Obstacles into Opportunities

I Just Can’t Quit You – why I’m opening up private coaching spots

DSC_0590“Lex, if you want to coach again, just coach again,” my friend—the incredibly talented designer and brand strategist, Suzi Istvan, said.

“But I made such a big deal about not working privately anymore. I don’t want to come across as disingenuous,” I said. (Okay, maybe I didn’t talk so much as whine.)

“A worse lie is preventing yourself from doing something you love—and are good at. Be honest. Your tribe knows your heart. Just tell them you couldn’t quit them.”

And so it is.

I just can’t quit you.

I friggin love supporting my community to step into their power as speakers and leaders.

I love the joy I feel when I see people find their big idea—and parlay it into an epic presentation, workshop, retreat or webinar.

Or how the hairs on my arms stand up when a client crosses a big conference or speakers bureau off of a speaking plan because the dream has been realized.

While sleep is one of the most precious things in my life (and I fought hard to carve out 9 hours for myself the night before writing this, amidst a week where 3 of my daughter’s molars have broken through), I equally love cuddling up in bed with my laptop to watch a client’s speech and prepare feedback and coaching exercises for our next session.

I wholeheartedly enjoy facilitating online learning, leading face-to-face intensives, and working from home with a 13-month old.

What I enjoy considerably less—overcommitting myself, following other people’s formulas, not earning my worth, and exhaustion. (Did I mention I really like to sleep?!)

With all of this in mind, and a summer 2015 digital launch on the horizon, I’ve created 3 ways a few of us can work together this spring beyond my DIY speaking program, Your Spotlight Talk. I want to get my hands on the talks and careers of action taking men and women who are ready to step 100 percent into their moxie and make speaking profitable and pleasurable.

Interested? Ready to co-create with me? Read on…

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Spring Private Speaking Coaching Opportunities

  1. Keynote Creation Jams

Keynote Creation Jams are designed for leaders across industries and sectors who are comfortable speaking but desire an experienced, skilled and creative speaking expert to generate material and rehearse with. They begin with a 1 ½ hour Skype coaching session with me to deep dive into your goals, develop content strategy and curate the right fusion of ideas, stories, experiences and research. Then, depending on the level of support needed, we reconvene virtually between 2-3 more times to refine material, incorporate interactive elements and dial-up your delivery. NYT and Amazon bestselling authors, executives and senior leaders, TED and TEDx speakers, entrepreneurs and business professionals have utilized my speaking coaching to birth epic, game-changing presentations. All Keynote Creation Jams include complimentary access to my digital training program, Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value).

I will be leading 2 Keynote Creation Jams March-April 2015. Apply now. 

Are you looking for more comprehensive and/or ongoing support in achieving your speaking goals?  

Maybe you have been speaking for years and are ready—once and for all—to unlock more high quality opportunities and generate more revenue for your business?

Or perhaps you are brand-spankin’ new to speaking (and maybe you’re own biz). Do you want to come out of the gate strong and avoid the mistakes that too many new speakers make?

It’s also possible that you are somewhere in between.

Have you recently booked some speaking gigs, want more and just know that my passionate, playful and practical speaking coaching is a match for your personality and goals?

If any of these descriptions sound like you, let’s explore spotlight speaking collaboration.

  1. Spotlight Speaking Mentorship

While some of my clients make multiple 5 figures when they deliver a keynote and others exclusively speak at industry events where they present classy offers from the stage, most are doing a combination of keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive workshops, speaking sponsorship, retreats, corporate trainings, webinars and tele-summits. My clients have built a robust network of fellow speakers who they share resources and opportunities with. They know their ‘secret sauce’—and from it they design and deliver epic presentations and opportunities that are shifting the paradigm of how thought leaders share their ideas and engage their audiences.

With Spotlight Speaking Mentorship you have a coach, cheerleader, champion, consultant (and strategist) by your side for an initial period of 6 months to support you in EVERY facet of developing your speaking career—and integrating speaking with your existing business/job and life. Based on your desired results, through my 100 percent customized spotlight speaking mentorship we can:

Co-create a speaking vision that empowers you to achieve and sustain the life and career you desire.

Generate authentic, epic, on-brand speaking content (i.e., keynotes, workshops, seminars and retreats) for live and virtual events. We select sticky titles, co-create jazzy descriptions, curate the right material and activities, finesse your delivery and facilitation, and ensure you get the results you seek.

Identify your target events and put together a submissions calendar.

Sculpt powerful and elegant stage offers that effortlessly convert audience members into clients and engaged community members.

Write the copy for your speaking materials (i.e., speaker one-sheet, speaking web page, and/or workshop and event copy) and identify the content for a speaking reel and/or press kit.

Develop your pitches to event organizers, conference planners and corporate gatekeepers.

Establish and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with fellow speakers and trainers, authors, event planners and HR leaders.

Compile strategies and techniques to play nicely with the sensation that comes up when you think about being seen by an audience and inviting them to take bold action.

Create products and programs that begin where your presentations, workshops and trainings leave off.

Spotlight Speaking Mentorship begins with a VIP Half-Day (virtual or face-to-face in Las Vegas), and then over 6 months we meet via Skype for 2 sessions per month for a total of 12 sessions. All Spotlight Speaking Mentees receive complimentary access to my digital training program Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value) and Your Spotlight Workshop (to be released July 2015). You have ongoing email access to me between sessions, and I shower you with special goodies designed to enhance your coaching experience and sweeten your path to achieving your dreams.

I will be accepting 5 speaking mentees to begin in March 2015 (1 spot has already been claimed.) Apply now.

  1. Spotlight Speaking VIP Day | 1-Day (and 2 nights) in Las Vegas

During our day together in one of the speaking capitals of the world, my home of sunny Las Vegas (where it has been 70 degrees+ most of February!), we can work intensively on creating your content and rehearsing your delivery/facilitation of a keynote, workshop, retreat or corporate training. We can dive deep into your speaking career strategy and create a funnel for speaking to feed your programs and products. Or we can design an actionable and achievable 6-month or 1-year speaking and leadership development career plan. VIP Days are best for those who have previously invested in a coach, possess a specific agenda, and are independent action takers.

VIP Days include 2 nights in a suite at one of Las Vegas’ finest resorts on the Strip, by the Red Rock Mountains or Downtown (you pick!), all meals during the VIP Day, and car service to and from the Las Vegas McCarran Airport. All Spotlight Speaking VIP participants receive complimentary access to my digital training program Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value) and Your Spotlight Workshop (to be released July 2015).

I am leading 2 VIP Days April-May 2015. Apply now.

 

I know with absolute certainty that there is no greater way to build a business—or share your ideas to make a big, positive impact and advance your thought leadership—than through public speaking. I also get that a lot of emotion, sensation and mental chatter may be coming up when you think about starting or scaling your speaking.

For years I was under valuing, and as a result under delivering, on my potential as a speaker and thought leader. Days and sometimes weeks before a speaking opportunity I’d be overcome with anxiety and insomnia. Then, when I would speak, my voice would quaver. I’d break out into sweats. I rarely if ever wowed an audience. I didn’t understand how to market myself to corporate audiences. And sometimes I actually paid more to get a speaking gig than I made from it. Many of my clients have been here too.

Check out just a few of the women (and yes, all of these opportunities are for men as well) I’ve supported from the self-doubt (and at times, self-sabotage!) through to big-time success.

 

Alexia is incredible as a coach – strategically, tactically and emotionally. Her presence and guidance are unmatched.

Amy Jo Martin, CEO & Founder Digital Royalty, NYT Bestselling Author and TEDx Speaker

 

I was on the verge of a really good idea that I knew could make a big impact. With Alexia as my guide, I was able to take a very large message with multiple stories and craft it into a masterful work that I’m proud to call my “talk.” Alexia is a beautiful guide, placed on this Earth with a true purpose that is clear–not to make clones of her own voice, but to develop each [person’s] individual voice. Her coaching will push you to your vocal edge gracefully and skillfully. I’m SO jazzed that I now have my story that will change hearts and minds. Thanks Alexia!

Jessica Tomlinson, Radiant Self-Care Coach

 

I’ve had the privilege of working with Alexia and the experience was delicious. I’ve always known that I am a speaker (in the closet!) and after working with Alexia, I can master sharing my story to inspire an audience. When I first came to Alexia I didn’t want to share any personal stories, but through our work I found that I had a chest full of stories that I can share to engage and inspire any audience. Alexia rocks at coaching speakers to reach their full potential. 

Thembi Buthelezi, Founder, Stock Market for Beginners School

 

I have been speaking to audiences for over a decade but had more to learn. Alexia is definitely in her “zone of genius.” She has a compassionate yet powerful, unforgettable way of delivering advice and wisdom. I am forever grateful to Alexia for allowing me the opportunity to learn, cry, share, grow, and expand as a speaker and a human being. I now believe, without a doubt, that my voice has the power to make a difference and help others feel good on this journey through life. 

Heather Criswell, Author, Speaker, Founder of WiseInside.com

 

With Alexia’s help, my speaking evolved into that of a woman who is vulnerable, yet articulate and inspirational. I use my Moxie skills to lead workshops with entire school communities, speak at national conferences, inspire others to articulate their individual core values, and make a difference. With continued guidance and support from Alexia I know that I am on the right path to changing the world one school at a time with the power of my voice!

Sandi Herrera, CEO, Got Core Values and TEDx Speaker

 

If you want to explore private coaching further, please fill out my private coaching interest form, and if we are a fit we’ll get on the phone for a brief Q+A call together.

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Now is your time to be seen

Alexia Vernon Nelson, NV Photo ShootJust remember that the walls you face are not for you.

They are for those who thought the path would be easy.

For those who don’t want it bad enough.

For those who feel their work isn’t important enough to help others step into their moxie.

My husband wrote these words to me this passed Christmas.

At the time I was suffering from a Your Spotlight Talk launch hangover, questioning whether this launch stuff was for me, whether I was making a big enough impact, and how best to steer my ship in the new year.

When we start to stretch out of our comfort zone and try new ways of being.

When we start facilitating “difficult” conversations rather than fearing them.

When we position ourselves for a promotion.

When we acknowledge we have an important message to share and start getting on stage to speak it…

We often feel our power, or our moxie, in these moments. And then, shortly after, our bodies don’t know what to do with all of the new sensation they are experiencing. We can revert back into old paradigms of thinking and behaving. It’s why too many entrepreneurs lose their wealth shortly after creating it. And why new leaders often are let go in just a few years after their promotions.

It’s typically not an under performance issue.

It’s a visibility one.

With a platform comes responsibility. We must get comfortable—mentally and physically—with being seen and not self-sabotage ourselves, and as a result, the people we are serving.

I am blessed to have a husband who truly sees me. My love language is words of affirmation, and my guy knows exactly what to say in those moments when I step back from my power rather than forward into the next layer of it.

And last Sunday, rather than watch the Super Bowl, my husband willingly drove an hour out of Las Vegas to an old ghost town, Nelson, to shoot hundreds of new photos for me. For my business. In order for me to be able to launch new programs and websites.

He sees my vision, and my capacity to deliver on it, even when I don’t.

I want you to know that I see yours.

When you know you are under earning, at your job or in your business, I’m there pushing you to ask for more.

When you have an idea for a project or a program that defies the mold of what has been done, I’m there whispering for you to be a renegade and try it.

And when you envision yourself stepping onto the stage, and just thinking about the eyes of your audience members makes you sweat, I am there too. I’m reminding you to breathe, make eye contact, and mentally say “thank you” for this opportunity to receive the attention of an audience—an audience who is hungry for you to satiate them with your wisdom. And wit.

This is your time.

To ask for more.

To try what hasn’t been done before.

To step into the spotlight.

To be seen.

4 Opportunities for Visibility

  1. I’m a little over 1 month away from my MasterTreat, a mastermind-meets-retreat for emerging and evolving transformational female speakers. Extraordinary women are coming to mastertreat. Crazy successful entrepreneurs. Authors. Professional speakers and trainers. Nonprofit leaders. Healers. Women, no matter where they are in their careers and businesses, who want my head, heart and soul supporting them to create and refine soul-stirring presentations and develop the strategy and materials to get booked to give them. I have just 2 spots left, and no intention of doing another mastermind on public speaking in 2015. In addition to shared accommodations in a 10,000+ square foot mansion, delicious plant-based food and numerous opportunities for authentic relationship building and self-care, MasterTreat participants receive my virtual TED-style talk development training program, Your Spotlight Talk ($497 value) and a one-on-one Skype coaching session with me (priceless as I do not offer single coaching sessions). Because I am planning this weekend around the specific needs of MasterTreaters, I am closing registration on Tuesday, February 10. If you want one of the remaining 2 seats, register for the MasterTreat ASAP.
  1. In my last post, I shared the speaker submission guidelines for the TEDxWomen event I host in Las Vegas. There are hundreds of TEDxWomen events happening around the world during TEDWomen 2015, May 28-29. Find an event near you and submit to speak. (Note: You can remove the TEDxWomen filter from this page, and search for traditional upcoming TEDx events as well.)
  1. My friend Selena Soo (a brilliant publicity + business strategist) has created a signature training video revealing the 3 secrets to elevating your brand, supercharging your earnings, and getting big opportunities to be seen and to serve. (Selena started her business with a bang, launching her website with endorsements from people like Marie Forleo, Danielle LaPorte and editors from places like Oprah Magazine. Selena is the real deal…and an introvert like me!) Access Selena’s FREE Video Training, “Get VIP Access to Media, Influencers + Online Stars” while it’s still available.
  1. For me, a big part of getting comfortable being seen has been working with coaches who see me too. Who see how I was put here to create in the world. And, who are clear on my blind spots and know how to help me troubleshoot them. For anyone wanting to scale his or her consulting success, particularly if s/he wants to do it through high quality media opportunities, there are few, if any, greater, more affordable opportunities to do so than with Peter Shankman. The founder of leading PR service, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), Peter is a wildly successful serial entrepreneur, angel investor, NYT bestselling author, and he runs a boutique social media, marketing and PR strategy firm with an unparalleled client list. Peter is coming to Las Vegas on February 10 to lead his one-day mastermind, Shankminds, to support up to 20 entrepreneurs and thought leaders in growing their businesses (quickly), increasing revenue (without taking on crazy new expenses), and harnessing the media for platform building. I’m not an affiliate. I’m paying my way like everyone else who has chosen to attend. I just know this day will help me move through some lingering visibility blocks, and I want everyone looking for an efficient, effective and affordable masterminding opportunity to be aware of it. Learn more and register for Shankminds Vegas.
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Don’t Choke When You Speak

jessie spano“I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I’m so….scared.”

I have always loved the Saved by the Bell episode when Elizabeth Berkley utters these words mid-meltdown. Fortunately, unlike Berkley’s character Jessie Spano, I’ve never had an addiction to caffeine pills; but I have unsuccessfully dated perfectionism most of my life. And there is nowhere a perfectionist’s anxiety surfaces more than in her public speaking.

It’s extraordinary, and I don’t mean in a good way, how when we are on the cusp of saying something big we often amp ourselves up with somewhat manic self-talk.

I’m terrified.

Nobody is going to like this (or me!).

Just try a little harder, Lex. You have to say this better.

Practice one more time. (And by one more, I usually mean 7 more!).

I espouse that the best speaking is extemporaneous—it’s planned, rehearsed, key points (especially engaging questions) are memorized, and then the rest is found in the moment while demonstrating real communion with an audience.

The words we are going to speak out loud are only one facet of our performance. Another, equally important component, are the words we are speaking to ourselves.

Whenever people tell me they are scared of public speaking, or that they choke when they speak (i.e., their voice quavers, they misuse words, or their delivery is stiff), I’m as curious about what they are saying to themselves prior to and while speaking as I am about their content or their speaking style.

The words we speak to ourselves determine the ease with which we deliver our words to an audience.

Nasty self-talk leads to wonky delivery.

To minimize choking when you speak—literally (i.e., too much or too little saliva or difficulty articulating letters and words) or metaphorically (i.e. physiologically going into a fight-or-flight response), every time you practice speaking, also practice the self-talk you want to be performing.

While you may have some positive affirmations such as, “I speak with confidence, clarity, and compassion” or “When I speak, people listen,” prioritize asking a few ‘how’ questions.

How can I make this a fun and worthwhile experience?

How can I trust that I know enough, that I am enough?

How can I choose grace for myself and for my audience?

When we address fear and self-doubt with a ‘how’ question, we remind ourselves that we are the creators of our own reality. We train our minds and our bodies to approach scary situations with calm rather than crazy. We set ourselves up to be focused on our audience, rather than on our ego, when we speak.

We overcome the fear of speaking each time we choose to create and sustain the habit of positive self-talk. And it takes effort, for even the most positive, opportunity-centered person. It actually also takes effort to question our competency and beat ourselves up in the process. We get to choose where we put in the work—to get in the way of our impact as speakers or to facilitate it.

**TEDxFremontEastWomen Auditions**

Las Vegas women, it’s time. On May 29, 2015 I will co-organize and co-host Las Vegas’ third sold-out TEDxWomen event. My partner Jess Tomlinson and I invite you to submit yourself to be considered for 1 of 9 spots to speak.

We are currently on the lookout for local Las Vegas women from across industries and sectors (think Downtown Las Vegas start-up founders to community changemakers to organizational leaders) who have an important “idea worth spreading” they would like to present this spring.

There are 2 ways to be considered for a speaking spot.

  1. Request a spot at our live speaker auditions on Saturday, February 7th from 1-3pm. (Audition spots are filled on a first come, first serve basis. To request one, please grab full details HERE and be on the lookout for an email from us confirming further audition details.)
  1. Submit a video excerpt of your proposed talk, not to exceed 3 minutes. (Note: If choosing this option, please do not submit a talk on another subject. We want to see your presentation delivery and style specific to your proposed “idea worth spreading.”) Details on how to submit HERE.

Good luck!

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New Year’s Resolutions are Crap, as is Some of my Communication

I didn’t create a New Year’s Resolution this year.

And, given that I was on bed rest and 2 days from giving birth to my daughter on January 1, 2014, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a resolution last year.

While having a child born at the start of the year has shaken up my start of the year energy a bit (and for the better), in general early-January is typically one of my least favorite times.

I’m typically sick.

I’ve typically had a little too much sugar.

I’m typically a little blue.

And the whole “this year is going to be better than last” talk often compounds my malaise.

I just want it to be another day. Another week. And the less high stakes I make the start of the year the more quickly I seem to recalibrate and come home to me.

So this year, I’ve focused my attention a little differently.

I got off of my computer for 2.5 days. (This is HUGE for me.)

I re-prioritized the feng shui of my house with my guru (who I’m lucky also to call my aunt and godmother), Elaine Giftos Wright.

And I’ve gone through some self-imposed audits—on finances, and most of all, in my communication.

How is my communication with my husband? Where are we strong—and where can we grow? 

How is my communication with my team? Where are we strong—and where can we grow?

And, I bet you can see where this is going…

How is my communication with MYSELF? Where am I strong—and where can I grow?

My communication audit has been illuminating. I’ve discovered, and in some cases rediscovered, the following.

  1. When I feel stuck I tend to make myself feel more stuck by forcing a solution, and then another solution, rather than giving myself some mental freedom so that an answer can emerge organically.
  1. When I choose fear over faith I become an over talker. And I force the people around me, irrespective of their communication preferences, to over talk with me.
  1. When I bring humor into my communication with myself, my honey, and my Alexia Vernon Empowerment wingwomen, my communication is actually clearer and more compassionate. My public speaking is more creative and my calls to action are more purposeful and passionate.

As you go into 2015, if you are someone who wants to be mindful without living in your head, and if you want to enhance your communication without feeling like you are committing to one more forced exercise or cliché new year ritual, I encourage you to answer the 3 questions I posed above.

Our communication is one of the greatest predictors of our achievements and are feelings about them.

And how we communicate in one sphere of our life often dictates how we speak to ourselves in others.

Identify your communication habits.

Do more of what works.

Less of what doesn’t.

And if you’re strapped for time and want to make this all even simpler, bring more laughter into your communication. Your self-talk, interpersonal communication, and public speaking will be better for it.

While I’m honest about where my communication can go a little wonky, fortunately I’ve also gotten very clear on my ‘secret sauce’ as a speaker. Want to discover yours?

Join me on Thursday, January 15th at 12pm pst for my first live virtual training of the year, How to Find Your ‘Secret Sauce’ as a Speaker.

For about an hour, I’ll share:

  • How to gussy up your genius so you’re not just the smartest guy or gal speaking in your space—but also the most memorable (and profitable!)
  • Actionable (and effective) tips to make speaking creative and fun (for you and your audiences!)
  • Why building relationships with speakers is one of the BEST ways to book yourself solid as a speaker

I’m also giving away a SUPER SPECIAL BONUS and you have to be on the live training to be in the running for it (BUT…there will be a replay for 48-hours afterwards in case you can’t make it live and still want to access the training).

Register for my free live public speaking training HERE.

I’m wishing you a conscious and creative start to 2015.

Remember, a new year is just that. A new year. What matters is how you show up to your life the 350+ days of the year when the hype has died down that really dictates your success and life satisfaction.

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Lessons in Living & Speaking from a Head-on Collision…That Wasn’t (plus a full tuition scholarship opportunity)

If we’re Facebook friends you might have read about my almost (and fortunately not quite!) head-on collision with a vehicle going the wrong way down a one-way street last week. While my car and my person may not have physically felt the impact, the latter has certainly experienced the impact personally, professionally, and spiritually.

I’m ready to slow down…and speak up.

About 15 seconds or so passed between realizing a vehicle was barreling towards me, honking with everything in me, and the other car quickly stopping so that I (and the other vehicles behind and next to me) could go around. During this time I did the cliché thinking and questioning we believe we are supposed to do in such a situation.

What am I grateful for? 

What do I want my legacy to be?

How will this impact my family—particularly my daughter?

What did I never have the chance to say?

Okay, most people may not ask that last question, but it’s been the one that has really dug deep into my psyche over the last few days.

Despite having a really unhealthy affair with busyness over the last few months, I consistently take stock of what I’m grateful for, I’m clear on my work in the world, and I know that it would be devastating for my family if my daughter was without her mother. I also know that most moments since my near collision I have experienced much more fully. As I said on Facebook, I’ve felt them in HD, 3D. I’ve felt every edge of them. I’ve committed to creating more days full of color, sensation, contribution, wonder, gratitude, and divinity.

Which brings me back to that fourth nagging questions about what I haven’t yet had a chance to say.

There’s been a lot of hateful discourse going on lately in the U.S. In our streets. In our living rooms. On our TV’s. In our government. And this nastiness is certainly spreading to our neighbors throughout the world.

This hateful rhetoric has not consumed my attention and energy as much as I’d like it to—and yet, nonetheless, I have had lots to say about it…. But haven’t spoken up as loudly as I want to be.

I once got an email from someone on my newsletter list telling me I was too political. Even though it was over 6 years ago, the comment embedded deep in my subconscious and my ego, and as a result I just haven’t gone “there.”

But here’s the thing I know—heck, I teach—that the stuff we were born to say is usually going to turn some people off. And…because it’s scary, necessary, and us being most in our zone of genius—it’s going to turn some people on. Wayyyyyyy on!

So while I promise I won’t tell you who to vote for in the next election or what I think of Congress’ newest budget, I will tell you what I think about how we’re treating each other—at work, at home, and in our communities.

As long as one person is racist, we all are a little racist.

As long as one person is sexist, we all are a little sexist.

As long as one person is homophobic, we all are a little homophobic.

It’s our collective consciousness that sows the seeds of oppression.

What we are thinking as individuals impacts what we see in the world.

What we say, or don’t say, matters.

When we see police brutality, rape, bullying, and other violence in our news it can be an invitation for apathy or a call to action.

We must think peace. Teach peace. Practice peace. Speak peace.

If we want a more conscious, creative, and compassionate world we will build it.

One word at a time.

I began my career in the social change sector, and I’m deeply committed to ensuring that those with a big message—who are building movements and engaged in important work that is creating positive and sustainable economic, social, and environmental results—are confident and competent with a mic in hand.

I want to play a role in more people integrating entrepreneurship with social impact.

I want to play a role in more young women like Malala Yousafzai demanding the right to a full education.

I want to play a role in more people relaxing into the fear that often comes up when they think about speaking to audiences—whether that’s a TEDx audience or an audience of funders or potential donors—so that they can leave the legacy they were put here to make.

And that’s why I’m sponsoring a full tuition scholarship for my March 13-15, 2015 MasterTreat in Las Vegas. A mastermind-meets-retreat for transformational speakers, the MasterTreat is a unique opportunity for women seeking to develop, practice, and refine their big talks, develop the strategy to get the right high quality bookings, and relax and restore in a community of other game-changing female business and thought leaders. You can get full details about the MasterTreat here.

Alexia Vernon's MasterTreat

Through December 23, 2015 at 5pm pst, I’m accepting nominations for a female changemaker who is using her voice, her work, her life to make the world a better place. One woman will be picked and receive the entire MasterTreat weekend for FREE so that she can start or scale her speaking and touch more lives.

To nominate yourself or another woman you know who could really benefit from this luxurious, intensive, and effective weekend with just up to 19 other trailblazers, submit your nomination here.

What I want for you as you close out this year —whether it was an epic one for you like it was for me, or perhaps one of those years you’re just glad is behind rather than in front of you—is to remember that whomever you are, wherever you are, you have a voice. You have a viewpoint—most likely lots of viewpoints—on everything from what belongs in a holiday meal (I’m personally a little miffed more restaurants don’t serve turkey on Christmas) to how to apply conscious capitalism within your business. (As for that latter one, I’m currently researching best practices for a possible new project, so if you’ve got some please do send them my way.)

Please, don’t wait to share what you know at the core of your being you were meant to say.

After all, each day aren’t we all possibly living on borrowed time?

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A simple strategy for increasing your influence as a speaker

A vaccination for Ebola. The eradication of poverty. No, I don’t have the fix for either, but I DO have a simple and effective solution for making more impact when you speak. Or seek to influence.

I’ve been enmeshed in launch mode for the better part of the last 6-weeks. I’ve sought to do a lot of influencing.

To watch my free video training.

To show up for a live virtual training.

To enroll in one of my programs.

And while I’ve had some stellar moments through these experiences with respect to my communication, I’ve also had some massive misfires.

“We want you in the program if…” I uttered during one Q+A call. Hmmm… I wondered seconds after I said that. I bet the participant I’m answering is wondering who ‘we’ is.

When answering another prospect’s email I wrote, “It will equip you with a 90-day plan to get speaking in front of your ideal audience.” In this instance I know she thought I meant Your Spotlight Talk when I was referencing my MasterTreat.

You may have encountered the idea that punctuation saves lives, demonstrated in the following cautionary tale.

 

Found on teacherspayteachers.com

Found on teacherspayteachers.com

Well, pronouns might not always save lives, but they certainly change them. As speakers and communicators, when we use pronouns effectively we invite people into deeper connection with us, clearly reference what we intend to reference, make clear how people can take action (and the payoff for doing so), and increase our credibility.

Here are 3 of my favorite ways to use pronouns to increase my influence as a speaker.

  1. While I try not to overuse ‘I,’ for it’s inferred that what I am saying is my opinion, I do make sure to use it when telling personal stories, admitting a mistake, or showing the person or people I am speaking with something I do that I know they do too. Appropriately using the pronoun ‘I’ can be an incredible act of intimacy when we use it in service of an audience—to be vulnerable rather than weak. It shows an audience that we are walking alongside of them rather than in front of them. It transfers us out of the role of expert and into the role of colleague or friend.
  1. I’m no longer a lone ranger in my business. Over the last 6 months I’ve made 5 hires, and while a part of that decision was to stop wearing hats that no longer serve me, the other key reason is because I want to provide exceptional customer service and support to my tribe. And I want people in my community to know that. So when I say, “we will take great care of you,” I’m letting it be known that you get more than just me when we work together. (I’ve also learned, though, that it’s vital I say “my team” before referring to them by a pronoun.) When a ‘we’ is justified, it communicates to the people we are speaking with that an idea or promise has more legs attached to it than just our own. This layers in additional credibility.
  1. Finally, another way to effectively use pronouns is…to not use them at all. Frequently, when I use the word ‘they’ or ‘it’, I’m being unclear. I’m assigning responsibility via ‘they’ to people I should name outright. Or, in striving to be succinct, by using ‘it’ I’m being vague rather than stating specific nouns.

Pronouns are to be used for an audience—not at an audience. Use them sparingly and intentionally to heighten your impact rather than to get in the way of your influence.

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I’m Finally Telling the Truth + Your Spotlight Talk has arrived!

Your Spotlight Talk LaunchHalf-truths. They feel benign enough until too many of them stack-up and then are served back to us at the most inopportune moment. “I will have that email to you within the hour.” It seems harmless, even when we know we really won’t fire it off until the next morning, until we get passed over for a promotion because of our poor time management. “I want to spend more time as a family.” We may believe that in our heads and even in our hearts, but our partners throw that half-truth we spoke in our faces when we cancel weekend plans in order to hole ourselves up at home and work.

In an article I wrote for Inc. last week, “Keep It Simple and Tell Your Truth,” I shared that “For years I spent too much time and bandwidth proving that, despite my age, I had the qualifications.” I overemphasized media hits, talked about fancy places where I’d spoken, but I never told the full truth – that for as long as I’d lived I’d had an on again, off again relationship to my voice. (You can read the full article, which includes my top 3 lessons for transparent and effective business communication here.)

One of the half-truths I have told for a long time is that I am going to take my business online. I believed what I was saying; I just didn’t act on it. It felt scary, necessitated a tremendous front-end investment of time and money, and required me to make a lot of business hires. I was comfortable being a lone ranger with a part-time assistant or two.

But I wasn’t so comfortable with this half-truth.

It was costing me a lot. Sleep. Revenue. My integrity.

What are your half-truths costing you?

On Tuesday, November 11th, I made good on this half-truth. I opened the shopping cart for my Your Spotlight Talk program. Designed for executives, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, and industry thought leaders, Your Spotlight Talk takes aspiring through seasoned speakers through the process I have honed through doggedly pursuing one-on-one speaking clients to create, book, and perform a TED-worthy talk.

It’s good. Great. Game-changing. I know that just a few days in from the comments people I adore and trust have made.

“Alexia is incredible – strategically, tactically and emotionally. Her presence and guidance are unmatched. You’re in the right place with what Alexia has built and launched! “

Amy Jo Martin, CEO & Founder Digital Royalty, NYT Bestselling Author and TEDx Speaker

“Wow! Alexia has really outdone herself with Your Spotlight Talk. This program is the real deal: it’s holistic and comprehensive. From really strategic ways for mining business and life experiences for speaking material to quick and effective tips for building relationships with speaking decision makers, Your Spotlight Talk has EVERYTHING, and then some, that an emerging thought leader needs to develop a winning talk – and get booked to deliver it. I wish I’d had Alexia’s program back when I was launching my speaking and training business. It will be a game-changer for sure!”

Halelly Azulay, Leadership and Communication Author, Speaker, Facilitator, and President of TalentGrow LLC

“It’s easy to look at charismatic speakers and think they have a gift, but in reality it’s a skill. The only thing that can’t be taught is passion but – as long as you bring that – I promise Lex will teach you the rest (and so much more!) in Your Spotlight Talk.”

Emily Bennington, Mindful Leadership Expert and Founder of AWAKE EXEC® Conscious Career Design

Here’s what no testimonial can tell you—this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. And yet doing it has been the greatest step I have ever made in aligning who I say I want to be with who I am.

For too many people, speaking (especially in the TED style) feels scarier than a Hitchcock film. And I know that fear. I just also know what lies on the other side of it—sheer bliss, colossal impact, and a feeling of leaving the legacy you were put on earth to make.

Whatever half-truths you may be telling others, and especially yourself, I want you to experience the utter joy that comes from being completely honest.

I’ll send that email tomorrow.

I’m going to put in a half-day on Saturday so that we can go out as a family, without cell phones, the rest of the day.

And if one of your half-truths is that you are going to speak up more at work, at industry conferences, or lead your own workshops or seminars—let me help you make good on your words.

Hop on over to Your Spotlight Talk.

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I Spoke This Dream Into Being

Monday, March 17, 2014. It was just two weeks after I had begun my healing journey back from postpartum depression. While going on hormone replacement therapy a week earlier had enabled me to feel like I was close to being 100 percent back to me, the horrors of what I had felt, thought, and projected into the future were still too close to concede everything that had transpired over the last two months since my daughter’s birth was over.

On the aforementioned Monday, my mom had begged me to watch the premier of our favorite show, Dancing with the Stars. And I did. After putting my little cherub to bed, I curled up on my couch, drank some chamomile tea, and watched “the stars” parade across my TV with their pro partners. Having been separated from my TV and commercials so far in 2014, I was surprised to see sports host Erin Andrews co-hosting the show instead of her predecessor, Brooke Burke-Charvet. As she spoke, regal, charismatic, and witty in a form-fitting red dress, I declared, “God, if you truly let me come back from this depression, I promise to make big impact in this world. I’ll get back on stages, share my story, and help other women and men build movements with their message. I’ll give my all to guiding my daughter and nurturing her possibility. Oh, and one day I’ll dance on the stage of Dancing with the Stars.” You know, one for me—the rest for God.

Fast forward to October 6, 2014. I’m less than a month out from the opening weekend of my second Influencer Academy. Less than a month out from the pre-launch of my Your Spotlight Talk program. My daughter is thriving. I’m sharing my time and resources with organizations empowering girls and women. And…I’m dancing on the stage of Dancing with the Stars.

My aunt, Elaine Giftos Wright, has a lot of celebrity feng shui clients including two of the cast members of Real Housewives of Orange County—which she appeared on this season. One of the producers of RHOC is also a producer on DWTS, and long story made a wee bit shorter, she was able to secure VIP tickets for my mom, herself, and me. And one of the perks of being an audience member is getting to dance on the stage with other audience members pre-show. While cell phones are banned from the audience, somebody sitting near us snuck theirs in and was generous enough to take a picture of my family.

 Alexia Vernon, Dancing with the Stars

When Erin Andrews made her opening remarks with co-host Tom Bergeron, it was one of the most climactic moments of my life. Approximately seven months after one of the most difficult, “come to Jesus” moments of my life, I had created a new story and was starring in it.

Whether I’ve been hanging out in your inbox for years or even for just a few weeks, you know I’m all about the story. The story you create moment to moment in your head. The stories you share on stage. And the stories you communicate in your business.

I’ve intentionally chosen to surround myself with masterful storytellers—as friends, colleagues, and mentors—because we all know that our inner circle has a profound influence on our identity and our work in the world. There’s no doubt that I’m able to narrate the stories I do because I live my life in community with women and men who consistently choose to see opportunities rather than obstacles.

I’m often asked who I recommend for a variety of business services, so I’m thrilled to introduce you to five women who use their gifts of story to serve in the world.

First, while I love putting fingers to a keyboard, even strong writers need writing wingwomen and wingmen. Mine is Stefanie Frank. I had the privilege of working with Stef both in my Influencer Academy and Step Into Your Moxie Mastery. And at the culmination of both programs, I realized how much she could help me scale my business by taking on so much of the writing and editing I was afraid to let go of. Plus, she knew my voice better than anyone after seeing it in action over a year—and sometimes, I think she even knows it more than me!

Whether you love writing like I do and just need to outsource, or you recognize writing is not one of your zones of genius and it’s time to delegate it to someone who’s masterful at it, the right copywriter can give your words the wow they need to drive the results you seek.

Another copywriting genius in my life is Nikki Groom. I’ve recently had the privilege of supporting Nikki to birth her spotlight talk. Through this process, I’ve been SO impressed by Nikki’s ability to ask stellar questions that unearth the raw material she needs to tell her clients’ stories. She also is unparalleled in her ability to create an About page or engaging professional bio.

Stories, of course, are not only told through our words. They are also told through our style. And in our digital world, that means our online presence—from our social media profiles to our websites to our blogs to the way we interact in chats—all of it communicates who we are and what we stand for.

I’ve been blessed to have a lot of web design geniuses in my life since hanging up my own shingle in 2007. Currently, I have someone permanently on my team overseeing all design, Marcie Braden. Working with Marcie I’ve learned how important it is to surround yourself with smart and talented people, (I can’t wait to share with you the gorgeous sites, membership areas, and forthcoming products Marcie has created), who also will tell you when you’re wrong. Marcie tells me this weekly, sometimes daily. And my business is so much stronger for it.

Another web designer who has always exceeded my expectations is Stephenie Zamora. While Steph stepped away from design for a spell to focus on developing her coaching business that enables people to unearth their passions and create thriving businesses around them, she has recently launched her Jumpstart Package which allows entrepreneurs, professionals, and visionaries to create a beautifully branded personal or professional online presence at a terrific price point. Check it out!

And finally, because I believe branding is just so important, I want to introduce you to Suzi Istvan. Suzi and I are both in a high-level mastermind program together, and Suzi is the bee’s knees when it comes not only to web design but also using design to launch programs and services. Suzi works with her clients in a variety of ways, but the one I’m most excited to share (as I’ll be doing it!) is her Marvelous Brand Mentorship. This November Suzi will convene an exclusive community of creative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs to support us in integrating strategy with authenticity as we create our next sell-out offer. You can get on Suzi’s priority list, here.

While it’s always a pleasure to share with you my experiences and recommendations, what matters most to me is that you are able to integrate my musings into your own life.

What are you able to glean from my story? Where are you strong—and what are you declaring you will narrate differently? Who will you invite into the process?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the blog comments.

And keep your eyes peeled for a BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG announcement when I’m back in your inbox on October 30. Truly, it’s going to be a game changer—for me and you.

Posted in Career Advice, Happiness, Women in Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Are You Guilty of This?

IMG_3538My friends and family notoriously make fun of me anytime someone is proposing a toast because when it comes time to clink glasses, they know I’m going to insist they look into my eyes. Yes, I’m superstitious and was told shortly after it was legal for me to drink that failing to make eye contact during a toast would subject me to years of bad luck—not to mention invalidate the toast.

But my need to make eye contact when toasting is symptomatic of my desire for more people to make eye contact with me on a daily basis.

In client meetings.

In sales and training videos.

And of course, on stage and in the spotlight.

Maybe it’s our overreliance on hand-held devices. Or our socialization (particularly for us women) that makes us think it’s more important to have cool, wispy bangs that block our eyes than to pull our hair back so we can see and be seen. Whichever is the case, too many of us are not looking into the eyes of the people we are communicating with.

As a result, when we fail to be present with people by avoiding genuine eye contact (live or virtually), we:

  • Suggest that we aren’t telling the truth.
  • Project insecurity.
  • Communicate that we don’t value others enough to see them.
  • Build lukewarm connections.
  • Bore people.
  • Give other people permission not to be seen.

My call to action for you has never been simpler. Make more toasts!

Okay, I’m kidding. Adult beverages are optional. Childlike curiosity, wonder, and connection aren’t.

It’s time to commit to more eye contact!

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Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Screen shot 2014-09-17 at 7.45.53 AMFor business leaders, no matter how well-intentioned we are, there is a never ending stream of problems that have the potential to sink us. Or at the very least make us feel like we are swimming backwards, or even just treading water, rather than swimming ahead.

I’ve, unfortunately, swum into a lot of them over the years.

When I launched my coaching and consulting business, initially called Catalyst for Action, I operated as a sole proprietor rather than as an LLC with S-Corp status. As a result, money that I earned that could have been reinvested in my business to scale it was being paid in taxes.

I also once received a cease and desist letter with a high three-figure fine for using an image in a blog post that, unbeknownst to me, belonged to a museum collection. I had thought linking to the source where I had obtained the image I was referencing was enough. But it wasn’t. An embarrassing, humbling, and costly mistake.

Then, there have been all of the times I’ve drafted agreements for my clients and independent contractors and secretly (well, not that secretly) wondered, “Is this actually protecting me?”

Fortunately, I’ve recently invested the time, money, and energy to get my business house in order to protect myself from naive and costly mistakes. I am so passionate about alerting those with a business or as my friend Jenny Blake says, “side hustle”, to the importance of protecting their work and their legacy that I’ve recently become an affiliate for a few programs that provide entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders with the knowledge, tools, and resources to protect themselves.

My friend, attorney Genavieve Shingle Jaffe (Damsel in Defense™) is hosting a FREE webinar on WednesdaySeptember 24 at 12pm EST (it will be recorded) where she will be sharing 5 strategies to protect your business and personal assets.

Genavieve is an expert on trademarks, copyright rules, entity formation, confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements…you know, all the super non-sexy, really important stuff most of us prefer not to think about…until we have to.

For more details and to register, click HERE. Trust me, this content is important. You want to make the time.

And speaking of making good use of time, have you taken a moment to grab a spot on the VIP List for Your Spotlight Talk? If not, hop on over. ASAP! My team and I have put together a super offer for less than the price of dinner that will only be available to people on that list. See you over in Your Spotlight Talk land.

 

Posted in Career Advice, Financial | Tagged , , , | Comments closed
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    Alexia Vernon

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  • Sample Praise for Alexia

    “Alexia is one strong woman helping women to achieve their goals.”
    Ronnie Cho | The White House Office of Public Engagement

    “I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for what you were able to do to help me with my public speaking abilities! You have my eternal gratitude for finally getting me over my near-paralyzing fear of speaking.”
    Tanya Murray | Realty Executives of Nevada

    "Alexia is unlike any other speaker or presenter I’ve ever seen. She embodies the very best of her generation and showed me a range of strategies I can use in preparing my students to be leaders in the workplace.”
    Dr. Joseph Bonnici | Central Connecticut University

    "Alexia is revolutionizing how we prepare nurses for the demands of the workplace in Nevada. She truly understands how to grow a new generation of ethical, high-impact communicators and leaders.”
    Doug Geinzer | Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition

    “Alexia is a tremendous coach and speaker. 100% of our group in post surveys commented that the workshop was valuable and uplifting.”
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    "What I love and appreciate about Alexia is her ability to pinpoint your style and strengths as a communicator as well as the little nuances that get you in the way of your power. She gives you very detailed ways to make new changes and enhance your natural communication style."
    Christina Ambubuyog | I Love Intuition