Crafting a Signature Talk: Tips for Customizing Your Message to Any Audience
– Transcript: Episode #190
[00:01:32] Well, hey friend, and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. Two Important things today. Number one, it is Episode a hundred and freaking 90. Can you believe 190 episodes? That is a lot of minutes of Heather Sager in your earbuds, or radio or car. I don’t know how many walks, how many drives, how many loads of dishes or laundry have we done together over these last three and a half years?
[00:02:00] I just wanna say thanks for allowing me to step into your life every week and share with you. Number two, today is really cool. If you’re watching the YouTube version of today’s podcast recording, you will see a thing of balloons behind me because y’all, it is my birthday. I know I talked about it on last week’s episode, but at the time of this recording, a couple days before this aired, it is my birthday and I am so excited.
[00:02:26] I spent the day, some people might think they spend their birthday maybe a day off or I don’t know, indulging in other fun activities. I spent my day on Zoom with many of you celebrating with my online birthday bash where I gotta do coaching, talk about what it takes to show up in a more magnetic way for your brand.
[00:02:45] And I don’t know, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my birthday. It was pretty good. Anyways, at the end of my day, I have a few quick minutes here. I wanted to record a special episode for this week. Full disclosure, my oldest [00:03:00] son and husband are on the next room, and so I’m doing this awkward thing where I know they can hear me, and it feels very weird to talk in front of people that you know when they know, you know, they’re listening.
[00:03:12] Anyways, we’re just gonna not make it awkward and keep rolling here. I dunno. Was it, I think I was sharing this recently on my private podcast, which by the way, if you haven’t downloaded that, slash got access to that, make sure you are following along on the Secret podcast series, Becoming The Known Authority.
[00:03:27] If it’s still live at the time you hear this, you still have another few days to binge the episodes. You can get it at thespeakerco.com/athority slash but I’m, I’m pretty sure it was on that training. I was talking about how interesting it is. No, I did this in an interview recently. I was talking about how interesting it is where I can speak in front of groups of hundreds or thousands of people.
[00:03:49] That I maybe know or don’t know, but for some reason talking in front of like close friends and family is like the weirdest thing. It’s the same thing that happens when I, when I’m a, I’m a singer, so when I sing it [00:04:00] feels very awkward too. So anyways, if you struggle sometimes practicing or speaking in front of other people that you know, like you’re terrified of your family watching you record a YouTube video, you are not alone.
[00:04:11] It is very weird. It is very awkward. Also my eight year old definitely thinks that I am not cool and is convinced that I do not have a YouTube channel because he’s like, I don’t see it when I go on YouTube .But whatever. We are where we are.
[00:04:27] All right, what do we wanna talk about on today’s episode? I, so I’ve been doing hot seats through this live becoming the known authority experience I’ve been talking about these last few weeks.
[00:04:38] Part of that was I offered these free coaching sessions and I got some questions that I answer today at my birthday party. I would imagine it’s also gonna come up in my next series of live trainings over the course of the next couple days. But I wanted to share with you one of the questions I got.
[00:04:53] Actually, I got it quite a few times said in different ways over the last few days. Same, I’ve gotten this question many, many, many times before and it’s this idea around, okay, Heather, you talk all the time about creating your signature talk, creating a magnetic talk, creating that go-to talk so that you can become that known authority, that known person. You wanna be known for something.
[00:05:19] The question is like, do you always give the same talk? Like how do you customize the talk? Like what really can you expect from one go-to talk? So I wanted to share with you a little bit, just kind of candidly around my approach to signature talk, what I teach to my clients and give you just some food for thought today around this idea of creating one thing in your business, creating an asset that will serve you.
[00:05:48] I know the last couple weeks, I’ve had Lindsay on last week talking about how her talk has really led to her paid speaking gigs. Liz talked around how she’s delivered her dog more than 200 times and the results from that.
[00:06:02] But the question becomes, well, how do I customize it? Is it literally the same every single time and. The answer in my most honest opinion is no. It is not the exact same every single time, but it’s mostly the same.
[00:06:20] You see, one of the things that a lot of people think is that when they get asked to speak by someone else, they think that they have to create a custom talk. So for example, I get a lot of requests sometimes from people saying, Hey Heather, will you come talk to our executives about having difficult conversations or can you come do insert some training that has to do with leadership or communication in their language? They just have an idea. They think of me and they reach out, and I could do talks in all of those things. I can create talks, I’m sure somewhere I have content that I can pull out to teach those things, but I also know that the best content that I deliver is very specific. I have a unique perspective around speaking and communication and leadership, and I know that I will serve audiences best when I lean into what I’m best at.
[00:07:16] So reason why I tell you this is even when I get what seems to be the most different topic than my quote unquote, like signature talk, or for me I have a set of core talks. I still listen to what the client is requesting. I understand their problem, I ask follow up questions, and nine out of 10 times what I pitch them back is I could do the thing that you mentioned or I have this other talk over here and based off what you told me, and then I reflect back my idea tying their specific scenario, their specific audience, back to my topic and nine outta 10 times. They’re like, hell yeah, that sounds way better because here’s the thing, you think oftentimes that you in order to be that person on a stage, you have to cater to whoever stage it is, but people don’t know what they don’t know. And as the expert, it’s your responsibility to paint the picture around what your signature talk, what your signature topic can do.
[00:08:19] So I just wanna encourage you, if you’ve ever had a moment where somebody has requested a specific topic of you and you felt the need to appease to that topic, felt the need to be like, well, I gotta do that and then you’re trying to figure out, but how do I like seed my program or how do I talk about these other things?
[00:08:38] And the answer is, don’t just say yes blindly to other people’s requests. Ask questions to better understand. This, what I’m talking about here is a huge part of what I have been teaching over the last week inside my secret podcast series around what it really takes to be intentional with speaking and how to frame out your ideas in a way that speak to not only the audience, but also the host.
[00:09:05] And this my friend, is exactly the purpose behind why I think you need a signature talk. Your signature talk is essentially your unique expertise, your unique perspective paired with the way that you teach it, your unique approach. It blends those two things together.
[00:09:26] You see, the reality is so many people I. hardly know what you know. It’s not like anything that we teach is new information. Friend, have you Googled your own topic? Not Googled. Have you gone and taken your topic into Chat GPT? I don’t know if you’ve had any fun. I’ve been geeking out over round AI. I’ve just been researching it and doing a lot with it over the last few weeks and you can type a lot of things now. Fun fact. Chat GPT makes things up. It doesn’t mean it’s totally accurate, so please do not copy and paste anything from Chat GPT without running it through your own brain and actually, I mean, putting your own spin on things, right?
[00:10:05] I use it as an idea generator, but my point is what you teach, Chat GPT and a bajillion other coaches have similar trainings. The quote unquote methods, the processes, the pillars, the whatever, all those things. They’re all kind of really simple. I mean, my friend, have you ever seen a framework? They’re the most simplistic words, even my quote unquote framework, the magnetic talk formula: purpose, structure, story and style.
[00:10:36] I mean, it doesn’t sound earth shattering, but what makes it so signature so unique, so you or in this case me, is the perspective that you bring. So, coming back to it, I’m a huge believer that every expert, especially if you want to use your expertise for consulting, coaching, courses, information products, you have to know how to communicate your unique perspective, and that’s not just the what you know or what people should do. It is creating context around why. Why should they do this? Why in this sequence? Why in this order? You’re equipping people to think more critically. So having your signature talk does that. I’m really talking about this as ad nauseam.
[00:11:21] Tis the season, y’all, I’ve been talking about it for weeks. I have my upcoming live training, the Signature Talk Accelerator, where we’re gonna be doing this together. If you want my help on that, if you head on over to the speaker co.com/waitlist, you can get all the details for the Accelerator or click in the show notes. I’m sure I’ll have the direct link if we have enrollment open right now.
[00:11:42] But the reason why I’m sharing this with you is because the question that I got today was how do I customize my signature talk based off the different timeframes I’m given. Like Heather, what if I have a keynote that I had to deliver the talk in 20 minutes versus what if I have an hour? Somebody today on today’s call had a 75 to 90 minute workshop, and the question was, can I really have the same talk for both? And the answer is yes with a big, heavy asterisk and that asterisk is the variation, the customization you bring to the talk.
[00:12:16] So what I want you to consider is your core of what you teach, your main method, the core messaging around your topic, I want you to think about it as an accordion. You know, the, like the keyboard, that was a terrible accordion, but you know, like an accordion musical instrument, you know what I mean? Where it’s like the keyboard. But in my brain, I’m also thinking like a bagpipe, which is not the same, but in my head, they’re coming together.
[00:12:46] Anyways, an accordion, my friend, an accordion you can squeeze together to its like closest, most compact state, and then you can pull it out and expand. Your signature talk should be able to do that, where you can squeeze it and all together, you can expand it and pull it apart.
[00:13:05] Now, how does this apply to you right now? In this moment you’re going, all right, Heather, we’re getting kind of like technical for a podcast. It’s like early in the morning or I’m on a walk and I don’t need workshop time right now. I think you do. I think you do need some workshop time, so let’s break this down. I wanna give you a little, a power tip here. I heard from you, maybe not you specifically, but like, others like you. I get a lot of comments around people saying that I love the juicy nuggets and like the actual, Heather gives me shit I can use so I’m gonna give you something right now that you can use.
[00:13:45] One of the easy ways to expand and contract your talk when customization area is where you do engagement on your talk. So, okay, buckle up. Here’s a very tactical thing that you can do. Is this the only thing? No. I teach you how, inside my program, how to intentionally swap stories, examples, something called listicles, create context. Your core messaging points are very specific things that we swap out in your signature talk to customize. But here’s one that I want to gift you today and that is how you lead activities.
[00:14:20] Something that you have to keep in mind is adult learners, we are heavily resistant to other adults telling us what to do, especially when other adults like guide us through activities. Some people really love that, but many of us are like, oh my gosh, stupid activities even though we know we need to implement things to cement the learning. So I like to exercise a very easy, practical way around how I teach like engagement activities in my sessions, whether it’s from a like polished keynote, but more so for workshops or training sessions.
[00:14:57] So what I want you to think about is three levels of engagement. Now, does this, I’m not gonna describe exactly what to do in the activity, but it’s more so a framework, there’s that word again, for you to use to add in your specific content. Let me give you the three levels and then I’ll explain.
[00:15:17] So level one is self-reflection, level two is peer connection, and level three is open mic. Okay, let’s walk through these. Essentially what you do is if you want to get your audience engaged and or to put their brain on the talk and make it theirs, the three levels are, you can ask them to journal it out, reflect on their own, write it out on a piece of paper. That is self-guided reflection, self, kind of that self-study or self like write three things down. Take five minutes to think about how this could look for you. I could tell you like, okay, take five minutes. I want you to brainstorm all the stages that you could be speaking on right now. It gets you putting pen to paper between your head and your hand.
[00:16:02] Okay. That’s like level one and that’s really important. The reason why this is so important, people think engagement and they want talking, but sometimes that personal reflection is so powerful because not everyone is an external processor. In fact, like not many of us are. I would imagine half people, I don’t know the math on that or the statistics, but I’d imagine half people are internal processors so you give people a moment to write their thoughts down then we can go into level two.
[00:16:30] The peer piece, this is where you can tell people if you’re live in person, turn to a neighbor. Talk it out, brainstorm together. The social learning is epic for adults. We all love talking about ourselves, and if we don’t, we love asking other people about themselves so that peer-to-peer is really powerful, even more powerful is when you stack the two. Ask people to take a moment to write it down because that makes sure that the external processors think for a moment and it’s not just the first thing that comes to mind. They can think through and come up with more ideas and the internal processor can write out some ideas so they can prepare for the externally processing with a peer. So when you tag team those self, and then with the pier, that’s a really great mix.
[00:17:14] And then the third mix is the open mic, and that’s essentially when you ask people in the audience to raise their hand and share. You might be thinking, well, isn’t that good? Don’t we want everyone talking? And yes, getting that social proof publicly really helps you set the tone in the room.
[00:17:32] And what I love coming back to the question around how do we expand and contract certain elements of our talk? How do we create more engagement? How do we customize activities? I love to mix these three levels together.
[00:17:46] So in sometimes I might just do reflections. Other times I might go straight to the audience, or if it’s something that I want them to think, I might have them self-reflect and then go straight to an open mic.
[00:17:58] What that does is it ensures that in the room, it’s not just the over talkers who always raise their hand. You are bringing so more people can have a chance to prepare for the mic. Bonus tip, you can tell the room, Hey, I’m gonna ask for a few shares as they’re writing their things down, and so people can muster up the courage to raise their hand for the mic.
[00:18:20] You might do the mix of self-reflect and peer, or go straight to pier and then open mic or go to pier then to write it down for yourself. Back to level one, go talk to some other people, now spend a few minutes and talk on.
[00:18:34] These are just really simple three levels so that you can think about, alright, how am I gonna drive not just engagement, but help people in this room that I’m responsible for, help them put this into action. That’s one of the most powerful ways that I like turning my signature talk into more of a workshop style, whether it’s virtual or in person, but that’s just one way that you can customize your signature talk, and I just felt like I wanted to share that today. It came up on my, on our call today. I’m like, Ooh, this is something that I think you really would like, cuz I don’t know about you. I’m always looking for little ways to improve how I show up and how I connect with an audience, and I just, I wanted to share that with you.
[00:19:17] So again, it’s kind of that one, level one, self-reflection. Level two, that peer share, peer connection. Level three, open mic. Mix and match, however you choose. I think this is gonna serve you really, really well. You can think about how this would work for you in a virtual front versus maybe I use this approach on my group coaching calls. There are so many different ways that you can use this from stages because, my friend, remember, a stage is simply a platform to share your message so you can leverage strategies that I talk about on the show all the time on any kind of each stages.
[00:19:55] Okay. That’s one example of how you can make your signature talk be more custom for the different audiences. I’m gonna leave you with this. Remember, when you’re customizing the signature talk, remember always, always, why are you customizing it? And you should be answering this in one of three questions.
[00:20:11] You’re either customizing your talk because you as a business owner have a different motivation, ie., a different offer or strategic goal that you’re connecting it to. Two, you’re either customizing it because the audience that you’re speaking to needs it to be customized. It’s maybe a different profession, a different user experience within your topic. You’re customizing cuz it’s gonna benefit them. Or three, you’re customizing it based around the host’s requirements of you, ie., you’re customizing it because somebody asked you to like, put it in a shorter format or they asked you to make it more interactive but you’re thinking about some kind of request from the person who asked you to speak.
[00:20:52] Those are your three lens. How is this benefiting the host? How is this benefiting the audience? How is this benefiting me and my business? The amazing part is when you start thinking from all three of those lenses, when you prep for your speaking opportunities, that sets you up to create something very magnetic.
[00:21:14] Okay, I hope today’s episode served you well. This was like a superpower, super like sink your teeth into it episode. I have just had so much fun this last week working with so many of you all inside the Becoming The Known Authority Private podcast with the Backstage Pass coaching experience. [00:21:31] Just a heads up, everything comes down on March 22nd, so be sure to jump in there, download everything, love it, ask all your questions, and I will see you very soon in the next episode, friend. Bye.