how do you craft a talk?

How do you have a talk that will serve in that way? And also if it's your goal magnetized clients and people that you can serve so that you can fund this mission, this difference you want to make in the world. So that's the second part. Then that third step on the path to Thought Leadership is go where they gather and serve and I'm going to talk a little bit about just how you find speaking gigs and how do think about, I'm going to focus on the mindset today because we just have this one episode to give you this power session. The mindset you need to have in order to go where they gather and serve in the biggest, most powerful way possible. This combination that I'm going to talk with you about today of these three elements, a clear, compelling stand, a talk that captivates and really inspires insight in your audience members and then the third part go where they gather and serve.

Having all of those in place is going to be an excellent set up for you to move into your role as a leader in your industry or move up the leadership ladder in your industry wherever you are on that leadership path. So I want to dive into each of these individually and my goal is that we close out this episode with you having not just inspiration and great examples, but some very practical tools that you can use. I'm going to give you links and everything for this planning part of your next most impactful leadership year ever. Sound good? We're going to do this. Let's talk about your clear compelling stand. You may have heard me talk about your rooftop message. It's the thing that people say back to me the most often that stands out for them the most is what is my rooftop message?

I'm going to take you through the scenario again. So even if you've heard me do this before, I want you to come with me on this, this adventure in your mind, and really try to imagine the scene with me. Okay? So you're in this little town and the streets are full of people and these people are really struggling. They're in chaos. They're saying to each other, what are we going to do? I just feel like I've tried everything and nothing's working and I'm so exhausted and I wish I could just give up, but I can't even figure out how to give up. They're just at their and, and you're standing among them and you're thinking, Oh my gosh, I could totally help them with this. You try to tell a couple people around you, but they're in such chaos and they're talking to each other so they can't hear you.

You look over to the right and you see this building and against this building is a ladder and the ladder leads up to a reasonably flat roof. So you walk over to that ladder, you climb to the top of that roof, you stand at the edge of the roof, you cup your hands around your mouth and you say, listen to me, beautiful people. Here is what you need to know to make your lives better. What would you say? What do you want to shout from the rooftop? That's the beginning of your powerful stand. That's the beginning of the clear and compelling stand, but it's not the whole picture. So you might say this a lot of different ways and people often ask me, can I read to you my rooftop message? You tell me if it sounds good. Is it right? Here's what I want to say about your rooftop message.

It's just where you're beginning. This is really tapping into what you want to say in the most raw way possible. That's what I'm getting at there. There's a next layer to your rooftop message, which I call your refined rooftop message. And if you read my book beyond applause, again, you can download that. It'll be in the show notes. If you read in my book, you'll see examples of the evolution of a raw rooftop message to a refined rooftop message to the stand you take. Your stand is going to be used for so many things. What's most important is that you have clarity on your stand and then you print it out and you hang it next to you at your work area because I hear so commonly from people like I just feel like I don't have enough clarity. I need more clarity to move forward, and the truth is, especially once they've gone through this process, it's not that they don't have clarity, it's that they're afraid.

They're afraid that they're going to get ignored or declined. They're going to offer to speak somewhere and the person's going to say no, therefore they're going to say it wrong. All of that, which is meaningful. I get it. Why? You know, we get nervous about those things, but that's not the same thing as lack of clarity. Also it doesn't mean anything about your clarity. If you get someone who doesn't respond to your inquiry about a speaking event or someone who declines the opportunity to have you speak, but first you need to create that clarity for yourself. So again, there's a longer process that you can go through when you download my book, but what's you're ultimately going to get to, I have all these Madlibs I love to use and this one goes, I take a stand for who you serve that they can.

Again, those words might shift a little bit depending on what you're going to say, but basically that they can have what they want. So after that they can is what they want their dream come true, what I call their happy bliss, the thing they're just wishing for dreaming of but can't figure out how to get there. Then the last part of your stand, I've added this in in recent, in the last year or so because I think it's really helpful for us to be aware of the obstacles or at least their perceived obstacles. The last part of the way you craft your own stand is even if or when. It might sound like I take a stand for working moms that they can do really big and meaningful work in the world and also enjoy their time with their kids. You know, with grit, vibrant energy and focus.

Again, you'll probably say it better, but that's the idea, right? That they can, whatever their dream come true, it might be that their dream come true is that they can do amazing work in the world, spend quality time with their kids and still create enough time in their lives for peace and quiet to themselves or to get a great workout in at least five days a week. Whatever their dream come true is what you're taking a stand for and then the last part is even if they cannot imagine how it's possible right now, even if they think they've tried everything and nothing else will work, whatever their own perceived obstacles are, it's a really good idea for you to have awareness around that. Now remember this compelling stand. It's the heart of a lot of other messaging for you, but when you have that clarity, you hang it right next to your work area.

You can do things like craft your juicy core message, which I'm going to talk more about in a minute. When I talk about your rooftop message talk, you can do things like you know what to say when somebody says, Oh Hey, what do you do for work? What I call your hello intro? You'll be able to say, you know, I help busy moms feel great at work and love their life at home and still find personal time on the weekends for a great workout. What do you do? Right? So again, your own elements are going to be in there, but your stand always gives you the succinct, most important elements to draw from. Okay? So that's the first part to establish your Thought Leadership, it has to be really clear who you take a stand for and what that stand is. So that's a good baseline foundation for your Thought Leadership stand.

The second part of what you want to have in place, your power essentials for your Thought Leadership is a talk that both captivates the audience and inspires insight in them. We've done a whole six month masterminds around speaking and how to get out there and make a difference in the world. I've taught whole semester long college courses on this, so I can't go through every single element of what a great talk looks like. Now, I will tell you that you can get the only presentation outline you'll ever need, which is basically a template. It's like gold. I hear it from clients all the time that they use it over and over and over again and you can get that for free. Happy to know that you'll have that and you can get that in the get started speaking guide. We will put a link in the show notes, but it is https://michellebarryfranco.com/start I'm pretty sure that's it.

It might be http://thethoughtleadershipschool.com/start but we'll put the right link in the show notes as well so you can get that whole outline there for you. There are a couple elements I really want to highlight. Number one, you want a juicy core message. The juicy core message. This is where a lot of people get flat. This is your thesis statement, but I want you to think about it differently because a really good core stand at the center of your talk has two pieces to it. There is what you believe to be true. So what are you putting forth that they must do? What's your point of view? The stand that you're taking within this talk. So it's an element of your overall stand. I'll give you some examples. There's that part of it, your point of view, your stand, but there's also the risk or reward.

What happens if they don't follow your advice or what will happen if they do? What's the reward for doing that? Let me give you a couple of examples. Let's imagine that you have an ideal audience member, right? You want a deep understanding of who it is you serve and you've done that work as you've established your own, the stand that you take. Let's say that you serve leaders inside of companies who have high pressure jobs and families at home and they're struggling with focus and energy and way too much to do and you know that they're not getting enough sleep and you're asleep. Expert. Okay, so if that's the case, you want to craft a talk that has that message at the center of the talk. Your juicy core message might sound like if you want to feel energized and focused at work and at home, you must get a minimum of seven hours of quality sleep per night.

You hear how that has your point of view, but it also has the risk or reward. The reward is if you want to feel energized and focused. Of course, the other side of that is the risk that you won't feel energized and focused. Then you need to get those seven hours of sleep. Let me give you one more example. Let's say that your audience is business owners and they have big visions for making a huge difference in the world with a business that makes a difference and is thriving and you know they want to make really good money while they're doing it. The juicy core message might be the thriving business that you dream of is waiting for you on the other side of becoming a thought leader in your industry. Sound familiar? So there's another juicy core message. When you look at the only presentation outline you'll ever need, you'll see that there's a thesis statement section, there's a, you know, core message section.

You want a juicy core message right there that sets you up to make a case for that central stand that you're taking inside the talk, through that juicy core message. So when I said earlier that you want it to be captivating and it's captivating, when it's clear that you get it, what they're struggling with and you're making a promise that they're excited about and in both of those cases, if I've understood my audience right, then I'm making a promise that they're like, Oh, this is good. Okay, I'm hoping you're going to tell me how I'm going to get seven quality hours of sleep. You definitely are going to fulfill that promise in that way, but you're also going to help really set the for why this matters enough. This is another piece that's often missing and I want you to think about this as you think about the talks that you're doing.

Most people are over educating and under inspiring. What you want to do is help them see for themselves why this matters enough, why it matters enough to take what you're going to share and actually use it in their lives because on the day that they're listening to you, that chances are very good. That all is well. Maybe they're sitting at a conference, they've just gotten free food, they've gathered together with some friends they haven't seen for a long time or they've met some new friends. Everything is fit. They're not in the throws of the struggle in that moment. And so while they may be jotting down, you've probably been here, right? You're at a conference or some kind of meeting, you're jotting down all the cool, inspiring new education that's being shared, but all you have is a bunch of tips and strategies and not enough of your own deeper level recognition of how and where this fits in your business and why it's worth it to do the work that it of course will be to get to the place where you get the benefits that they're describing.

Yes, I can buy in pretty quickly too. I need seven hours of sleep and you might tell me to go to bed earlier and turn off all my screens. Goodness knows, I've heard that plenty of times. Turn off all my screens by nine o'clock go to bed at the same time every night. We all know what a lot of sleep advice is, but am I doing that mostly not. Frankly, even when I am, it's actually not enough. I'm still waking up at certain times or you know, I wake up at 3:00 AM and I start working or whatever the scenario is. I don't do that anymore, but I have had those periods. So again, good. Really good audience analysis means that you understand not what they're struggling with and what that struggle looks like with all the details and then when you create the content for this talk, you share it back to them like you've been spying, not because you want to be creepy and weird, but because that's how they deepen into trust and they allow the insights to arise in themselves.

One more thing about inspiring insight, which is the most powerful way to activate your audience story is so, so magical for this. The right story chosen for this audience and that means that the story is told because it will reflect back to them a sense of their own experience. Sometimes it's just to show them that they're not alone. Sometimes it's to show them that there's hope on the other side, but know why your choosing any particular story at any particular time and what you're wanting to inspire from an insight perspective, a new idea, right? An insight is a way that your audience members, they have an aha of their own. That's what you're looking for. It's so missing and way too many talks out there, but not in yours anymore. Right? That is what Thought Leadership looks like. I want you to remember the last time you went to a great talk and we need to think about what happened in the content of that talk.

Was there a moment, maybe more than one moment when you went, Oh wow, I never thought of that before. Oh wow. That is going to be like, I can totally see where I haven't been doing that in my own work or whatever they're trying to solve for you. That's what you're looking for. De analysis is what helps you get to that place. So those are the highlights I'm going to share with you about crafting a talk that captivate your audience because it's all about them and that also inspires insight within them because from that insight, you're going to get much more activation, much more engagement. Of course, I think this goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it anyway. You need a way for them to engage with you further. I can't tell you how many clients have said to me, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I've spoken, you know, six or eight times this year, and I never gave them an easy way to get ahold of me.

They would just have a thank you page that had their phone number and their email on it, which you know the chances that someone is actually going to call you are very slim and that they're going to email you just with no other prompting, no other motivation. Even if at the end of your talk they love you and they think, Oh, I'd love to stay connected are so, so slim, right? You want to make it really clear why to get in touch with you again. So this might be that you have, they can text a word to a certain phone number and then they'll get a download when they put in their name and email address. You might nurture the relationship that way. Another really great way is to say I'm doing ten one on one session strategy sessions. If you know that you are totally committed to a whole new level of health for this next year, I'm doing 10 50 minute strategy sessions for people in this room.

Come talk to me afterward and let's schedule your session. Another one that I saw work really well is that I was at a conference and the woman who was running this particular speaking event said, take out your phone right now. You can go to my calendar and schedule 15 minutes with me while we're here at this conference and I'll meet you at my table. The cool thing about that is we were all already there anyway, right? We have breaks, we have sessions. We're not really going to go to anything during. I did it and I hired them so I know it works. Those are some other ways, but you want a really clear call to action. Also as a bonus one, I wasn't planning, okay, so that is about a talk that captivates and inspires insight in your audience. Now, the third thing you want with your power pack for Thought Leadership is you want to go where they gather and serve and you want to just do that regularly.

Here's the biggest thing I can offer you here. How can you do this with as little on it as possible with as little investment. And I mean like what would I say? Ego investment of course, but also it doesn't mean anything about you if you don't hear from people. I submit to speak at lots of things where I would be the best speaker. You should totally have me on that stage and I never hear from them and I don't think another thing of it regularly. And that's because I know there's all kinds of reasons why that happens. I just get it that it's not personal. Sometimes you know that getting on stage works. Like most things, like, like sales, like getting a job, it starts with referral, right? It starts with who you know. So yes, submit to things cold. If they look super exciting, but your chances are slimmer of course from that angle, it doesn't mean you don't do it.

But the first question you want to ask yourself is who do I know? Who do I know? Who is putting on an event? Who do I know who's associated with an event? Who do I know who might know someone at an event? And of course when I say an event, I mean events that would be you know, relevant in your industry where you could really serve and you've got an ideal client inside those audiences. So I want you to come at this really playfully and I can tell you from my own experience because I've really have just done that in the last little over a year, just become so unattached to what happens. I get it that it doesn't mean anything about who I am or my value in the world, whether someone decides to talk to me about being on their stage or not, I can also tell you that as I've done then number one and number two.

So I  got crystal clear on that stand and been out there taking that stand in various ways and then crafted a talk that really is captivating and inspires insight that those two things have meant a lot more people reach out to me for their speaking events. That's what thought leadership does. So you are going to get to that place where the table start to turn, but it takes a little while. So in the meantime you're going to be reaching out maybe more than you imagined. You go where they gather and serve. Now sometimes this is going to mean you're going to do a table talk or a table facilitation. Instead of getting to stand on a stage, it might mean you're doing a breakout when you know that you would be so much better on the keynote. This is all part of the path of establishing your own Thought Leadership.

Get video, get photos whenever you do anything, so whenever you stand on a stage or in front of a room, you hand your camera to someone and you say, could you take a few photos for me? Ask your friend, ask your neighbor. Doesn't matter. Those are so helpful because you do want to create a speaker page. If you want to do this regularly, you want to be a recognized speaker and leader in your industry. Then you're going to want to have a speaking and media page and on that speaking in media page, it's really helpful to have pictures at minimum of you speaking. It decreases uncertainty for those event leaders who are going to be bringing speakers onto their stage and testimonials and all those things inside the get started. Speaking guide, I'm pretty sure we have a checklist for what to put on your speaker page if it's not there.

If you search my name Michelle Barry Franco and you search how to create a speaker page, you will get a blog post that tells you exactly how to do it. It's not hard, but you can use it like a checklist and just get yourself a page so that it's even easier to bring you on their stages. So there it is. Those are the power pack essentials to set yourself up as a recognized leader in your industry. You're going to take a clear stand for something that matters. You're going to commit to serve through that stand. You're going to share that talk. You're going to become the person who delivers that talk with confidence and conviction and a big old heart of service. When I say service, service also means making it easy for them to work with you. Making it easy for those people that you meet who know that you're the one to get them where they want to go.

Making it easy for them to engage with you and do the full transformation, right? Offer them, have offerings that allow them to get completely to the place they want to go. So it's not just let me give you a meal plan, meal plans. Cool. It might be a fun way to start it is let's put a meal plan together that will work with your particular lifestyle, but also how do we set up your whole lifestyle so that you are healthy in every way, whatever the transformation looks like, whatever their happy bliss is, their dream come true. Craft an offering that helps them get there. That's what's going to help fund your movement and also create amazing fans, raving fans that'll help you get even more and more onto stages and serving more people in the world. So there it is, my friend. There is your power pack essentials.

There are your power pack essentials for Thought Leadership. I hope that you'll take these tools that I'm sharing with you and each of these examples and just apply them directly in your own life and your own business, because what I imagine is if your business were a house, I feel like this is me walking over to the house of your business, lifting it up and like putting in this really powerful foundation that makes it strong and inviting and holding all the people that you'll be able to bring in. This is the powerful foundation. Actually, I guess I'm kind of picturing you adding on a bunch of rooms with this foundation because that's what it will do too. But this strength at the center changes everything about the way you can talk about your business and this. Oftentimes I've watched it over and over again. We'll change your web copy, the way you write your bio, all of it, your intimate connection with who you serve.

You're being able to speak to them in a way that lights up their hearts and minds and then being out there doing that regularly. That's what service looks like. That's what making a difference looks like and I know that's what you want. That's why you're here. So I will be cheering you on all the way and even though I'll be on hiatus for a little bit so you won't have any new Thought Leadership School Podcasts for the next number of weeks. In the beginning of 2020 you have all kinds of, we have a, I think it's 82 podcasts with so much rich content so you can go back and visit any of those. Just look through all the titles and pick the ones that will serve whatever aspect of Thought Leadership you're struggling with. Listen to some of the amazing people that I've interviewed who are doing incredible, meaningful work out in the world as thought leaders and use them as an example to inspire you. I will be over here cheering you on as always louder and with my heart just to overflowing and I can't wait to be back here with you again very soon. Have a beautiful, beautiful, close to 2019 and a fabulous start to 2020 I'm sending you so much love. Take good care.

Thanks so much for being here with me on the Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you want specific and actionable guidance on how to become a recognized leader in your industry, you can download a free copy of my book. Beyond Applause – Make a Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking at http://speaksoitmatters.com/freebook.  


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