That’s When I Realized it Wasn’t a Good Idea

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Have you ever made a decision that seemed like a great idea at the time, but in retrospect realized that it wasn’t?


Or at least, maybe you realized that circumstances that made it a great idea made sense at the time, but times change, and now it’s time to go back to the drawing board?


At one point, I had the opportunity to do some contracting for Grace Killelea (a powerhouse in human resources and leadership development) and her then-new Half the Sky leadership program, where a big part of their focus was on developing executive presence. My training showed people – among other things – how the way we use our voices, literally and figuratively, has an impact on our image and effectiveness as leaders.


“There are a lot of people who talk about executive presence,” Grace said to me one day, “but your work around the impact of voice is a game changer.”


And with that moment of inspiration, Vocal Impact Productions was born.


That was in 2013.


Then something funny happened. One day, a colleague introduced me to someone at a networking event and said, “You have to meet Laura – she’s a voice coach!”


“Well,” I qualified, “I help people find their leadership voice, but I’m not a traditional vocal coach, per se…”


And then it happened again. And again…


I quickly came to realize that:

A. the name of the company inherently was leading people to make that assumption;

B. it’s easy for (well-meaning) people to say “voice/vocal coach”, without realizing that they might know what I do and imply that meaning when using that phrase, but the listener does not share that context; and

C. in some circles, the stereotype of being a “voice coach” had a negative connotation, especially as it relates to leadership. They thought I’d be telling people how to act, (e.g. “talk like a man,” “talk white,”) play a role, or otherwise “fake it” to get ahead, which is the exact opposite of what I’m trying to do in helping them find their authentic voice as a leader.


Even now, ten years later, it still happens all too frequently. That’s a big part of why we’re getting ready to rebrand Vocal Impact Productions (more on this in a few weeks) so we can shed what – for us – are limitations of being misrepresented as a “vocal coach”. (NB: Genuine voice/singing/acting coaches are amazing – that’s just not my field.)


But my field isn’t the only one that gets misconstrued.


There are a lot of coincidences between me and my guest this week on Speaking to Influence, Laura Liotta, President of Sam Brown Healthcare and Communications Agency, besides, of course, our names.


Laura shares how there are many misconceptions and stereotypes around what public relations (PR) actually is, and how those stereotypes challenge the integrity of the industry, especially when working within the pharmaceutical industry and with celebrities like Chloe Kardasian and Lady Gaga!



In our conversation, we also dug into:

  • How a client's expectations and attitude influence the tone of the relationship for the company
  • How to let go of toxic clients for the sake of the team's well-being and integrity when necessary
  • How her experiences working in the pharmaceutical industry during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 90s inspired her
  • Why and how to curate your social media feeds to intentionally train the algorithms to show you positive thought leaders (e.g. Mel Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, and Brené Brown).


Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here.


Last week, we also had another awesome Linkedin Live interview with Dr. Jennie Byrne, “Stick the Landing: Pitching with Confidence and Impact.”



Whether you’re an entrepreneur or sales rep pitching your products or services, a startup pitching investment capital, or about to pitch your boss for a promotion or raise, at some point we all have to deliver a pitch, and we want the answer to be YES.


We explore 5 pitching pitfalls – i.e. false choices we think we have to make, how to avoid the traps, and the neuroscience behind them, so you can present a compelling pitch and “stick the landing.”


If you missed it, you can still watch the replay. Connect with me on LinkedIn here to request the replay link.


One way or another, let’s make sure people hear what you say AND what you mean, so you stick the landing every time!

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