In today's episode, I'm sharing with you my interview on the Power Your Purpose podcast with Megan Accardo. I share some of my best speaking tips and strategies, we’ll get personal talking about my hearing loss and how that's affected my career, and core elements of my signature talk.
I want to continually put content on this show that gives you both tangible strategies AND examples of speaking on stages to spark ideas for your area of expertise.
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Megan Accardo 0:06
Welcome back to the Power Your Purpose Podcast. I am thrilled that you are here today. Today on the podcast I have a friend, Heather Sager. She is a speaking expert. She's going to give us some pro-tips and don't worry if you're not a speaker in the traditional sense of getting up on stages or even virtual stages. It's all about communication and how to communicate your message.
It really could be in having conversation with a loved one, a family member, a boss, negotiating what you need, selling a product, all the types of ways that we communicate a message to someone else and how we show up in the world. This is all about getting what you need through tactical tangible communication tips.
You know, I love practical tips. We are here to bring that to you. A little bit about Heather, Heather also comes from a corporate events career. She's a former executive who's spoken on stages around the world and personally trained hundreds of six and seven figure business owners on leadership, sales and communication.
She hosts a top rated podcast called, he Heather Sager Show and helps online entrepreneurs be seen as an authority in their industry by speaking live and on virtual stages without winging it.
One of her best tips is to practice, practice, practice, but she tells you how to do it and how not to do it, which you're going to learn in this episode. You will be inspired by Heather's story, because she had some major life challenges early on. She has a severe hearing loss that began in her 20s which she tells the story about how she now has to have conversations with wearing hearing aids. But ittook her nearly six years to get the help that she needed and that really influenced how she communicated with others.
So she started paying attention to body language, and emotions, and intentions because she couldn't always hear the words that people were saying so she had to read body language.
I think that really leads to our emotional intelligence, which you will see is very apparent in the episode, and now she can help people use their words to communicate their message but even more than their words. it's everything that goes into an effective communication strategy and that's what she helps one on one clients with. She's got a program.
She's going to share four amazing tips plus a bunch of other tips on how you can elevate your influence through speaking. I can't wait to dive in so let's just do it.
If you enjoy this episode in any way, shape, or form I would love if you would leave us a little review letting us know that you loved it on iTunes, share it on your social media tag us. Let us know what you want more of. Send me a message. I've got an amazing full lineup of guests for you but I want to create what you want to hear more of, so slide into my DMs. Let me know what you enjoy. Let me know what you want to hear. Let me know what guess you want on. I am here for you creating this content and I have got some special surprises coming up in store. I just know you're gonna love it, so let's get this podcast into more and more hands.
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Heather, I'm so excited you're on the podcast today. You help online entrepreneurs be seen as the authority in their industry, whatever industry that is, by speaking, live and virtual stages without winging it so coming with a prepared plan with your messaging.
You're a former executive. How did you get started? How did you take that leap from executive to entrepreneur? Tell us the backstory.
Heather Sager 4:21
Yeah, so everybody's got the backstory, right? It's always the question of like, how did you find your way into this interesting little niche of the online space? My story is similar. I think to a lot of corporate employees who, at some point just have to ask the question like, 'Oh my gosh, is it worth my entire life to be allowing all of my ideas go to someone else?'
The thing that did it for me to drive me in the entrepreneurial world was having kids. I have two kids. When I had my second baby, when I was pregnant with him, I traveled I think that year 120,000 miles while I was pregnant, speaking on stages, doing workshops, doing consulting, where I was like, 'oh, man, I did it with one baby traveling, but to be away from two kids and miss those early years,' I knew I had to do something different. That's when I really made the decision, ;okay, I gotta do something different. I have to figure out how I would start a business and start doing this on my own.
Megan Accardo 5:25
Yeah, totally. I mean, so many people are right there with you because I mean, I experienced the same thing. I think we just, we put in so much work when we're younger, and we just go with the grind and then we're like, 'what is this for? Ah, can I be doing this for myself on my own terms with that freedom and flexibility that we want that so many people want?' I hundred percent agree with that. Did you basically take the work that you were doing, and then parlay it into your own business? How did that work as far as transitioning your experience and what have you wanted to do?
Heather Sager 6:04
Yeah, I'm laughing because I remember having really clear conversations with my husband going, 'I know I want to start a business, but I can't decide what it's going to be about.'
For me, what I do now is what I do in my old job, it's just not what I teach. Specifically, in my old world, I was the vice president of learning and development, which was a fancy term to say, I worked at this consulting company that we worked with independent medical practices. I taught business owners who didn't go to business school, who instead went to like medical school. I taught them how to run a business.
I've been working with entrepreneurs for 10, 12 years. My job was to influence them by investing in training, so training for leadership, for operations, for their staff. My team did all the training for these practices.
I got really good at influencing people to invest in training and training people. I get this all day long but what I taught was sales. I taught leadership, I taught operations, like those are the things I did.
When I decided, 'oh, I want to start a business.' Originally, I'm like, 'oh, I'll teach people marketing and sales.' Like how do you create these exceptional experiences for your clients, which is I could talk about that in my sleep.
I realized, there's so many people teaching sales, and I love sales, what I realized was the thing that was so unique for me was my ability to influence and connect with audiences. To get people, get this.
I taught doctors how to sell, which feels like a complete polar opposite. They want to help people. That's why they went to school. They didn't go to school to sell, specifically, I worked with hearing doctors. They actually had to sell a product hearing aids.
It was very, like, when I look back on it, like what a frickin challenge that was to teach doctors how to sell it. If I could persuade them to do that, and help so many of their patients, I could teach anyone how to speak but there were some really specific principles that came into it.
It was and it wasn't what I did but once I decided, 'Hey, I'm going to teach people how to do this,' it became very easy to create the company.
Megan Accardo 8:18
Yes, okay, so you realize that you could help people, whatever their industry was, whatever they're selling, that you could help them refine their message, connect with that audience and really get their message across so that the people who are listening are gonna want to buy whatever they wanted, whatever it is, whatever industry. You could basically take those principles and just kind of put them across the board.
Heather Sager 8:43
Yeah, exactly. If I could on that piece, I know, obviously, with the the title of the show on purpose, and I know we're going to talk about that. For me, like what I realized was in my work in hearing care, in helping people make the impact they wanted, they didn't talk in sales numbers. They didn't talk in business numbers. They talked about helping people and helping these people who couldn't hear how to better connect with their families, like how getting help will actually create more transformation in their lives.
For me, the impact that they had, the influence they had on other people, it would be a disservice if they didn't know how to use the words effectively. While I talked sales numbers and operations numbers, I was able to be, I was say I was bilingual in a way that I can talk impact number and helping people and then back it up with data and numbers.
I think some people are led by different things, some are heart and impact, some want to talk numbers and strategy. You got to know both in business, but I learned how to effectively speak to audiences who have different needs and I unlock this idea that I can teach other people, that same thing, like that could be pretty cool.
Megan Accardo 9:55
Yes. Okay, and I love that you were working with doctors who were selling hearing aids because you had your own story. I would imagine that's kind of maybe how that led to that job or that opportunity, so tell us about that because you had some challenges of your own.
Heather Sager 10:13
Yeah, it's a challenge, yes. I have a significant hearing loss. I wear hearing aids. I've worn them for, I think going on nine years right now. I have a genetic condition. It's a bone condition that I was born with. My bones are really breakable. I'm like, Mr. Glass in the movie 'Unbreakable,' spin off his own movie where you touch his bones and he would they would break. That's the Hollywood version.
For me, I just break bones really easily. One of the things I didn't know this growing up, but one of the things is, as an adult, the bones in your ear start deteriorating and your hearing system stops working. For most people, that happens in their late 30s. It started happening for me when I was 19.
Here's the funny thing about me, let me just give you this visual real quick. When it comes to hearing loss. It's not like eyesight, where imagine you're in a room, and somebody starts dimming the lights, you gradually can tell, 'I can't see as well,' and you start squinting, you're trying to make it out, but it's clear that you cannot see. At some point, it goes black and you're like, 'Oh, I can't see.'
Hearing is so intangible. Where when you start missing sounds, you don't know what you're missing. Your lack of awareness for those gaps is non existent. That was a real challenge for me. My hearing became a big problem but I didn't really know it was a problem, and I was adapting around it.
You would think that was the reason why I started working in that company but it had nothing to do with it. I wasn't even aware of how bad my hearing loss was when I started there. I was attracted because it's a young, fast growing company. It was like, my interview was like, 'The Devil Wears Prada,' where I'm walking around going, do I get a wardrobe budget if I get a job here because everybody looks so young and hip and fashionable. That's what drew me to. It was the energy of the company but that job changed my life for so many different reasons.
One of them being, I finally actually sat down with a doctor figured out what was going on, got hearing aids and that started a whole new story for me. When I would speak to audiences, not only was I trained as a marketing and business expert, I was actually representing one of their patients, and sharing my story of hearing and talking about different perspectives, which allowed me to coach them in a way that they hadn't been coached by a business expert before.
Megan Accardo 12:37
I mean, that is amazing and so serendipitous that you just ended up there without even seeking that out per se, and then you found out about your own. So, basically, you didn't realize that you had a problem until it was like almost like your hearing was almost gone.
Heather Sager 12:59
I knew something was going on. I knew I had a hearing problem. But here's the thing, I could still hear people. It just sounded like everybody mumbled. I had probably 14 different ways to ask someone to repeat themselves. It was unclear, and that was one of the misconceptions about hearing loss is you think, 'oh, hearing loss, I can't hear people.' No, hearing loss, there's a lack of clarity in language, and it feels like everyone's mumbling. Most people who were not in the profession of audiology wouldn't know that, especially, at my age.
I'm right 36 years old. You would never think to go see an audiologist when you're in your 20s like that's not a thing you do. You do that in your 70s or 80s. It wasn't like, 'Oh, I should go see a hearing doctor.' It was just, 'ah, I struggle when I'm at a party,' or 'Oh, man, I can't go to bars because it's so loud,' or, 'man, it's so much effort to ask someone to repeat themselves,' so I just wouldn't.
It came out in other ways, but I knew it was happening. I just didn't know it was solvable.
Megan Accardo 14:04
Yeah. Okay, and then once you got the hearing aids, did just your whole world kind of open up just you realize, right, is that what you're missing, I guess?
Heather Sager 14:14
Ah, I always like to to keep it real on this one. I hate it. When I first got it, it's hard. When I first got them, and you're hit so directly with all these sounds you hadn't heard so you don't hear with your ears. You hear with your brain, and when your brain hasn't functioned in that way for a long time, it gets real angry at you.
I laugh, I'll make this real quick. The first weekend I got my hearing aid, I hopped on a plane to go to Vegas to do a site tour at a hotel for a conference. Let me tell you if you're going to choose one location in the world to hear all the sounds for the first time, it is not an airport and it is certainly not Las Vegas.
My first few days having hearing aids was torture but you get used to it. I think it's like in business or anything in life. You start something new, and it's either super shiny and exciting and that wears off, or it's like terrible, like drinking green juice or a smoothie like the first few days, it's terrible. But then you acquire the taste and start reaping the benefits.
For me, it's more of the latter where I had to push through it, knowing that it would get better. The moment I realized that things had changed was the first time my hearing aid batteries died after I don't know, 5, 6, 7 days. I realized I hadn't mumbled the words, 'can you repeat that?,' or 'what's that now,' or 'say it again?' I tried to continue without putting the hearing aid batteries in and those words are coming out. I realized, 'Oh,' I had been experiencing the benefit for that many days and I hadn't had to use those phrases.
That was the lightbulb for me of Okay, this is my life now. I need this help and actually, it can help me help more people if I just choose to accept the help and keep moving.
Megan Accardo 16:01
Yes, yes. Okay. Well, I love the story of how you overcame that and just work through the struggle and accepted the help, which is so hard for a lot of people to do. Now you help other people communicate their messages, so you work with speakers, presenters, and I would imagine, I mean, any sort of business owner entrepreneur who has to communicate their business message or their sales message, whatever that is. What do you see as some of the problems or challenges in getting those messages out for people?
Heather Sager 16:35
You know, talking is hard.
Megan Accardo 16:39
I love talking, but yes.
Heather Sager 16:41
If I had to boil it down to like one thing, actually, I actually made two things. One is, most of us have so many ideas that we want to share, and what happens is we come up with these ideas in our head. And I like to say, we don't really think in words. There might be some words in there but it's a series of these illustrious movies, create in our head with all of our ideas.
When we want to, let's say, shoot a video or talk to an employee, or talk to our boss about a promotion, or talk to our spouse about taking the dog out. We have this idea, Oh, I want to say something and in our head, we play a little video reel around how it should go. And then we open our mouths, and it does not come out anywhere as we intended. The tone is off, the words get jumbled. We don't know if we make sense, 'Oh, my gosh, they reacted not as we intended,' maybe I should have said something else. All these things happen.
What I like to say is, the thing in your head, they say a picture's worth a thousand words, our imagination a bajillion words. For us to think that on the fly, we can just articulate our business message or a difficult conversation, it's kind of crazy town.
But we still think we have these high expectations because we see other leaders so easily talk on camera or in meetings were like, 'well, they can do it, so can I.' Here's the thing, the people who can speak so well, quote-unquote, off the cuff, it's because they talk a lot, and or have a lot of practice.
I think there's this mistake that we make where we put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right or get it perfect the first time it comes out of our mouth. That's just not how communication works. Communication, this idea between your head and your mouth, it's like a muscle and you have to learn how to work it.
I help business owners say okay, how do you take those ideas, that movie reel in your head and start articulating them soo not only do they make sense with others, you feel confident that you can say what you intend to say.
Megan Accardo 18:42
Yes, okay. I love everything you're saying and I think so often we do just assume it's going to come out. We don't practice for those hard conversations, especially with the spouse where there's a lot of emotion or even negotiating with a boss about a salary, or position, or anything like that. We have to practice. So yeah, there's so much that we could talk about.
But if people want to start showing up online for themselves, let's kind of go that direction because I know that's kind of your specialty in your program and with your clients or something's for showing up online, whether it's in videos or on social media, or maybe it is a presentation at work or something like that. What are some things that people can kind of keep in mind?
Heather Sager 19:30
Yeah, let's dive in. I like some really practical tips. I know that's one of the things that you love is, okay, how do we give some tips to this audience? When I was putting these together I wanted to consider, okay, this would work for somebody who has a business. Specifically, I work with online entrepreneurs, so people who are trying to create more visibility online like build a personal brand, or a brand selling coaching programs or courses, something like that, that's typically who I work with. I also work with like workshop trainers, professionals.
I have a lot of lawyers and accountants in my group which is funny, I would not consider myself in that kind of that area but everybody knows like our power to influence and get people to buy our stuff or follow us comes down to can we influence people, can we articulate our ideas and get our education into the language of our audience.
With that in mind, here's four specific things I want you thinking about. Number one, you have to set your intention before any speaking engagement. Now, let's just clarify. I like to say, a stage is just a platform to share your message. I want you to like squash the picture of a stage you have in your brain of like a live event stage and think about a stage is your opportunity to speak and share your message.
That could be a sales call, it could be an IGTV video, it could be an IG Live, it could be a Facebook Live, it could be like this a podcast, it could be a conversation. You get to define what that looks like but a stage is just an opportunity to share your message.
When you set your intention, before every like every speaking engagement, you can make sure that you bring the right level of intention to that conversation. Center yourself and think like, what do I want this conversation to feel like? How do I want to come across? Am I rushing from my last call shoving down a power bar before jumping and clicking live? Like, what kind of energy is that going to bring to the party.
Taking a moment to breathe and set your intention before you speak, you're inherently going to elevate the experience for the audience, because you're thinking of them, not yourself so that's tip number one.
Tip number two, use video. Now I know in this world we're living in right now, video and virtual is pretty much the norm these days but still, a lot of people are terrified of video, and a lot of people are keeping their cameras off on zoom, or feeling like, 'Oh, man,' like for me, I have young kids at home. It's just easier to fire off an email than send a follow up email to a client.
For example, if I have a proposal that goes out, I can type up a beautiful proposal and send it but if you take that extra moment to show your face and send a video and show people video, oh my goodness, that accelerates not only the trust factor, but it accelerates your relationship building.
In an online environment, relationships are so important and how you build relationships matter because you don't have the opportunity to network at the watercooler or other ways that you may have been networking in the past, so video works as an accelerant to building relationships which is really critical for networking and business.
Tip number three, I hear all the time, people don't want to sound scripted, which is why they don't want to practice. I'm going to just squash that and say practicing does not make you sound like a robot. Practicing means that you actually care about your audience. Tip number three, prep with bullet points, not with scripts.
What do I mean by bullet points, just jot your thoughts down before you hit live on a camera. Thought your jobs down before you jump on a sales call thought like, jot your thoughts down. It's kind of a mouthful to say, before you go on a call like whatever that looks like you want to tell your husband, 'Oh, honey, I'm so annoyed that you keep not taking out the garbage.'
Jot your bullet points out so you can use the, what do I really want to come across here? What I want to make sure I hit on? Put it on a post-it note. You do not need to Google type all the things you're going to say. You got to trust, once you get to the conversation, you'll bring it but don't allow the emotion of the conversation with the stress of the conversation guide where it goes. Put your thoughts down.
I'm a big fan of put your bullets on a post-it note if you're doing a video. Oh my gosh, let me give you a little like cheaters thing. Write on post it note. If you're just listening to this, you can't see what I'm doing but I just grabbed a post-it note. Ripped it off a pad and you can just set it. I'm just putting it right underneath the camera I'm staring at right now.
Megan Accardo 24:00
Oh my goodness.
Heather Sager 24:01
Your talking points right there. It's beautiful, so you don't have to remember everything. Use your bullet points.
And then lastly, tip number four I'm like power packing a workshop at you and these little tips.
Megan Accardo 24:12
I love it. Bring it.
Heather Sager 24:13
Ready for it?
Megan Accardo 24:15
Heather Sager 24:16
Hit stories to show possibility and evoke emotion. This one's a biggie. I think anymore. We think you know, we all see a lot of stuff online where we're very, very skeptical, so we have a tendency to like show me the facts.
We really hate it when we can feel like we're being sold to because people are giving us a pile of fluff. Here's the thing, numbers and facts, they are only part of the equation but they're not how people make their decisions. People need to feel a decision. People need to see possibility and to see examples.
When you use stories in your presentations, people can just stop thinking for a moment and fall into it, then you can back it up with your facts and figures but do not forget the power of stories, especially, virtually everybody right now is trying to truncate everything into these short little snippets.
If you focus on trying to make it as concise as possible, but missed the mark on hitting the emotion through story, it's a big missed opportunity. Hit the stories, evoke emotion, and these will make you get even better.
Megan Accardo 25:18
Okay, so number one, set your intention before you speak, and whatever that looks like to you.
Heather Sager 25:24
Yeah, every time you speak think about it.
Megan Accardo 25:27
And that could be like, I just want to like, what's an example of an intention?
Heather Sager 25:33
Hmm,okay, so this real quick. What I do with all of my clients and students when we start working together, I say, what are the three ways you want people to describe you? For me, I have a mantra. Make them laugh, make them cry, sure as hell teach them something that'll change their life, like that's for me.
Every time I click live on the camera, I take 30 seconds. Who am I talking today? Make them laugh, make them cry, sure as hell teach them something that'll change their life. It's just something for me, a mantra or a reminder, sometimes even like thinking about I want this person to feel compassion today.
I have to deliver some really bad news, but I want them to feel compassion. Just setting your intention around what you want this experience to feel like, okay, that warms your nervous energy.
Yes. And I love your mantra by the way. Make them cry, Heather.
Not a bad way, right? But like in a good way. You got that, right?
Megan Accardo 26:27
Okay, so that was number one. Number two is use video, video, video. I think so many of us get stuck in, at least me I'm raising my hand, in like just perfectionism and the video justI don't know, I want to turn the video on every single day, and then I don't.
Heather Sager 26:45
Yeah, you're not alone in that.
Megan Accardo 26:48
because I know a lot of people struggle with.
Heather Sager 26:50
Yeah, here's the thing on video. You don't have to stare at yourself. In fact, the best gift you can give yourself like for me, I'm staring at the camera lens right now. You're over here. I actually can't see me and I can't see you.
I know it's a little awkward for a moment. But here's the thing about video, it isn't about you. It's about your audience. When you focus on your audience, you cannot be focused on yourself, including your own fears and nerves.
What I like to tell people before you step on stage, or before you talk yourself out of going live on the camera, think about your audience. Who is waiting to hear your message and if they don't hear it, what's gonna happen or what's not gonna happen? When you focus on them, you cannot be focused on your own fears and insecurities.
Megan Accardo 27:31
Yes, okay, that was so good. Okay, all right, so that's number two. Use video. You've given us a pep talk, so we're going to show up in that area. Number three is prep with the bullet points. Don't write every single thing out. I love that.
But also, I feel like a second part to that is, as you said, as you mentioned, practice, practice, practice. You could actually practice with your bullet points over and over and over, or I like to kind of write it out practice over and over and over, but then kind of get rid of it, so you've actually practiced the sentences that you wanted but then when you're actually there, you're not like reading like,
Heather Sager 28:07
It's like you've run the drills to have the confidence that you'll be fine. I think the thing to point out is with that one, people have different levels of comfort and different styles with preparation. Some people the idea of bullet points gives them hives. They're like, I have to know that I've thought about this and written it down. If that works for you, great.
If that becomes a procrastination tactic, know that about yourself and say, I'm going to limit it to bullet points. Just know what works best for you. The one thing I will say is, the mistake people make is when they write scripts and write it out, is when they write it out first, they use written vocabulary. When you speak it out, you will talk naturally so just note the difference.
For example, I might write down the word therefore, if I was writing a blog post. I would never say therefore, this is true. Like you have to think about your language differences. Just pay attention to that and the more you say it out loud, the better you'll get but just know that's the mistake when writing out. It doesn't sound conversational,
Megan Accardo 29:09
Right. Yes, I love that. Sometimes I record a podcast where I will literally, I won't have a script, I won't even have bullet points, maybe I have like three points that I want to do. I'll record the whole thing, then I'll go back. I'll transcribe it. Then I'll kind of clean it up, and then I'll re-record it. I know it's a really long process. But that way, I did it in the beginning so I could get used to how I speak versus me just writing it out at first so that kind of hits to you.
Heather Sager 29:35
That's brilliant. It is a long process, but the process is worth it because two things: one, you start noticing and trusting yourself, 'Oh, I can say these things. Side note those transcripts are always crazy. I do that too. I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, it's not even a full sentence.'
Megan Accardo 29:48
Well, I know. It's like one long paragraph.
Heather Sager 29:52
Yeah, it's terrible, right? But that's how people speak and that's why people are like, Oh my gosh, like I love like, Megan sounds like she's talking to me because she's actually talking.
But I bet you also noticed by doing that too and going through your own transcripts you picked up on your own filler words. That's like a hidden thing of when you have the courage to look at your own video, look at your own transcripts. That's the secret to cutting down on those crappy filler words or phrases that you don't want to use any more. By seeing it, you'll be like, Nope, not doing anymore.
Megan Accardo 30:21
Okay, once you understand filler words, and I know everyone knows what 'uhm; is, 'ah' but like, I, 'like' is one of mine. I just said it. Once you hear it, it's a light bulb that goes off and you can never stop hearing people use those words. It's like a blessing and a curse. I say 'and,' 'so' a lot. I mean, and
Heather Sager 30:45
The 'and' and 'so,' people don't notice. When you do your own transcripts, you really pick up on it, for sure.
Megan Accardo 30:53
Yeah, instead of just ending a sentence. Pausing starting a new sentence, I am the worst anyway. I got to love those. But if you cut them out and if you start to slow down and take a pause and cut them out a little bit, you'll appear more confident so it is worth it.
Heather Sager 31:41
Yeah, completely agree.
Megan Accardo 31:43
Okay. All right. I want to ask you when people are showing up online or whatever this stage, we talked about whatever that stage is that you are speaking on to someone else, how can we be authentic in this day and age?
Where is the balance like you know, I love seeing the behind the scenes but if you're trying to show up as an expert in your field or a thought leader, you can't really show too much of the mess. Do you have any opinion on that and how we can be authentic but not really just all dirty
Heather Sager 32:17
all dirty, right?
Megan Accardo 32:19
Heather Sager 32:21
We live in this world where we see so many inputs online. Input being influencers to follow, commercials, visual imagery, and ads, Pinterest. You and I were chatting before we got started about my home edit inspired bookcase, like all these things that show us what the pretty life and the elevated life of success can look like.
What starts to happen is we start comparing ourselves, and we start taking what we hear other people say and regurgitating it. Trying to figure out like, who am I like? What is my narrative? What is my quote-unquote niche? What makes me different from my competitor?
We start asking all these questions and what I find maybe some of your audience will resonate with this, especially when I made the transition from corporate into entrepreneurial, this whole world. Something happened where I was like, I was very successful in my corporate life. I'm confident. I knew what I was doing, very solid strategy but for some reason, when I jumped over as an online entrepreneur, I'm like, I know nothing.
I questioned everything. I felt I had to learn from all these other people, that all of the sudden I didn't know this space, therefore, I knew nothing. I think this leap happens.
I think when it comes to articulating ourselves and speaking, I think people really get caught up of thinking that their tone of voice is too copycatting or, 'man, if I put myself out there, it's the internet so somebody is going to tear apart what I say or misconstrue it or, or call me out for being full of crap, or I don't know,' right?
We can build all these narratives around what might happen in this space. We make ourselves small, and we try to control and perfect. If I could master this one thing and just talk about it as neutrally as possible, then nobody will come after me.
The challenges if we don't stretch ourselves out a bit and take risks in what we talk about and bring our wild and quirky personality, our weird love of Game of Thrones or whatever like quirk that makes you you, like until we start bringing things about our personality into it at the risk of making other people mad or annoyed, we don't really know what our true voice is.
I think there's this moment that happens, I'll use the beautiful analogy of a butterfly. There's this moment that happens as an entrepreneur when you find the confidence to break out of your cocoon, and you figure out how to fly.
For me, that isn't about business size, it isn't about your products or programs. It's all about confidence, where you know who you are, what you stand for, and who you work for, that client that you can help and you don't really care if it means you're going to have a million dollar business. You don't only care about all those things they come after it, but you're solid on the work you do and the integrity that you bring to the table.
I find when you balance that confidence with humility of knowing that you don't know, you don't have all the answers, and that you're still a work in progress, and that you're still figuring it out but you have the confidence to know that you can and you will and you will help people, that's when beautiful things start happening.
So I find that budding moment of entrepreneurs when their trap on their cocoon, I love helping them bust out of that shell using their voice to find that confidence because they already have the humility piece, a lot of times didn't need the kick in the booty to be more confident, more assertive and position themselves as the authority they already are.
Megan Accardo 36:02
Okay, Heather, you are speaking directly to me. I feel all the energy. I love the butterfly analogy. I completely relate too because I came from corporate too. I had a very high level position and a very prominent company. It can be a hard fall to like make the jump.
I think a lot of people don't talk about it as much of just the the the humbling that happens and then how to pick yourself up and build that confidence that you're talking about because when you start an online business, it is all about find your niche, who do you serve, what's your ICA, who's your ideal customer, and it can be very overwhelming.
To your point, start using your voice, that's how you figure it out. So often we wait to speak or do anything or show up in those bold ways until we have it figured out but that's not how it happens, right?
We have to start to speak and figure it out first and figure out what are, you know, what is our weird, quirky things that we want to share with the world and hey, that didn't land or that doesn't feel comfortable, or that doesn't feel authentic to me.You have to get out there and try some things and take risks.
I definitely have been through that journey, and I'm still on that journey but I really appreciate that you say that. It's just an encouragement to like keep showing up for people. I think, really, just don't be afraid of it.
As you were talking, I was just thinking, you know, nobody really is even sitting there. If we worry about what people are thinking. It's like nobody's sitting there thinking about us, I hate to say it. Like, nobody's like watching every single thing we put out, nobody is like seeing every single post out into the world. It's just like, you can just go like live your life, like the critics aren't really there until you get really super huge, probably, you know, but like, most of us don't have those critics that we fear so much. It's usually just people supporting us, or people not even seeing what everything that we're doing are really out to the world so I don't think we have to live in that fear, so much coming from someone who lives there, but yeah.
Heather Sager 38:33
One of the things, it just kind of came to mind as you were talking through it. One of the things that we have to be prepared for is not this moment where all of a sudden, we're a butterfly, and then everything's okay.
Now it's every transformation you have is going to bring a new level of necessity, like a new skills, whatever you want to insert here. There's going to be a new level that you're gonna have to fight through.
One that I think would be really important for people to hear today is the reminder of when you make this leap, maybe you make your first Facebook Live and you're like Haha, or you I don't know you. You finally feel comfortable doing Instagram stories or, or you get your first talk as a guest speaker. I don't know, whatever it looks like in your business.
You do the thing that was scary. You're going to get there and then you're going to have a moment where you fall on your face. Either nobody shows up to your Facebook Live or people didn't convert on your email list or somebody made a mean comment. Something's going to happen and you have to start understanding right now is if you don't know what you value and how you see yourself, you are going to let other people's opinions create your own self perception.
What you'll find is when you start getting negative feedback, which will happen Oh, I kind of joke with my students. When you get your first hater, like celebrate it. Yeah, because it means that you're making some noise.
For me when I see a comment that I'm like, oh, that wasn't very nice. Granted, I don't have a large audience. I don't get a lot of those, but when I do, I like to ask myself the question, is their truth? And if there's any truth, what can I take from this? And if there's not, just go, this is more about them than it does about me. Wish them the best and move on.
You have to start thinking about how are you going to build up your resilience for that now because you have to protect your own image for yourself. Who are you? What do you stand for? And how are you going to protect that through your growth? If you're not thinking about that now, you can't put yourself out there on stages.
Megan Accardo 40:26
Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Really keeping in mind your guiding mission, your why, who you're helping, like you said at the beginning, like who you're helping, why you're helping them and it doesn't really matter what the random Susy145524? You know, cuz it's just like, you know, who are they? Doesn't even matter, right? Yeah, I so appreciate that for sure. Oh, my goodness.
Okay, I hope this encourages people to show up a little bit more authentically themselves and not worry so much what people think. I want to touch on a little bit about how your business has kind of evolved and changed over the years and also how it's kind of pivoted this year, since it's been a crazy year. How have you seen things kind of like evolve?
Heather Sager 41:15
Yeah, so I like to think about my business. Originally, I was telling you, I was toying with a couple ideas. Do we do sales? Do I do communications? At first it was communications, and it was like speaking, and then I grappled with the, am I qualified to teach. We all grapple with those things, right?
When I initially started, I'm like, Okay, I'm going to teach presentation skills. But the more I started taking on clients, I help people with some TED Talks at the beginning, I helped some executives work on their stage presence, like I was dabbling in a lot of different kinds of people.
When I attended my first it's going to sound so, so funny. When I attended my first conference in the space and I met other online entrepreneurs, I had this immediate moment of going, ah, I can help these people. These are my people. I can help them because I like working with people who do similar things to me.
That's what I loved about working with doctors. We had the shared thing about the hearing but also they were a leader in their company. I was a leader of a very large team. I like to geek out with them around staff engagement leadership. I like working with people who do something similar that I do. It's very meta. I can teach them what I'm doing so they can do it too.
When I first started, I'm like working with all entrepreneurs but the more I've done this, the more I'm like online entrepreneurs, the more confident I'm saying, Ah, it's okay to say online entrepreneurs.
I still have, like I said, lawyers and accountants who work in corporate like in my programs are mostly entrepreneurial lawyers that don't have online programs, but they like what I teach so they're using it.
I've gotten more confident in saying who exactly I serve. But also I've realized, yes, I love live speaking, I love conferences, I love stages. A big part of my business was that still, and then the pandemic happened, and I lost 30% of my revenue from all my speaking gigs being canceled. Hello, I'm a speaking coach. My clients, all their events were canceled.
Luckily, I had already started looking in like the virtual space. I had people coming to me saying, Heather, how are you? You are so comfortable on camera. Heather, how are you doing so many Facebook Lives? Gosh, how did you show up on Instagram Stories every single day, like, I don't even know where to look on my phone.
It already had people asking me a lot of questions and naturally, I was already doing coaching on those things. Honestly, I just slapped the word virtual in front of stages, and just started talking about that.
That's when I always talked about speaking anywhere you go in your business, you have to show up and be magnetic with whoever you talk to you. I don't care if it's on a stage or off. Instead of staying on and off stage, I just started talking about virtual stages and defining a stage is just a place to share your message as I've said twice now today, like so just focusing on that has all the sudden empowered dozens of business owners who are inside my program.
They're like, Oh, now I'm confident on Facebook Lives. Now I'm confident showing up on IGTV. Now I'm confident I just booked my first virtual summit.They're imagining themselves as this speaker that they never thought possible because getting on a conference stage is so scary but now they're speaking on stages every single day sharing their message, making an impact, which is pretty freakin cool.
So I pivoted, I would say hard, but also very easily into my business. Now I mean, everything I do is virtual and it's paid off very, very well but it's been really fun. I can't wait for life stages to open again but for now, I'm having a lot of fun on the virtual stages.
Megan Accardo 44:45
Yeah. Oh my gosh, okay. Yeah, it seems like it was it was a tweak. It was a pivot but such a natural fit, and it's probably opened up, obviously, so much more business in a different direction that is sustainable long term so you can always keep that business while adding in the live stuff later on. If you could pick one conference to come back first, this might be a really hard question because I know you love conferences. What would it be?
Heather Sager 45:18
It's hard. It's hard because, okay, this is where it's hard because sometimes I attend conferences for two reasons. One to learn, obviously, but the other one to be with my ideal audience and learn what they're learning and network.
I get so much of my business through meeting people at conferences. If I had to pick one conference, it was the conference, the last conference I attended before, like the world shut down and it was Brendon Burchard's High Performance Experience.
It was my first live Brendon Burchard conference. I have since, I had my mug here. I have since gone through his certification. I'm now a certified High Performance Coach.
Megan Accardo 45:55
Heather Sager 45:56
I love it. It was incredible opportunity. I attended with my husband. I love a good personal development conference. I believe, like if I'm going to show up for my audience and teach them business strategies, or speaking strategies, or any of those things, I have to work on myself and teach them to do the same.
The majority of what I do is teaching people to believe in themselves and be a leader for their audience. It's just articulating themselves is the skill we use, but really I'm a personal development coach disguised like as a business coach.
For me 100% personal development conference, Brendon Burchard, any day, I loved it, great experience, and I can't wait to go back.
Megan Accardo 46:33
Okay, we will look forward to that. That's amazing. And we should tell everyone that we met at a live conference. It was November of 2019, right? So it works, people. Get out there. It's the best. I just happened to sit next to you randomly or was it random? I don't know.
I have a couple more questions as we're wrapping up. I obviously could talk to you all day. But this podcast is called Power Your purpose. We touched on purpose earlier. What does living a life of purpose mean to you?
Heather Sager 47:11
I think everyone has to be really clear around the impact they make. I think for the purposes in twofold, right? There's like your purpose that you have in your own life. For me, it's clearly my connection to my kids and the life I'm creating for my husband and my kids and my family.
But also I believe everybody has a bigger calling in life that's beyond their circle of influence right now. I've come to learn that, there's this phrase I use a lot for people when I'm talking about speaking. Some people are drawn to the spotlight, but other people are called into it.
It's this idea that when you have a message, when you have this desire to help people, it's almost like a calling. A lot of people are scared of that call. You don't even know to listen to it so they don't know how to bring it out as they live with it. They just constantly question how am I going to do this.
For me, if I could help more people have the courage to speak their purpose, to speak their ideas, to make the impact, I just think about the ripple effect of that. So for me, like my purpose is to help other people unlock theirs and if that ripple effect starts going, that's the kind of world I want my kids to live in. For me, it's it's very much a much bigger, much bigger calling.
Megan Accardo 48:31
Yes. Okay. I love that. And last question, if you could go back in time and give young, sweet Heather, one piece of advice, what age would you be? And what would you tell her?
Heather Sager 48:46
So I read this question last night, while I was sitting in my kitchen at the island, and I was really taken aback the immediate thing that came to mind when I thought about this question.
I'm gonna get teary thinking about it. When I was 17, I lost my mom to cancer. As you could imagine, that was a very, very hard, hard thing. But like, that was the immediate thing that came back. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I wish I could tell her that this story that you're walking through right now, it's the story you're going to use to help other people.
I think sometimes when we're in these really difficult moments where we're going through a hard time, or we're in the middle of something that we're like, how the heck is this happening? Hence, 2020, a pandemic that just keeps piling on. I think it's really easy to get caught up in the narrative and start making all these other stories about it but I keep coming back to say, this is a story that you're walking through so you can share it and help other people.
I wish like, that's part of my purpose now, but I wish I could go back and tell me at 17 that while there wasn't a reason for losing my mom, I couldn make it meaningful. I hope whoever's listening today you think about the things that happen in your life, good, bad or different. God hears the cry part I was mentioning earlier in my mantra.
Megan Accardo 50:14
I know you really come through in your mantra.
Heather Sager 50:15
I came through on it. I think we all have to remember that we all walk through things and when you have the courage to share it, you never know the ripple effect of how your one story is going to land for another person and change their life, even if you never get the feedback that it does.
So I think that's the thing when it comes to story is, it has a ripple effect that sometimes you can never ever see and I wish I knew that at the time but I also I know life plays out exactly as it needs to to put you in the position where you need to be and for right me for right now, it's right here with you.
Megan Accardo 50:49
Yeah, well, that is so beautiful, how you turn that tragedy into something that has amazing meaning for you. I can't even imagine at the time how hard that was so thank you for sharing. I think anyone who's listening who's going through a hard time right this moment will be encouraged and that you can't see the end and you don't know if there ever is a reason. You know, sometimes there isn't like shitty things happen and there's no reason but you can really just connect with others in those moments and that's what it's all about. Just really like looking forward with it and, and helping other people through similar things. So I really appreciate you being here, Heather, I love that you made us laugh. You made us cry and what's the last part?
Heather Sager 51:40
Something that will change their lives.
Megan Accardo 51:49
I hope you enjoyed this week's episode of Power Your purpose. For shownotes, downloads and more resources, head to meganaccardo.com where you can find out more about this week's episode. If you enjoyed this week's episode, take a minute to go to iTunes and leave a review for your chance to be featured on the show.