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Jun 25, 2024 | Podcast

Commanding the Stage: Effective Public Speaking Techniques for Empaths with Dr. Susan Laverick

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About the episode:

If you’ve historically found it challenging to express yourself powerfully as an empath, this episode of The Prosperous Empath® is for you. Dr. Susan Laverick is a sought-after communications consultant with a background spanning Citigroup and the BBC in London to the international sector of Geneva. She trains peacebuilders, NGOs and future leaders to become effective communicators and speak with gravitas. Do you feel that you have a lot to say but find it difficult to figure out how to actually articulate your thoughts (or believe that your message is worth sharing)? By the end of this episode, you’ll feel motivated to embody who you are and communicate your essence with conviction so you can have a deeper impact on your community and become a better leader.


Topics discussed:

  • Susan’s story of reinventing herself after unexpectedly losing a career – harnessing her love of language, leading to a doctorate in English, and eventually establishing a Geneva-based communications consultancy for the peacebuilding and NGO sectors.
  • The importance of self-actualization and claiming your value, instead of modestly ignoring it, through giving to others most in need of the professional support you alone can provide.
  • Understanding your ethos, “the real you”, becoming proud of this, and conveying this confidence and authenticity to an audience
  • How body language enhances audience connection and reflects a speaker’s individuality.
  • The importance of becoming audience-centric, rather than speaker-centric, to spark audience engagement, and how to keep it alive it with strong, and compelling messages


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood 07:40
Susan, I’m, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. I know that we rescheduled our episode when I was traveling in France impromptu on a very last minute trip last month. And today feels like the perfect day to have you on the show. So welcome, welcome.

Thank you very much, Catherine. It’s, it’s a privilege to be on your podcast.

Catherine A. Wood 08:04
Well, by way of getting us started, I’d love for us to land a little by inviting you to share your pronouns. And then a little bit about your story, because I think that we all learn through the power of storytelling.

Absolutely. And funnily enough, I had this conversation in Paris last week with a client about the power of story, perhaps healing, even though this was a major, global corporation. And they stopped and thought, Yes, this storytelling is so it’s, it can be transformational for the audience, and those who are telling. So my pronouns are she her? And what can I tell you that isn’t staid, and flat, because I’m neither of those things. I love bright colors. As you can see, I love beauty, I love aesthetics. And I love language. I love words, I love the power of writing, to shape human thinking, to challenge our thinking, from literature, to poetry, to obviously serious books about communication. And so with that little amuse Bush, as you’ve been in Paris, we can segue into the love language of food. I’ve worked with words all of my life, and that seems to be quite a few decades, because I’m quite advanced of you in terms of the age and and I think it really when I was 14, I said to my father, I want to be an actress and he said, no daughter of mine is going on the stage without a degree. And so I went and did literature and history and, and then of course, life 10 sends us on our own paths, but from that moment as a child reading to a school, studying and ending up with my first real job in London, with a an American bank. And I was just a very green Australian who just arrived in London. But I think for me, when you asked me a little bit about what it is that motivates me it was, it really was boosted by my time at the BBC, which is when I saw the power of the media, the good old media, not the distorted media that we have today. And just really realizing this world of communication was something that resonated very deeply within me, I wasn’t a journalist, but I worked in a fairly public facing role. And we had to leave London because my husband was some he had a big promotion, and we came to Geneva. But although it was heartbreaking at the time, I have learnt, although I didn’t know this at the time, that every challenge is actually an opportunity. And so over time, I just had to regroup, pivot, and decide what can I do with the skills I had, and really, that segwayed into communication, and long story short, it’s where I am today, which is an independent consultant, my own boss, I love it. The thought of going back into an organization, someone said, Oh, we must offer you a job. And I thought, how can I turn them down if they offered me a free spirit. So working in in the way I like, which is ethics based, high value, communication, whether it’s lecturing at the universities in ethical communication, whether it’s teaching, pitching and communication skills to peacebuilders in conflict prone zones, or even corporations, which seems to be my latest feather in my hat, which I would never have expected given. I had really carved a niche. And am I suppose it’s just often being very thankful that my passion for words and writing and how we communicate is something I get to do almost every day. And whether it’s refining a speech or helping someone write a speech, or delivering a speech, because I’m a Gemini and I just

love Oh, I love that you’re a Gemini, my husband has a Gemini. Oh, it’s almost it’s your season, welcome to birthday season.

We’ll have to keep very sensible. It’s not always all about me as my my daughter’s see. But I think it’s that notion of just being an I’m not being happy clappy here, but being very grateful that I’ve arrived at a point in my life, where I can help other people with my teaching with my lecturing, and above all, and it’s very important to me in the peacebuilding sector, where I am, obviously, I can’t go into conflict zones, I’m like there has it. But I can support the the people who are working in peacebuilding programs. And I do work very closely with a number of NGOs as a communicate, communication adviser. So that is where I am now. And when I look back, I just think how lucky I am. Because you know how, and I think you’re the same because you’re doing something which, as we say, in French, say, to LePen, who is more, you know, this is your vocation. And had I stayed at the BBC, much as I loved and adored it. And I was dragged kicking and screaming all the way to Geneva, I would never have found this, this niche. And this end of Korea, well, I’ll be working till I’m 90. So, but this this final step, and this whole notion of human design, which Jen Corcoran introduced me to, and it’s there’s so much truth in that, that every age brings wisdom, but not until we get to our 50s Do we really begin to understand messages from the past, or things that have happened? So I shall stop there because I could go on?

Catherine A. Wood 14:10
Well, I actually love seeing you go on and take up so much space. And, you know, I often don’t know where I want to enter a conversation from and it just emerges. And that’s exactly where I want to enter the conversation, like the idea of just going on, because I you know, I started this podcast over a year and a half ago, because I realized that I had a lot to say, and I wasn’t giving myself the space or grace to say it, because I didn’t think that my message had importance. I didn’t think that it had enough meaning right. And so I think that that is a struggle that many empaths find in common that we we care so deep Play about our work, we want to be of service so profoundly. And yet we don’t necessarily give ourselves the space to take up and the stage to claim and the audience to speak to. And I think that’s a real mindset shift that I’ve gone through over the past decade. And a lot of the, my clients do as well. And, you know, we started this conversation, to me sharing my own belief about the importance of storytelling. And I used to never tell stories, because I didn’t want to take up that much time, I didn’t want to take up that much of other people’s time. So I would just share, you know, the distinction, or the formula. My My background is, as an economist, so I think in formulas, so I’m often very succinct and very brief. And we don’t learn through succinctness, we learn through feeling one another and the power of intimacy. And so I guess, you know, I know that you love working with female entrepreneurs and leaders, I know that you have a soft spot for that. And so I’m wondering, you know, how do you support your communications clients and giving themselves more mission to take up more space?

I think that’s one of the most important. I think that’s one of the most important questions that someone has asked me in recent times. And yes, can you hear me? Or sorry? The, the situation you just explained, as an economist, fact driven analysis, not dwelling too long on this because it’s the global picture. And then the final analysis? And the question, I always ask people, because I have learned it myself. And I’m quite evangelical about it, which is, if we don’t know our value, then no one else will know the value of you, or me. And that’s often my starting point, because you and I both know, that not every woman, because there are some very strong successful women in the C suite and in entrepreneurs and in the peacebuilding sector, for example, by the way, but not I would say, 70 60% of women are, like us and work through this process. And what is your value, and then that taps into, oh, it’s imposter syndrome. Or it’s I was brought up not to talk about myself not to boast Not to brag. And it’s very difficult to push people into that space where it which is open and to interrogate. This is you, these are your skills, but you’re not activating you’re not it’s this notion of self actualization, which I’ve always been very interested in. You’re not talking about the women I’ve some of the women I work with, you’re not getting to that point, because there’s this obstacle of not acknowledging, when actually you’re really good at x, y, and Zed. Oh, yes, I am. And it I mean, I hate the phrase, because I’m such a purist when it comes to English language. But if people aren’t owning that value, then it’s they’ll go through the motions. And I think, often, I meet women, especially who have that sense of, it’s not bitterness, but it’s a sense of almost, loss. Did you ever read the age of innocence by Edith Wharton, I have, oh, my God, my favorite, one of my favorite favorite Edith waters. And at the very end, Newland Archer pond is on his successful life. And he’s been rich and famous. And he’s got four amazing children. But he feels somehow the Flower of Life has passed him by and of course, that was his love for Iran. And, and I often say to these women, don’t be like Newland Archer, please. Whatever it is, don’t lose it. And if because if we can’t acknowledge it ourselves, it will remain here. And it’ll be our secret. It’s like, I love writing. And I’m always writing in my spare time when I have spare time. And someone says, What are you doing? And I’ll say, Well, I finished my novel. And I have actually because it’s my passion. And I’m not saying it’s going to be published because we know publishing is very hard, but it’s something which I knew I could do. It was in there, and it had to come out. And that’s a process. Women have to go through sometimes men, but I often feel very I’m sad and filled with deep compassion, which isn’t pity for these people who struggle to articulate their value. And sometimes it’s WHAT IS YOUR PASSION? What really is what is driving, you know, not the love of your family. That’s that’s taken that but not the love of this or that what is it that if you couldn’t do wouldn’t make you think I, I won’t I won’t flourish. So I

Catherine A. Wood 20:31
could not agree more. And I also just want to be mindful, I know, I noticed we’re talking about through the lens of gender, which I will try introduced. But I’ve actually noticed across the board that owning your value is a theme for empaths, almost across the board, because for empaths. In particular, especially for those of us who haven’t done some of our deeper healing work, we often find our value through being of service through doing for other people through helping through caring through giving. And when it’s externally acquired when our value is externally quantified, externally measured, it can result in burnout and fatigue and exhaustion and a sense of not knowing who we are, what our own authentic truth is separate from, who we be for and to other people. And I also just want to share, I think you’ll find this really insightful. From a coaching perspective, to have the the, I would say the tools in my toolkit that I’ve noticed over the years most support clients in doing that in our work of owning their value. The first one is acknowledging wins. Because I noticed that the more comfortable we get, acknowledging our own wins, celebrating our successes, having a healthy sense of pride around our accomplishments, we can take that perhaps intellectual knowing of our wins and our accomplishments and with time, and with practice. And with repetition, they actually become an embodied knowing of who we are, and our identity and our contribution. So that’s the first. And then the second is acknowledgement. I end every coaching session by asking my clients what they’d like to be acknowledged for or who they’d like to be acknowledged for being. And a theme in the beginning of our work together is just complete resistance. I don’t want to be acknowledged, oh, I didn’t do anything worthy of acknowledgement this week. But can I showed up in complete breakdown to our call today, like, please don’t acknowledge me. And I’ve noticed over the years that it’s, it’s often come to be the highlight of the session, because clients and me too, like, we’re actually more willing to let it in. When we put down that resistance, and that need to prove that we’re worthy or deserving of acknowledgement, or being celebrated or being recognized, we can start to really do some of that breaking down of this idea, this myth, and this really common theme in coaching, that our value has to be externally quantified or proved, versus internally owned, or identified. And so I share that to say, I mean, I think it could be useful for some of our listeners. And as a, as a real entry point, because I would love to hear from your own perspective, you know, what are some more of the communication and tactical and, you know, easy wins for clients who are really wanting to own their message and enroll other people in their message? And and, you know, what are what are some of from your vantage point? What are some of your teachings?

Again, that’s a profound question, which I’m delighted to that you have articulated, because what you’re touching on is something very, it’s an interior strength. And just going back to celebrating wins, which is what we all must do, because otherwise they’ll pass us by and we’ll think, well, I didn’t achieve anything. And then acknowledging something which is very important, but so I’m just engaging with that. But if For me what I’m any session I start, whether it’s with Peace laureates who have been recognized for their humanitarian work, often they’re presenting at the UN in New York, which is always a lovely excuse for me to go to New York or in Geneva, or it could be peacebuilders, who are going into the field, and they need to be more authoritative. Because women in this hierarchy of peacebuilding, there are less women, and there are men, but that’s just the way it works out. But women are brilliant mediators. And also the young leaders I’m teaching who are at postgraduate level. To me, it all comes down to and I can teach people how to pitch I can give them techniques and strategies. I can do all of that, and I love it. But the first thing we start with is gain. It’s funny is based, understanding who you are. Because who and my question is, when we go around a room, especially a three day program, it’s very intensive. And they probably expect me to start off telling them how to do this. I’m very interactive, and I really get a lot out of them. It’s the authenticity, part of communication, because community, communication is communal. Conversation is communal, when engaged in it all the time. Some of us are better than better at than others, because some of us like talking more, some of us are more shy, we’re not very good. We’re hesitate. But I always start with the Aristotle Ian model, which is goes back 3000 2000 years, which is understanding our ethos. What is the person who are we’ve trying to project because people, audiences wherever they hate frauds, and they’ll sniff one out immediately. So being comfortable with who you are, and you might be an introvert or an HSP? Or, I mean, I’m probably a hybrid, because I do like being on show. But then there are times when I think I just want to kind of get my book and write. But it’s that who really, are you? Because we will I want to see that person, not someone you’ve modeled yourself on by watching 9000 TED Talks. And you’ve acquired all these tricks and tips from politicians, because you think they work? So that authenticity, quote, conversation? And obviously, the understanding what is it? I’m trying to communicate? Because if you don’t understand what you’re trying to say, no one else will. And often it comes back to that authenticity model. What do I really need to share here? And this is why talk about ethics based or values based communication, what is it that I’m trying to share? That is going to be of value and use in whatever context? And then coming back to your emphasis on storytelling? It’s, if we can engage with our authenticity, ethos out logo sound, what is it that what is it, we’re really trying to share, then the classic notion of pathos, which is where your storytelling comes in so beautifully, it’s and if we can accomplish all of those things, then a communication piece, and I’m talking generally, not just an ordinary conversation, obviously, but if it’s a professional piece, it will work with training, but it is the foundation and the first one is that ethos, that authenticity piece. And sometimes people struggle with that. And from a psychological and philosophical point of view, I’m, as you can imagine, with sometimes 25 people in a room, but I’m, I’ve become quite adept, and I would never have called myself an empath. And I was very flattered that you use that word, because I think I’m just a very good listener. I wouldn’t put myself in that category. But I have learned to be able to pick up when people are holding back. And this is something I’ve only realized I’ve come into this. I’m not gonna say power because it isn’t. It’s just an awareness of others. And every time I run a program, I have a queue of people afterwards saying, this was the best course and it wasn’t because I’m the best presenter or trainer because there are brilliant presenters and trainers like me where there are I’m in a profession of peers who are brilliant, but I know it’s because I spend that extra time looking not into their souls, not windows into people’s souls, but just taking that time to meet them think about it, rather than taking it for granted all communication. Okay, let’s write the speech. Let’s all let’s look at the angle and it’s to me It can make the difference between capturing an audience’s attention. And then an audience wanting to hunt you down afterwards. Because I know that some, I’m a keynote speaker, I, again, I’m being honest, I’m earning my achievement, I always have people afterwards coming up to me and saying, Oh, I love that speech. It was great. And I think Well, that’s because you’ve got me, not someone that’s been modified, or, or I’ve got to be a bit less, because sometimes, you know, and I’m very conscious not to be the diva, because that was the actress struggling to get out. But for me as well, but this, it’s really interesting in this, this thing you asked me and to me, and we’re not dissimilar in what we do. Because what we’re trying to accomplish, I think, is you’re helping people find self knowledge. And through that self knowledge, it’s unlocking Aladdin’s cave. And then they Oh my gosh, I had no idea this is this suits me, this is what I need to do. And for me, that self knowledge comes through understanding. Who am I? What kind of communicator am I? What do I struggle with, and sometimes I’m always so moved. When my the people who say I’m an introvert, I hate public speaking. And we know it’s introverts are very drained, people like me, so I have to tone it down. But they will make the best speeches. I had a young lady who gave a TEDx talk on train these people in Geneva, and hers was the best, because she went through everything, she did everything I told her she within the context of what she was trying to achieve. But that’s really just to say that by opening, it’s almost like releasing, put giving people glasses, but they can look in a mirror and think that is who I am. And I can be proud of that person. And I can use some training here, but self awareness, that’s what it is. I think that’s, that’s, for me. So powerful. And we know that self awareness is the foundation of modern leadership, successful leaders.

Catherine A. Wood 32:18
Mm hmm. I love so much of what you shared. Just a reflection. You know, I, as you speak, I noticed I’m feeling you and I imagine, one of the reasons your listeners come up to you after is because you let them feel you, which is a real trait of an empath.

Dr. Laverick 32:43
So I,

Catherine A. Wood 32:46
I want to go in this direction of authority, because you talk about you talk about this idea of helping your your students become more authoritative. And I think that there are many different forms of being authoritative. And I’m imagining it various for the different types of students you have and leaders and entrepreneurs. You, you train. And I think that for Empath printers, and for those of us who are art based it that’s it that can also be a challenge, how do we become more authoritative, more, hold more conviction in what we have to say? And, and I’m also just appreciating that, in your work with peacebuilders. Becoming authoritative is a necessity is a must. And you’ve you’ve already shared that. There are many less female peacemakers in the field than male. And so how does your work? How does how does your work differ? Helping different types of clients become authoritative in their message and with the conviction of their their message? Does it vary by gender values? Types of students you teach, know what really what does that journey like? How can we become more authoritative, based on who we are?

It’s a foundational question for communicating with authority. And not so long ago, I was teaching a session, John love. I have two university guests lectureships and I just love them because I have these students who are calling students, they’re in their early 30s. So their early career, and this notion of authority always comes that, and it comes up across the ages, across the mid year, the professions. Some people, I think, misunderstand, it’s, it’s a little bit like when we talk about the difference between assertive and aggressive responses. And, and I’m always encouraging people to be more assertive because if we hold back, then people won’t hear our voice. And I think that was something I wrote down when you were really talking through that interesting layers of onions, you know, the onion layers that were coming out of that conversation, I have to write a paper here, there’s so much of interest. The, for me, it’s important that people know, wherever they are, how to speak truth to power. And I suppose that’s a foundational, ethical value that I have, because I was brought up in that way. And I think increasingly in our world, organizations, wherever whatever sector they might be, it is imperative that people know how to do this, then they’re not frightened by leadership, or they know that they can go and speak to someone and say, Actually, I have very valid reasons for disagreeing with how this process was introduced, or whatever. And so for me, I think it’s authority is something we grow into. But some of the tools will help us. And I think the authority is also linked to that authenticity piece. And often, the highly sensitive people say to me, I have no authority. And yet they do. They do, they just need a little bit of a boost and to believe in it. And it’s believing what we have to say is worth saying, but knowing how to say it is another thing, and then daring to say it. And I’m always talking about the importance of using a mixture of communal and agentic language. And it was really interesting, I was in Paris last week during a session, which was amazing. And the way some of these gentleman was speaking, and it was a mix of it wasn’t board level, but it was wondering, they were fairly senior, the men were using communal language as well. And they were talking about how they were dealing with interruptions during pitches to stakeholders. And, and I thought this was really interesting. And they were the language they were giving me and I listened. And I wrote some of them down. And I said that you are undermining your authority. And the organization’s by saying, if I might just be so bold as to May I possibly suggest and normally, talking about gender stereotypes, we would have thought, well, that would have been the three ladies but they were just looking and nodding. And these were gentlemen. And I think it’s knowing our weak points. And understanding that we have a choice of language, there’s so many phrases we can practice using. So that’s one of the tips I give, I get, I have a list of them. And I say you got to start using some of these, the moment you start seeing, Oh, we all helped each other it was a collaborative effort. And no one no one person was the best. That is something nice to think. But at some point, we have to not say I did all the work. So I get all the attention. But it’s it’s I believe every pitch every work endeavor is an ensemble production. And each person has their part to play. So I’m sorry, I’m probably getting sidetracked by my just thinking about all this agentic language and the way people need to, to mix it and not overuse it or under use the agentic. But above all, it’s it’s how we frame a message. And I think that’s really what I spend a lot of my time doing. I mean, honestly, I feel like a counselor, a language specialist, a psychological helper, you know, all these things, because people would think they come into a session. Oh, well, we’re just gonna learn about pitching or we’re just going to learn how to communicate with gravitas. And that is not the case. It’s like your coaching, the work you’re doing. It’s it’s transfer, it’s well, it is transformation, transformational, transformative, but what you do in that session will change over a series of sessions, how this person regards to themselves, how they interact with their, their workplace or their their colleagues. And and I think, for me, it’s, it’s such an important thing for people to understand. How am I going to frame this message so that it will be understood People will value it. And they will respect me and the organization. And that’s very important, obviously in the peacebuilding sector. Where I have been sorry, I’m jumping all over the spot. But I’m just thinking of an organization I support in Bosnia, which is you would know, as in isn’t in the Balkans and beautiful country with a history of civil war. And it’s that notion of giving these ground. They’re not we don’t use the word peace, we use harmony, because war and peace have very polarizing impacts. But what can I give these volunteers that will make them more powerful ambassadors for a particular program, which is building harmony between different ethnic religious factions that have always been trying to? They have not been happy for centuries? And I think I’ve just gone completely off the topic, but it’s how we frame language how we help, how do we use certain phrases? And if we know that we’re not very good at being authoritative, then we have to go back. And that’s often when I think, okay, we’re going to stop doing this. Going right back to what is authority? What does it look like for you? And for some people they have, and I’m sure you would agree with this, a fairly distorted view of authority, because my father was an Army officer, and I always had to sit up straight on shoulder back head high, and authority, authority is really not a negative visit. But what is the authority that works for you, and will make a program or something, take off and make a situation safer, better? Whether it’s in a corporation, they want profits, but in the humanitarian sector, they failed to save lives? They don’t want more wars? I don’t know if I’ve answered your question.

Catherine A. Wood 42:12
I think no, I think that it’s a beautiful response, I hear the importance of finding your own authentic, authoritative presence, that is representative of your values and your models of authoritative leadership. And that doesn’t have to be the stereotypical definition it can be completely redefined.

And one word I dislike hugely, and it’s one I throw out at people, and I’ll model it. I always say I don’t want passive, because passive segues into laziness in terms of making an effort. And it’s you really have to get people as you know, inspired to think about a concept, and how they can apply it to what they’re doing. And then we can do the hard work. Yes.

Catherine A. Wood 43:15
So you talk about you’ve, you’ve talked on the episode a lot about this idea of knowing what you want to say. And I think that that is, for some of us, much easier said than done. Certainly for me. I’ve noticed over the years that sometimes when I start with why I want to say it, or why it’s important for me to say then the what flows more naturally. So even with even with my podcasting journey, because in the beginning, I really struggled Susan, particularly with the solo episodes, conversation has always come naturally. Or this is a this is a interview. So this is

BBC think I’d know that, yes. This this,

Catherine A. Wood 44:06
these have always been easy. But solo episodes where I’m just recording into a mic has been so challenging for me. For many, many reasons, you know, it brings up a lot of perfectionistic tendencies, and the analysis of you know, what, how am I saying and what am I saying and how is it being perceived and how is it landing? And I also pause a lot when I’m thinking and speaking out loud because I am a slow oral processor. And, and what I’ve noticed has made this easier, a couple of things. And I’m so curious to hear your thoughts. First of all, it’s gotten easier with practice. Absolutely. Some of my first solo episodes I maybe recorded we recorded a couple dozen times. Now you know If I can do a taken one, one or two takes, and I just write my talking points ahead of time, that’s beautiful. Another difference is environmental. So noticing, when am I most sourced internally to show up and speak freely and authentically, that’s oftentimes after taking a cold plunge in the ocean. Or after doing my morning meditation, or my morning, walk with the dogs, when I’m really internally resourced and grounded, or even connected with that internal sense of play, I’m very playful by nature, oftentimes, that that really allows me to be more free flowing with my voice, which is really cool. And then the third thing, which is where I started this year, is knowing, knowing what’s important about what what I want to say, like, what’s the takeaway from this message? What do I want people to feel from this episode? Like, why do I give a damn about this conversation and this topic, and when I can make that heart connection with my message, it allows the what to flow off, oftentimes, effortlessly. And those are all lessons that I had to learn through a whole lot of trial. A whole lot of start and stop. And that’s just my journey. And I’d love to hear from your vantage point.

I just adored listening to that. And I wrote some notes because it there was a lot in there. I first would like to say I think you convey a beautiful serenity, which it’s very restful talking to you. And I think because I am I am high energy. I need I do if they were too high energy. I mean, I’m muted. I mean, I’m, I’m the real meat, don’t worry. But that if they were to if I was interviewing me, it would just be oh my gosh, just tell her to go away, Susan to go home. I

Catherine A. Wood 47:02
really feel the need just to put in for our audiences visual presence here that Susan is dressed in this bright pink floral dress. She has pink floral peony, pillows behind her and a basket of peonies, I think peonies behind the couch, and it’s just vibrant colors and hues of pinks and whites. And so yes, you definitely come alive.

Yes. And I’m but I think it’s anyway you are i the serenity is lovely. And you mentioned you pause a lot. Well, pausing is good. Pausing is great. And you do it very effectively. Someone who says I’m giving you feedback. These are just things that I’m picking up. And two things that I really loved that you just said then think about rehearsal. Look, when I started out doing this job, I was a basket case. I was I’m a perfectionist, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t inhibit me, because I think I know I can master it. And I know that I have. So this was like 15 years ago. But what you said, the rehearsal aspect, because you said you know when you first started doing this, the podcasts and the interviews are fine, but the Solo is more challenging. And you’ve rehearsed and you’ve got it right. So you’re now on your flow. And I’m sure you’re just amazingly serene and stimulating and very, incredibly impactful for the listeners. I say to people all the time. That if you don’t have time to rehearse, and this is for a speech or a pitch or anything, then you don’t have time to succeed. Simple as that. And look at the results for both of us professionally. And just coming back to this notion of how the Watts wise and House of what we say, I have learned and I suppose it’s because a lot of my work is focused on pitching people have to pitch that the key message is the thing that will make all the difference if you know what your key message is. And it is the one thing you want people to remember it is the backbone of that conversation, that presentation. And then you said that you got very animated when you said and you want people to do something, you don’t want them just to take it away. What are they going to do with it? And that’s where that implicit call to action I think is so powerful. If our path if our key message, whatever that might be, has been developed, and it has become animated. It isn’t passive on my hands. I told you I didn’t like the word passive is animated enough to inspire the listener to make them think there was something in that because as we know, people only remember three things. The first thing was that may be something interesting. And if we’re lucky, they’ll remember the last thing, which is why that, bringing it back to, you know, this is what my message was whatever, and pushing it over to people because we can only give so much. That’s what I say to my, my various people I can give you. I can’t be the audience for you, I know what I would do. But you’ve got to do this. What do you want the audience to do with this. And when I’m training these piece are humanitarians who are pitching to organizations to philanthropists for money, much needed money. I say to them, you have one job, it is to make them hunt you down during the coffee break, to say, I love that the collaborative opportunities, research opportunities, could we do something together, if I’ve got 50 million we can invest in that. This is why I always say, if you don’t have time to rehearse, you don’t have time to succeed. So yeah, we’re very much on the same page.

Catherine A. Wood 51:06
Okay, I love all this, there’s two more things I want to talk about before we wrap up the episode. So I want to talk more about pitching. And before we go there, I want to talk about embodiment, because something I’ve been appreciating through the recording of our whole conversation is really the dynamism with which you talk with your hands. And I don’t, and I notice, you know, as a coach, I often notice changes in body positions and energy and energy. And really, you know, our body says so much about what we’re trying to communicate. And and I know that it’s a learned skill. But I’m, I’m wondering, you know, what is your journey, then in becoming so free flowing movement wise? And how do you train others to really embody their message more?

Again, beautiful question, because I was discussing this last week in Paris. content, and delivery, body language, they’re the same side. They’re the Hang on, I was gonna say that in French, they are different sides of the same coin, aren’t they? And I’ll make you laugh with a story. When I first started speaking, and the first speaker I get speech I gave was for my doctorate, and I was traveling, I think I was I can’t remember I was in Melbourne, in Australia. And it was literally, I was so lucky. I was the junior researcher, but I no doctoral research, I was allowed to, I was volunteered by my university. And I said, Yes, I’ll go. And the content was brilliant. And the passion was there. And I had rehearsed. And I didn’t have one, I had notes, but I didn’t really need them. But when I saw the film, because they sent clips back, I was mortified, because I saw this maniac of a woman who is going like this man. And I looked like either windmill, or actually, it was more like a cabin, Steward director exits to the left doors to the right, and here we go everyone out of the plane now. And it made me realize how important body language is. Body language can be taught. And I spent half my life real rearranging people’s bodies. And but it’s, it’s that notion of it has to work for you. And you’re a very still and serene person. And I think that serenity is your body language. But I have learned to control mine, because otherwise, I would be what I’ve done, nope, your view isn’t going to see me anyway. So that doesn’t matter. But I always use a default position for my hands, especially when I’m speaking. It’s a little bit like that. And then it’s, and I love body language. And I keep on saying to people, a speech without body language is a robot. It’s a wooden automate. And because people connect with people, we’re not all here to see, oh, my gosh, this pitch, it was so good. But the delivery was, if you can have the best delivery, and the worst content, and vice versa. So that is something I spend a lot of time helping people develop what is working for them. And of course, posture and eye contact all of these things, which people say, Oh, look, I don’t need any but they just want to hear about the speech. And I did have I won’t go into it now because I know we’re nearly at the end. But I did have a former ambassador who was on a program to this humanitarian and I must be very discreet but terrible body language and I kept on saying to him look wouldn’t To be better, you see being very diplomatic. And he did it his way he was real, a real Frank Frank Sinatra. And there was nothing I could do that would change the way he was. And it was wooden, it was just very sad. Because make me look bad as a train. No, I’m being mischievous there. But for me, it is so important that people connect with the audience. Because the audience have a very short attention span, within 10 seconds, as you know, they will switch off, or they will think this is worth listening to, I want to know where this goes. And we have to capture that interest within that first 10 seconds. And I call that the I can’t remember what I call it, I call it something. But it is critical that we do that. No,

Catherine A. Wood 55:57
I think there’s a lot of potency in what you just said. And a couple things I’m taking away is number one, there has to be resonance between your message and the delivery, there has to be it has to fit it has to match. The second is you have to be able to connect with your audience, not just be rigid in your own world, in your own mind, in your own analysis, paralysis of how you’re being perceived. And then the third one, which is something I’m I’m appreciating for me personally, is you also just have to be willing to embrace your own authentic posture and your own authentic movement and delivery. And, you know, maybe my style is more serene, and I get to explore a little bit more what that looks like. I

love it. And I will just say, as you mentioned it the moment people keep worrying about what the audience is thinking, are they going to like me? Oh, my gosh, is this going? Well, they weren’t connect with the audience, because they’re so focused on their speaker centric. And so I always, because I’ve learned that you can’t be Speaker centric, it’s audience centric. The audience is the most important person. And as I say, even in a podcast, where we’re not seeing people, do you know what I’m trying to say? It is so important that whatever you’re giving, and I’m giving to whoever’s listening to this is something that they feel there’s a connection between the two speakers, and they actually care about what is going out there. And and I’m sure that’s why you have your podcasts is so popular, and you have so many wonderful people coming on to them. It’s the moment you’re speaking to people, you have one job serving them in terms of the information which justifies their time for tuning in, or turning up. And if if you don’t, if you don’t fulfill that contract, then it’s not worth it, you may as well walk off the stage.

Catherine A. Wood 58:00
Yeah, beautiful. Okay, the last topic I want to end on for today is this topic of pitching, which we’ve mentioned a couple times throughout the episode. And I think this is something that you and I really connected on in our very first chat, because I was sharing a distinction that I use in coaching a lot, which is the distinction of enrollment. And this idea that we are constantly enrolling people in something about us. And as a coach, I’m constantly enrolling my clients in themselves in who they are and what they stand for, and what they believe in the impact they want to have the difference they want to make, and why they’re deserving and worthy of it. And once we do that internal work, we need to be able to touch other people in those conversations and pitch those conversations to other people in order to spread and grow like wildfire. The the difference we want to have and so I’m curious Yeah, I’m just curious from the speaker, perspective. How do we how do we grow beyond believing in our own message to bring other people along the journey with us to to find investors and partners and CO conspirators and collaborators to make our messages grow?

Again, we could be discussing for the next few days, this is just so stimulating. I love it. To answer it very briefly. Yes, investing in ourselves or as you call it, so elegantly enrolling in ourselves, but we will only make that transition of growing beyond believing. Look, I think I’m good, I can do it. But I need other people to believe that you really have to believe you are good. That’s it, there has to be a passionate conviction. Because there isn’t a lot of time to give up, convince people if if we are hesitating, so if we come on feeling I know I’m, I’ve come on, I know I’ve achieved some confidence. But am I good enough? And are they going to believe it, and it comes back to that whole speaker confidence piece, which is the clarity of we have the authenticity, we know who we are, the clarity of the message, which we believe in, and we believe is important enough to share, then I think if all of those things are working, then businesses will grow. Peace foundations will prosper. Dare I said, if it happened in governments, geopolitical contexts, things would probably be a lot less tragic. But it’s believing, not just believing but showing we believe it’s a I think it comes down, in essence to conviction, and to persuade you that I’m absolutely 3,000% invested in this idea, I can back it up. And I’m going to share it and you might not agree, but I can do it persuasively eloquently, body language. But it that is to me, and it all comes back to how you started this conversation. Authenticity. I think that’s how we started. Yeah, that notion of acknowledging what we are, who we are, how we can become who we wish to be, but it’s that authenticity piece, and if it is missing, then all those other pieces aren’t going to work and a pitch or presentation, or speech or business will just it won’t take off on it.

Catherine A. Wood 1:02:08
Yeah, I really hear that I hear authenticity. And another word you used that really speaks to me is conviction. Yeah. And I think that conviction and authenticity, they go hand in hand, because when we have conviction, it’s so much easier to be authentic. And

look at the way you said it, you see conviction. And you see you’re passionate about it, too. It’s not something that it’s not a word. I’ve got to be loud. It’s conviction. And yeah, I would say that’s one of my most important words. Thank you for reminding me that.

Catherine A. Wood 1:02:44
Absolutely. Oh, Susan, this has been so delightful. I truly am looking forward to recording our episode for months. And I’m glad we delayed it. As we wrap for today, I’d love to invite you to share something that I asked all my guests, which is what is supported you and becoming the prosperous Empath you are.

Oh, thank you game, calling me an empath. I think it’s something I learned what well, my father used to say to us when we were young children and all girls and my family used to say, and I wrote it down because I remembered it. If you’re and I obviously remember it, but I wrote it down just to focus on if you’re going somewhere, be there. And I never understood what he meant. And we always used to What does daddy mean? What’s this about? And he said, You’re going somewhere be that. And unfortunately, he passed away 10 years ago, but I increasingly realized as I came into my own, I don’t like to use the word power, but my own convictions and my peaceful pet space of knowing I can help people, which is what he actually meant. And it guides me is that if you’re going to give a speech, if you’re going to teach, if you’re going to have a podcast interview, be there be present, be real, be authentic, because if you’re not, people aren’t going to engage. So that’s, I think, become very much my sorry, I feel a bit emotional because he was a wonderful man. If you’re if you’re going somewhere be there.

Thank you for being here with me today. Truly delight and honor

Oh, absolutely loved it. And thank you for your sensitive, perceptive and serene questions, which was such a delight to answer and the conversation we shared, which was a real pleasure.

Catherine A. Wood 1:04:49
And you know, I just want to end on this note. A decade ago, I did a an exercise in the coach training program where we had our life purpose distinguished and the depth the distinction of purpose through that training was this idea of how your essence is expressed in the world. And my purpose is serenity and well since named it a handful of times, so yeah, thank you for reminding me of that.

It’s been a delight and I wish you a lovely day and I hope we can keep in touch


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Navigating Neurodivergence: Energy Hacks for Empaths with Regina Carey

Regina Carey joins me on The Prosperous Empath® this week for a truly heart-centered conversation about neurodivergence and how it is often interconnected with being an empath and/or HSP. Regina is a special ed teacher turned Executive Coach who has spent the last three decades educating, empowering, and advocating for those who feel stuck, yet long to take that next great leap. Recently, she returned from an adventurous trip to Machu Picchu and shares her experience of how saying yes to physical challenges has helped her balance intense emotions as an empath. But something I deeply appreciate about this conversation are Regina’s insights on neurodivergence, especially ADHD, and the importance of managing energy and advocating for oneself. Regina reflects on her upbringing and the influence of the women in her life, emphasizing the need to break patterns of burnout and dis-ease to live authentically. This episode is for anyone who is neurodivergent (or loves someone who is) and is seeking energetic balance in their life. Tune in for actionable steps on thriving more as an ambitious empath.

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The Prosperous Empath® Podcast is produced by Heart Centered Podcasting.

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