Visibility & Vulnerability: How Much to Share as a Personal Brand
Transcript: Episode #183
[00:00:00] Vulnerability is not a black and white how much of my story to share vulnerability is about who you’re sharing it for and how you’re showing up in an authentic way because your audience, I would bet similar to you and just like why you listen to me on this show, you like listening because I’m a real person and I talk to you like a real person and I bring you valuable information that helps you move forward in your life and your business.
[00:00:35] This is the podcast for the entrepreneur who wants to make a big impact, who doesn’t shy away from hard work, but also wants to enjoy life along the way. Hi, I’m Heather Sager, former executive turned entrepreneur, and I’ve spent the last 20 years working with premium brands, sales, marketing and communication, and I’ve learned that when you become a magnet with your message, you only need a hint of hustle to achieve your goals.
[00:01:00] Get ready to be inspired and ignited each week with tangible strategies on sales speaking, marketing and so much more. This is the Hint of Hustle podcast. Let’s go.
[00:01:26] Well, hey friend, welcome back to another episode. The amount of messages that I got in last week from you about the new format of the show, Hint of Hustle, the feedback around Ellen’s interview and just how many of you are resonating with this idea of, yeah, business takes hard work. There are seasons of hustle, but also, there are seasons where we need to take care of other things outside of work so thank you so much. I’m glad the show has resonated with you, and I cannot wait to bring you more great content starting with today’s episode. Now, just a spoiler, I just did the interview for next week’s episode with photographer, Kristine Richer, and you were gonna go bananas over that interview.
[00:02:10] Pretty much, let’s just set the expectation moving forward that you are going to freaking love every guest on this show because, Oh my goodness. The wisdom and also the how much you’re gonna resonate with their stories, oh, it’s so good. Anyways, teaser for next week. Kristine is a wonderful photographer. She has an education business online with other photographers. You’re gonna get into that next week, but today the topic we have to talk about is around vulnerability.
[00:02:39] Now, if you’re a lover of Brene Brown, like me, here’s what’s an interesting thing, and the reason why I wanna have this conversation today is because I’ve been hearing from more and more business owners in order for them to be successful as a personal brand online, in order for them to be more visible, ie., [00:03:00] showing up on stories, on podcasts, on stages.
[00:03:04] That visibility means if you wanna, if you wanna do it, great, you also have to be really vulnerable and questions I get all the time, specifically related to storytelling and speaking, people are always wanting to know how much of my story should I share? Which parts of my story should I share? Do I need to share this really deeply personal thing?
[00:03:23] When do I share it? When it’s appropriate? What should I not be sharing with my audience? And if you’ve ever thought about these things too or you’ve maybe heard someone share something and you went, I don’t know that they should have shared that. No judgment. We all have our thoughts internally around, how that person is being really open or woof.
[00:03:40] That’s a little much or you’re like, yeah, bring it. I love, I love it when people are real and raw. Whatever your relationship with the word vulnerability or when people sharing things, I would bet that you have asked yourself the question, am I sharing? Am I sharing too much? What is the right Goldilocks effect? Too much [00:04:00] sharing, too little sharing. Where’s the just right? And that’s what we’re going to explore in this episode, so let’s do it.
[00:04:08] We’ve all heard of the term, the vulnerability hangover. I think you have done it. If you’re listening to this show, you’ve been an entrepreneur, maybe you’ve gone live or you were on a webinar, or maybe you were being interviewed on a podcast and you said something and later you regretted it, or you were not regretful, but you’re like, Oh, I feel deeply exposed. Well, the word or phrase, vulnerability hangover, that comes from Brene Brown, and she says that a vulnerability hangover is that gut-wrenching feeling of shame or fear that pops in right after we undertake an emotional risk. Now, sometimes that vulnerability hangover for you might show up, not necessarily of, oops, I’ve said too much but maybe the sheer fact of showing your face or using your voice, raising your hand, inserting yourself in a conversation, maybe that in itself has been this emotional risk for you. I hear this a lot of times from women, women speaking on panels, especially if they’re speaking on panels with a bunch of men.
[00:05:09] Maybe they like, there’s a, a little bit of a spiral. I’ve done this personally myself where I’ve been on a panel before and I have lots to say and other people weren’t saying things. So raising my hand, maybe one too many times I told myself, oh, I’m talking too much. Oh, I shouldn’t, I should let somebody else answer the question.
[00:05:27] Or we all have our relationships with those kinds of things, but I would have moments of going, oh, did I share enough? Did I not share a little? And it wasn’t even about was what I share well, well, was what I was sharing deep or emotional? Personal. I even have the struggle with the, am I sharing my knowledge too much? Too little, right?
[00:05:48] We all have our own version of that, of, oh, did we use our voice enough or too much? Are we taking up too much space? Are we not? Even when you have really big goals to speak on big stages or you know you have a message that’s meant to impact so many people, that vulnerability hangover is real, and today we’re going to unpack it a bit and my goal for this episode is to help reframe maybe how you’re thinking about vulnerability now in terms of your personal brand, online, offline, on stage, and hopefully help you feel a little bit more confident around what you share and also be okay with what you choose not to share. That is the nature of today’s conversation so let’s dive in to it.
[00:06:36] Now I’ll start by sharing with you my personal opinion is vulnerability is essential to trust building and personally for me, I am not in business to become a face on a screen and only have people engage with me through that’s screen. I’m building relationships with people, so I do one-on-one clients. We host events. We have our group coaching program which is very hands-on.
[00:07:01] I take clients on Voxer, which is a back and forth voice messaging app. I like talking with people and I never see that going away in my business. And for me, that connection is relationship building. And for me personally, speaking on my needs to have a high quality relationship, I need vulnerability to happen.
[00:07:21] And you might be feeling the same for you, but let me define what I think vulnerability means, but let’s start with the textbook definition. So vulnerability on a textbook definition. Thanks, Miriam Webster, the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
[00:07:42] Let me read that again. The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. So where vulnerability comes, when it comes to visibility, ie., anywhere you’re showing up with your face, your voice, your word, your heart, anywhere in your business, think about any place your copy touches.
[00:08:04] Anyone who comes across your website, they go through your highlights on Instagram, they come across you on LinkedIn, they download your webinar or your freebie, any of those things. The state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. If you’ve ever struggled with the, oh my gosh, what are other people going to think of me?
[00:08:24] This is vulnerability. And here’s the thing, it’s very easy for people online or some guru to tell you, like other people’s opinion of you, isn’t important or other people’s opinion of you shouldn’t matter to you or it’s none of your business. I’ve heard iterations of all of those. But as humans, as people, we seek connection with others.
[00:08:50] So it’s no wonder that we feel vulnerable putting ourselves out there. Now, even if like me, you are totally comfortable speaking on a huge stage in front of tens of thousands of people, vulnerability is at play. In fact, all of the keynote speakers that I’ve worked with over the years, they all too still feel vulnerable right before they go on stage, and even when they’re on stage, even when they’re pros at what they do. They’ve done it hundreds, thousands of times before. There is still an element of vulnerability because it is the state of being exposed, the possibility of being attacked emotionally, right? There could be a heckler, people could not like you.
[00:09:29] So just recognizing that. Doesn’t go away, and the goal isn’t for vulnerability to disappear. In fact, this is what I feel like it’s required. We have to truly put on ourselves in a position to be vulnerable if we want to be seen. And if you’re listening to this show, you want people to hear your message.
[00:09:51] Whether it’s an intentional, conscious thing or not, you want people to hear from you. You want your message to get out there, whether they’re reading your copy or they’re [00:10:00] seeing your lives, or they’re hearing you speak on a stage. The goal is to get your voice and your message in front of more people.
[00:10:07] Yes or yes. That is the thing. So what you’re asking for, what you’re signing up is vulnerability. It requires it. So what I want you to think about is, what your relationship and interpretation of vulnerability is. You see, when I first thought of the topic for this episode, what came to mind initially around, oh, where most people tie vulnerability to, it’s how much of my, how much of the bad parts of me, or the bad things that have happened in my life.
[00:10:41] How much of that do I share? That’s what most people think when it comes to vulnerability. And in the context of what I do as a speaking coach, a lot of people are asking me, well, how much of my story should I be sharing? Am I being like vulnerable enough? Is that too much? It’s always in relation to the story, but you know, friend, we’re not just showing up on these platform sharing stories.
[00:11:03] We’re showing up as us we’re teaching, and in our teaching, we still have the capacity to be vulnerable and I wanna break that down a little bit. So what vulnerability means to me, what I think people are rally seeking when they’re talking about the idea of wanting to see more vulnerability in others, what people want is authenticity. Said another way, we wanna feel like we’re working with other humans. We wanna feel that you’re real. I get this all the time. People are like, Heather, we love that you’re real. You don’t try to be fancy all the time. Yeah, I am polished. I can do my fancy thing, but I word flub y’all. I say farts. I say real shit that your girlfriend would say if we were having a margarita at happy hour.
[00:11:48] I talk like a real person Now. The strategy that I bring, the, the skills and the tactics that I bring into my podcast, it elevates the level of the show because I know my shit but I also [00:12:00] talk like a real person. There’s balance in that, and there have been so many studies that have come out here over the last few years that especially with the pandemic and people being away from each other, we are craving connection with other people now, more than ever. Said a different way, people are craving genuine human interaction and not just let me front up and pretend I am this way on the Instagram, but they actually want to see that other people are like them. That’s what this conversation really is about. So if you’ve been thinking, okay, vulnerability, should I be doing more of it?
[00:12:38] The real question we need be asking, are we showing up as a real person? Are we showing real versions of ourself or are we trying to show up in a facade or in a mask to put up a front so that other people will trust us? Friend, the trust isn’t how professional your graphics look, although that can be important.
[00:12:56] It’s part of our brand. We have beautiful visuals, but also scroll my Instagram, they’re kind of all over the map. Y’all like beautiful visuals. It’s not just it. What people are craving is realness. Are you like me? Can I relate with you? Can I see that you get me? And it can’t be so casual, right? That they don’t respect the, your teaching and what you have to offer as a mentor in the lane that you teach. So they definitely have to see that you are farther ahead of them in your specific area that you teach. But they wanna, like you, they wanna know that okay, I, I see a little bit of myself in you. And so finding that balance for yourself.
[00:13:39] What does authenticity, what does realness look like? That’s what we’re talking about today, and that’s really what I wanna challenge you to think about is, are you being real with your audience? Are you being real? And there’s a couple questions I just, I jotted down some notes around, okay, how can I, how can articulate what I do, what I think about in the way that I communicate?
[00:13:59] Let me back up for just a moment. One of the things that I’m very, very proud about in my communication style. I’ve shared with you before, I’m a very strong communicator. Now, most personality assessments, if you go through like, human design and any other of those little like assessment things that I’ve done, it always comes back out that I am a strong communicator.
[00:14:20] Now, just because I’m a strong communicator doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with communication. I was a very, very shy kid growing up and I surprising to most. I am an introvert, so just because I’m good at communication doesn’t mean that I’m always comfortable using it so I have worked really, really hard on my communication skills in my career. It’s why I specialize now in communication is because I see how valuable it was. Communication was the catalyst that helped me skyrocket up the corporate ladder and do what I do now. We talked about that back in episode 181, but what I wanted to bring up is for me, what I realized in my communication, whether it was fundraising for my family’s nonprofit, whether it was competing in the Miss America Organization.
[00:15:04] Yep. That was a story whether that was me speaking on stages or working with doctors, consulting in their practices, whatever lane. Here’s what I realized when I was sitting down with someone or I was observing someone else’s communication the immediate unconscious gut check that happens as I was listening was, do I believe this?
[00:15:29] Do I believe what this person is saying? Now I’m gonna go straight for the jugular here, my friend. If you find yourself using a voice that’s like, your telephone voice. If you grew up in the eighties and nineties, like me, and there was an actual phone on your wall growing up, that would ring and we all would have to answer it.
[00:15:47] Growing up in my house, I’m the youngest of six kids. My mom, bless her heart. She was also deaf like me. We’re, wear hearing aids. We’re both partially deaf. My family a lot of us were hearing aids, so we were very loud, loud all the time outta necessity, but also, I mean, lots of children. My mom would be yelling across the house, Christina, get your hands off Heather.
[00:16:07] And the telephone would ring and my mom would go into. Thank you for calling. This is Clara in her telephone voice and no matter what she was doing or who she was screaming out, my mom turned it on and that was her like total joke growing up, mom’s telephone voice. Bringing that into business friend, you know, your telephone voice, your version of that.
[00:16:28] For me, how that showed up is when I would do lives or prerecorded video and watch them back. I’m like, what is that weird voice that I’m doing? It’s this polished voice that we bring. That reminds me of a TV announcer on the news, John. That weird voice that you see other people do. So see, when I was observing other people’s communication, I noticed that we would be chit chatting, having coffee, and then the presentation would start, or it was time for the assessment or whatever the work was, and there would be this mannerism change, both in their facial expressions, in their posture, but also in their voice.
[00:17:03] And coming back to the question, do I believe this person? I’d go, what’s happening? Something that’s changed. They are uncomfortable. And this is something that I want you thinking about when you show up on any kind of stage, a virtual stage, a physical stage, a video, a live stream, any of those things I want you thinking about is the way that I’m communicating.
[00:17:25] That was a hard word, communicating . It’s the way that I’m communicating. Does it sound like my normal voice? That is kind of the first piece, because before someone actually understands the words you say, they’re reading your body language and they’re hearing your tone, and they’re going, do I believe this person?
[00:17:41] Do I trust this person? Do I wanna listen to this person? So for me, right now, where we’re starting is establishing some trust in how we communicate and your comfort level you bring to the conversation that trumps the words, what you share, how much you share, how much you don’t share. What we’re focused on is how do we show up authentically?
[00:18:03] Now, I know, and I’ve talked about on the show, that that word authenticity has been over, over overused, but what we’re bringing it down is authenticity is in its natural state, the original. And my friend, you are the OG you and the way that you talk to your friends, to your family and I don’t mean about being like all super casual.
[00:18:22] The tone at which you speak to people should not be different when you get on the phone with a client or on a stage so I want you to be aware of that. Now, you can raise your level of professionalism if you desire, you can raise your articulation, you can ensure that you are speaking the right way for the right kind of audience, right?
[00:18:41] For me, I think about this levels of formality. I’ve talked about this very early on the podcast. Think about how you wear things different days of the week. So your most casual version of you in a messy bun on a Sunday morning is gonna be different than your Sunday best that you were that afternoon, which is gonna be different than maybe meeting friends [00:19:00] or your girlfriends for brunch on a Tuesday.
[00:19:02] It’s all still you, but your wardrobe, it changes based in the environment, like if you go to a black tie event, you’re obviously gonna formalize it up a little bit. So when I think about speaking, the casualness of how I speak on the podcast is different than how I speak on a keynote stage. On a keynote stage, I have to be more clear with my voice.
[00:19:21] I speak in variable tone. I am much tighter with my sentences and my words because I’m on a time limit. Right now, I’m on my stage and I’m talking to you like we’re sitting over a cup of coffee. My level of formality in my voice is gonna vary based on the stage, but all of it is very authentic to me. If you were to hear one of my keynotes, you watch my videos on Instagram, you watch me do a podcast or panel interview and list the podcast, you’re not gonna go, Ooh, that sounds like a different person, or, she is, she’s playing a part. No, they’re all authentic. That through the line, the OG Heather shows up on all those platforms. So what I want you to think about is, first and foremost, are you being truly authentic in how you communicate?
[00:20:04] And if not, give yourself permission to gut check and say, what would it sound like for me to say this, like me? This comes both in tone, but it also comes into vocabulary. When you speak, I did a podcast episode if you wanna listen to a very, a really, really good episode. We’ll linked with the show notes, I talk about the parrot effect that happens so often in online business.
[00:20:28] When you hear from a mentor who’s using certain phrases or different language or slang, and you pick up their language and then all of a sudden you sound like a parrot of the people you’ve learned from, how to not do that, you need to sound like yourself so that would be a really good follow-up episode and we’ll link to that in the show notes so you can listen. But what we have to make sure is in our language and how we speak, we’re showing up realness because that’s what people are craving. They want to listen to people who sound like real people. Do I want to have a real conversation with you? Now, the substance of what you’re talking if you’re talking very casually speaking and you’re being very casual and flippant with your expertise, people aren’t gonna trust and respect your topic. So the quality at what you’re talking about of the actual content that needs to be elevated, that needs to be like on point. Otherwise, I mean, imagine, okay, I’m gonna go off on another weird side tangent here.
[00:21:26] A couple years ago I went to a conference and they had a couple guest speakers. It was one of the online, online events. It was a bonus event I went to that had a bunch of other speakers from the online space that came up. So they were all speaking the exchange speaking for each other. By the way, great way to get on stages.
[00:21:42] But what was fascinating is one of the guest speakers stood up and he was wearing flip-flop sandals. I’m pretty confident I’ve shared this story on the podcast before, so you might be giggling hearing this again, flip-flop sandals. I was sitting in the front row. He was wearing flip flops and shorts.
[00:21:55] He’s from California and all I could see were his hairy toes cuz that was in the first row, elevated stage and he was so casual and the casualness didn’t bother me. The hairy toes were slightly it was just a little much for a Tuesday. But here’s the thing, the quality of his content was exceptional.
[00:22:18] It was exceptional. He, it was very clear. He knew what he was talking about. He wasn’t arrogant about it. He was very casual, very much like, Ooh, I could totally have a beer with this guy and talk shop in his area of expertise. So the, the hairy toe flip flops, please don’t come after me about the hairy toe things.
[00:22:34] Keep your hairy toes if you’d like to keep your hairy toes. It’s just not for me and I don’t wanna see it on a stage right at eye level. But it, for me, that balance of that casual was super authentic to him . I still saw him as a like expert in his topic because of the quality of his content. So let me go down this rabbit hole here, cuz what you’re probably thinking is, Heather, you’re judging them by what they wear in their clothes.
[00:22:59] We all are friends, right? And you don’t have to like, what they’re wearing but overall, your perception of the speaker on stage is sending you these cues subconsciously or not, whether or not you trust this person, whether or not you believe this person, you believe that they’ve got the results. Do you like this person?
[00:23:15] Do you actually believe that the general results of their clients is what they’re saying or are you going like, yeah, how many people get that buddy? Are you trusting this person? Are you liking this person? Is what they’re saying making sense? Can you see how their content fits in? This comes from their content, but it also calms my friend.
[00:23:31] By what you’re absorbing in with your eyes and your ears. And I say this with all love in the world, y’all. We all judge, we all make first impressions and stereotypes come into play whether we’re aware of them or not and regardless if we believe them. Case in point, I’ve heard from many keynote speakers who wear short skirts, they do cleavage, they do high heels.
[00:23:56] They have a very specific style and speakers bureaus sometimes can’t book because a lot of corporate environments do not want provocative on stage. It doesn’t matter how damn good your content is, if you choose, that’s your style. Just know that it’s not gonna be okay with everyone else. If you choose ladies to wear jeans and tennis shoes on stage, but an event wants you to dress up business casual, the choice is yours, whether or not you wanna do it.
[00:24:18] But at the end of the day, the meeting planner is gonna decide what they want to see on stage. It is the nature of the game, it’s how it works. This was not the intention of the episode, but all of these things are coming in that people are taking in their impression of you with their eyes, with their ears, and of course with the content of what you’re seeing, and all of it comes together to say, are you an expert? Do I trust you? Do I believe you? Can I see myself in your content? Can I see this working for me? Do I want to learn from you? Are you the person from me? These are all questions that people are unconsciously answering in their own minds as you are speaking. So coming back to the question of when you’re visible, when you show up on screen or on stage and you’re wondering like, how vulnerable do I, what do I want to be?
[00:25:04] I want you to come back to this who are you being vulnerable for? Who are you being vulnerable for? And I think this is the question you should ask yourself anytime that you wanna share a story or think like, oh, I gotta tell my audience about this. Gotta ask yourself, who am I being vulnerable for? And if you have something that you wanna get off your chest or you wanna share with your audience because you just wanna share. I want you to say, honestly, you’re sharing it for yourself and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you are just sharing it because you’re like, oh, I gotta share this thing cuz it happened to me and, and blah, blah blah, and you just wanna share something that’s happened with you in your life, you’re sharing it for you but if you ask yourself the question, I want to, or I need to share this part about myself for my audience because they too might have struggled with this feeling before.
[00:25:55] That is a different conversation. Those are the type of vulnerable stories that we can share for the benefit of our audience and that’s where we can learn, lean into, and be a little bit more brave. I believe this is what Brene Brown talks about is when you’re being brave because you know you’re sharing something because you’re creating connection with other people.
[00:26:13] So I like to use these three little words to ask myself. What I’m about to do is share, whether it’s on Instagram stories or I’m evaluating which stories to include in my workshops or podcasts, or well, let’s be honest, y’all, I include a lot of stuff in the podcast some of them on the fly, some of them pre-planned.
[00:26:29] But also in keynote, I’m thinking about and there are three words that I filter and say, who’s this for? And am I cheering up for the right reasons? So helpful, hurtful or hubris, helpful, hurtful or hubris. Helpful, meaning, am I sharing this because I know my audience will either encounter this or has encountered this experience more specifically, this feeling that I worked through or had that’s being helpful.
[00:26:57] Is it being hurtful? An example of this is sharing a story, maybe it doesn’t have a happy ending or it’s just gonna agitate your audience or point to pain that maybe they don’t wanna hear. Is it damaging or hurtful to a certain segment of your audience? It’s a group of people. Hubris is, are you sharing it because it just sounds damn good and you kind of wanna show off.
[00:27:21] Maybe you wanna share that you you made it through something. Maybe you wanna share that you got selected through something maybe you wanna share, I don’t know, for whatever reason. Those are the three filters. It’s either helpful, it’s hurtful, or it’s hubris. It’s either serving your own ego and I don’t say this in an effort to tell you not to share.
[00:27:40] I am an, I share a lot. I share a lot of things on this show, and I encourage you to share stories too, but I also want you to own why you’re sharing them. When we’re sharing stories or we’re sharing insights to our a. Are we coming from a place that is helpful? Are we coming from a place that where there’s some version of a resolve, right?
[00:27:59] Are we sharing ‘cuz we’re in it and is sharing us being in it right now helpful to their audience? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes it actually might be hurtful When you’re thinking about sharing a story or sharing behind the scenes in your business, just ask. Would it be helpful for other people to hear this?
[00:28:14] And there’s not a formula, there isn’t an exact like, ooh, don’t share that. But what I will say, is you don’t have to share everything. You don’t have to share all of the inner workings behind your scenes of your business. You do not have to share all the things that are going on in your personal life. In fact, my favorite ways of like to connect with audiences through stories is I look back and what I focus on first is whatever it is I’m teaching, there is an emotion behind.
[00:28:43] That people have related to this topic. So for example, if I’m talking to people around filler words, a lot of times filler words comes from nerves. A lot of times filler words comes in because we’re anticipating the oof audiences are judging us. It’s the epitome of what I read, the definition of vulnerability.
[00:29:01] We’re in a state of being exposed where other people could harm us with their thoughts, their words, whatever else. So filler words also often come from when we’re super hyper focused on getting it. Getting it perfect, our perfection and things come in. So if I know that people really struggle with perfectionism and then therefore they don’t want to speak because they know they’re using filler words and they just don’t sound very smart, they don’t wanna sound like an idiot when they’re getting up there.
[00:29:28] So because of that perfection is that feeling of, ah, I’m not good enough yet. So there’s all these feelings and thoughts that boil to it. If I’m gonna be teaching that or talking about that topic, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna say, you know, when was the time for me, either recently or past in my experience, where I really struggled to move forward with something because of my perfectionism?
[00:29:49] Where was I? Maybe struggling in a way where I was worried about how other people would see me, or maybe I could use an example of a time when I was doing something but I wasn’t as polished or as good at it yet as I wanted to. Where I start is what feeling or experience am I trying to hit home? And then I go back to my story Rolodex, ie, my memory in my brain, or I go to my story vault which will link to the episode where I teach you all how to create a bank of stories you can pull from in your business.
[00:30:21] See the show notes for that one. But I go in there and I say which story provokes that feeling, that showcases that similar experience so I can pull into it and share from that. So I very rarely start by going, oh my gosh, I have to tell on this story. Sometimes I do that on the podcast. I do that sometimes.
[00:30:39] But when I’m teaching in content, I’m more strategic around how can I connect with someone on a feeling, a true, real feeling that I’ve. Most likely those true real feelings that you’ll have will be you earlier on in your journey in what you teach or I love pulling experiences from completely unrelated situations cuz it’s easier to bond with your audience.
[00:31:02] Which brings me to my next thing that I wanted to share when it comes to what we had typically thought about vulnerability. How much do I share? Here’s another filter that I want you to think. How do you want people to feel when they hear you share your story? Do you want them to feel sympathy? Do you want them to feel empathy?
[00:31:22] Do you want them to feel connection? I don’t know what the answer is, but I like to explore these questions because here is the, here’s a tangible tactic I want you to think about when you’re telling a story in your content and in your work. What I want you to think about is what is the angle you’re coming?
[00:31:41] Back in the episode with Mike Gino, fellow speaking coach, we talked about how when it comes to storytelling, you can tell the same story and over and over again, but you can change the angles, change the perspective, come at it from different ways. We’ll link to that episode in the show notes too. Here’s a tactical example.
[00:31:55] I was helping a president of a company, not of the United States. A couple years ago build his presentation for a conference and he wanted to share a time where he failed in his leadership. Okay. He totally flopped it and his leadership and he was sharing a story around a really difficult conversation with one of his senior leaders on his team and as you explained this situation, he was sharing parts of what she was saying. So what she did where she messed up kind of the difficult things, maybe you can see where this is going, is the story that he was sharing was actually his perspective observing this senior leader for like screwing up, freaking up.
[00:32:40] I almost had a different word there, which would totally be fine. I didn’t so the story was coming. He was essentially sharing her experience, which was not his experience and as someone listening, it didn’t build any connection because it’s like, hold on. He was actually deflecting sharing vulnerability.
[00:32:59] He was telling her story, like the facts that had happened and what she was struggling with, and I’m like, dude, that’s a, that’s a terrible story. One, you are sharing her parts of the story, and that’s not yours to tell, but two, you’re avoiding the realness of how you actually failed as a leader so let’s flip it.
[00:33:16] What did you feel when she walked in the office? What did you do? When she said when she responded to you, I don’t care what she said, how did you handle her response? Where did you fall down when X, Y, and Z happened? So when I come back to sympathy, empathy, or connection, take this one story. The story we were telling was a story of him failing as a leader through a terribly navigated conversation in his office.
[00:33:40] The angle that we need to focus on is if he wants the lesson, if he wants to take away to be empathy, ie, other leaders going crap. I could have navigated that conversation in the same way, like, oh man, he screwed that up but I could see how I could too. That’s the, that was the goal of that story was to [00:34:00] have that connection and empathy where other leaders can see that they too could fall down and it’s an easy slip which is why you have to develop your leadership and be skilled in those kinds of conversations.
[00:34:11] That was the point of the talk, but coming back to it, the way he was telling the story. He was telling it in protecting his own vulnerability and he was trying to state the facts and actually, not intentionally, but putting the employee in the bad light. One of my best tips for you, if you wanna build vulnerability in connection with your audience, you don’t ever bring stories that talk poorly about other people.
[00:34:34] Even if you’re telling, if you’re telling a story about your client, you don’t tell stories about making your client sound, like terrible, whoa is me. Your job is to help shine people in a positive light. So now you’re thinking, well, how do I tell case studies of things? Think about how you tell the stories.
[00:34:51] What you wanna think about is when you share the vulnerability of other people. One, do it with permission, but two, think about what the goal is that you’re doing here. So if you’re gonna share a case study of a client, make sure that you’re also sharing. The full story, not just woe is me. They were like lazy.
[00:35:06] They were doing all the things until they got my program and then it was gravy. No, the better way to share that would be this client was struggling. They had tried all these different techniques and they had thought X, Y, and Z because of course we all think that because when you don’t have the information available, what else could you think?
[00:35:24] You don’t make them sound like it’s totally their fault or that they were in the wrong. You wanna help people see the benefit of doubt because spoiler, your audience who’s listening and relating with that pre-client. They don’t wanna be told that they’re totally in the wrong and that they’re gonna fail.
[00:35:41] They wanna see that they too can climb out of it. So coming back around when it comes to storytelling, sharing examples about yourself, other people, what you wanna be thinking about is, am I looking for sympathy? Am I looking for, oh, poor you, or, oh, that must have been hard or are you looking for empathy and connection?
[00:35:59] As in I relate to pieces of your story even if I haven’t experienced something similar. That’s what the importance of vulnerability is, is because here’s the deal. You are representing your brand. When you show up on different stages, when you’re showing up, whether it’s in type or in spoken word, you’re representing your brand and you have to think about what do you want to stand for, how do you want to come across?
[00:36:25] These are all things we talk about on the show, but at the end of the day, for someone to invest in you and someone to. Choose to follow you, to work with you, to sing your praises, to send people your way. Ultimately, they have to respect you and they have to trust you. And I don’t know about you, but I do not trust, and I have little respect for other people that do not have self-awareness.
[00:36:52] That they too have opportunities. Growth is a high value of mine, so I look for vulnerability to other people. By them having awareness of talking about what they’ve done wrong in their career. They don’t have to talk about it every day, but showing stories of their struggle. That is important to me when I’m looking to mentors and leaders and people that I follow.
[00:37:13] Also, one of the things that’s important to me when I look at trust in other people is, are people humble in sharing that it took hard work to get to where they are or are they egotistical just floy look at all of my success, kind of downplaying the hard work. These are things that are important to me.
[00:37:29] When I look at trust building with mentors, you have your own values that you have to evaluate, but what I really want you to take away from this episode is, vulnerability is not a black and white. How much of my story to share vulnerability is about who you’re sharing it for and how you’re showing up in an authentic way because your audience, I would bet similar to you and just like why you listen to me on this show you like listening because I’m a real person and I talk to you like a real person, and I bring you valuable information that helps you move forward in your life and your business.
[00:38:03] So I wanna hear from you what your relationship with the word vulnerability is. This is something that you’ve struggled with. What did you find value in today’s episode? Be sure to jump on over to Instagram. Come say hello, share this episode. Anytime you’re hearing anyone talk about like, oh, how much should I share?
[00:38:19] Be like, oh, you gotta listen to this episode that Heather talked about and really broke it down. Because it isn’t a gauge of say this than that. This is more of understanding why we’re sharing, which will become a compass for you, so that you can better navigate. How much should I share? What angle should I share from?
[00:38:36] How should I portray this to my audience? Is it the right time? You are the business owner. You can make those decisions, but I hope that today’s episode equipped you with some perspective to help you do that more successfully. Alright, friend. I can’t wait for you to hear next week’s interview with Kristine Richer, where we’re talking about all the great things about the behind the scenes of her business.
[00:38:54] You’re gonna love that episode. Until then, keep hustling when necessary and we’ll see you next week.
[00:39:08] Thanks for listening to another episode or the Hint of Hustle podcast. If you are in a season of hustle, consider this the permission slip. You didn’t need to take a beat, go on a walk, stretch, call a friend, go reheat that coffee for the fourth time and actually drink it because those big dreams you’re chasing, they’ve required the best version of you.
[00:39:28] And if those goals include expanding your audience, establishing your industry credibility, selling your premium price programs. The best way to tackle this is through speaking. Your voice is your best brand asset, and we’ll teach you how to use it as a marketing tool. Head on over to the speaker co.com/start and I’ll see you there.