Felicia Slattery: ALL IN with Communicating Leadership

Alicia gets real with Felicia Slattery, talking about the power of connection in business. Learn more about the right way to be remembered at networking events and the personal power of thinking big in this fun and informative podcast.
Felicia Slattery is on a mission to help business owners and entrepreneurs create meaningful connections through effective communication. She’s a best-selling author, in-demand speaker and the creator of the Signature Speech System. She works with experts, entrepreneurs, CEOs and celebrities around the world to help them write and deliver speeches and content that communicates with people on a human level that gets results.

Felicia Slattery - podcast intro photo
In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why your elevator speech is useless
  • Why connection is the key to success
  • How personal service relates to business growth
  • Why self-care is so important
  • Why women need to think bigger

Keep Going ALL IN:


Felicia’s favorite leadership quotes:

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]”A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” – John Maxwell #ALLIN[/inlinetweet]
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]”Before you’re a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch #ALLIN[/inlinetweet]

Interview Transcript:

Interview with Felicia Slattery
Alicia Dunams: And welcome back to All In: Elevating Your Leadership Game. Super excited about our special guest today – Felicia Slattery. Wow Felicia, it’s wonderful to have you here! First thing I’d like to ask, are you ready to play All In?
Felicia Slattery: I am so ready to go All In!
A: Awesome, awesome. Good stuff! So, Felicia Slattery is on a mission to help business owners and entrepreneurs create meaningful connections through effective communication. She’s a best-selling author, in-demand speaker and the creator of the trademarked Signature Speech System. She works with experts, entrepreneurs, CEOs and celebrities around the world to help them write and deliver speeches and content that communicates with people on a human level that gets results. Thank you so much for being here, Felicia.
F: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to talking to you today.
A: Well, you are definitely…. I mean communication is important in terms of being a leader. So I’m really excited about what you have to bring to the table today. So, tell us a little bit about yourself; I introduced you but I’d love to know more.
F: Well I’ve been…. I’m a professional speaker, that’s how I kinda see myself more than anything, I think. I started speaking, literally when I was 7. I got to be in my church, in front of people and I got in to reading and I was like – pull out a little stool because I was too little to see over the edge and all these people were looking back at me and they listened. I said, “Mommy I have to do more of that!” Hahaha! And so, I’ve been literally in front of people ever since. I did drama and acting, I was on a speech team in college and got…. we were national champions actually. So I’m actually a national champion speaker, which is so cool to be part of that legacy and really, every job I’ve ever had involved standing in front of people in some shape or form; teaching or leading or speaking, and so that’s a little bit about who I am. You know I’ve written 3 books now; my first book is on the second edition of that so that’s not really available everywhere, but my second book was the one that went to number one on Amazon within 5 hours of being launched on launch day.
A: Oh wow, awesome!
F: I know… I know you people get excited about that; true to all authors. It’s called 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking and so it’s a little notching book, right? How could have a little niche book like that and I get to be you know number one in five categories but I love the Amazon ‘coz they allow you to niche down like that. So I was, actually I was screenshot of number one about Dean Carney. Woooh!
A: Hahaha!
F: Hahaha! And then my 3rd book is called Kill the Elevator Speech – Stop Selling, Start Connecting and will be published in November of 2014. So it’s at the publisher now they’re doing their magic, you know how traditional publishers take a little of your time. So they’re gonna do that, and I’m doing interviews on that, on TV. I was actually on ABC earlier this week, huge audience there, so really cool and exciting opportunities.
A: That sounds amazing; so definitely a leader in this space. I’m excited to delve in with you. So, I like to begin with your favorite leadership quote. I ask every guest on All In what their favorite leadership quote is so we can make it tweetable. So what is that for you?
F: Okay. Well it’s like saying to me, “What’s your favorite kid?” Haha! I have 2 kids so I’m gonna share to you my 2 favorite leadership quotes and I wrote them down so I would make sure I am right. So the first one comes from John Maxwell this is easily tweetable it’s, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” So that, and then Jack Welch said, “Before you’re a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” I love that, both about serving, showing by example, leading by example; so that’s kinda how I like to live my life.
A: Great! Share with us how are you leading by example.
F: Well you know there are a lot of people who train speakers like I do who aren’t even still speaking. Like really? How do you even know the stuff that you are teaching people still works and to get you in front of a live audience and then when you’re in front of the live audience, how do you even know? I know some of them haven’t spoken since 2001, like are you kidding? So that’s one of the ways I am still doing the things that I’m teaching because they work well for me. I’ve seen them work well with my clients and I know they work well for anybody who is willing to put it into trying qualities. Like you know, I’d like to do sign up for class to be this billionaire and I’m like – No, you gotta do some work. And you know I think that’s another way that I lead is that I’m willing to stand up and be a little bit different and say “Hey, guess what? You do have to do a little bit of work to succeed.” And I’m not afraid, I’m to be contrary, I’m in the next book to kill the elevator speech. There are tons of speaker trainers around the world saying “Here’s how you write an elevator speech.” And I just said, “Over my dead body, I’m not teaching that ‘coz it’s just the opposite of actual human connection.” It’s… I’m gonna write a speech regardless of whoever it is that ask me what I do and then I’m just gonna tell one other person to speech. That’s just an odd thing to me. So I said, I was never gonna teach that, then I saw… Do you know Michael Port?
A: Yes, yes.
F: Okay so Michael and I are speaking at an event and I saw… the first time I saw him speak he said, “We should just kill the elevator speech.” and I have that like “Aha!” moment. Michael is actually writing the foreword of the book, “Yay, super I look forward to that.” And that’s when I said, that’s the title of my book it’s – Kill the Elevator Speech. When I presented it to my publisher, as you know to get to a publisher usually there’s a long process and in just first phone call I pitched the idea and he said, “We love it, we’ll do it.” And because it’s so contrary to what the actual you know idea out there in the market place is you need 2 things if you’re gonna go to a networking event, right? You need a business card, you need an elevator speech; don’t bother going if you don’t have those things. That’s just so totally not the case to me, you just need to be able to know the 2 to 4 words that you want people to remember about and that is actually how all of us can be leaders in building our own brands, because that’s all people are capable of remembering anyway. That’s all they’re gonna remember, just 2-4 words. So you have a choice, right? You’re choice is… Do you write this whole long speech? and even if it’s 10 or 30 seconds, it’s certainly longer that 2-4 words and so you say all that stuff they’re gonna choose those 2-4 words that they’re gonna remember about you. Or do you wanna just tell them, “Here are the 2-4 words you should know about me. Now let’s connect, tell me your 2-4 words and let’s talk about how did you get started doing what you’re doing and what bought you here today and what are the things that excite you, what are you needing in your business maybe I can connect you with somebody or maybe I write a book that might be useful for you.” You’re just sharing your knowledge and your wisdom and your connections and your compassion with books. So anyway, that’s kinda how I like to put forward myself, I guess as a leader it’s just saying, “Hey, I’m here to serve you.” and to me leadership is all about service.
A: Absolutely, about service. And you talked about… when I was thinking with the card, your business card and elevator speech feels like going to a networking event like a BNI  or a LeTip and these types of events and it just feels like… ‘Coz I know you’re pretty… you’ve been using social media for quite a while and I have a big social media presents. It almost feels like when you have a big social media presents, there’s really… I don’t know… is there room, do you still do networking events?
F: I do, actually.
A: Okay.
F: Okay so this is an interesting question. I have a regular networking event that I go to every single Thursday of breakfast morning; I’ve been working since 2006 before twitter was even a thing, right? And so I started locally with that and I actually used that to test my messages and I tell folks in the book; if you’re looking for networking meetings, look for opportunities where you can go on a regular basis and really get to know the people who are there because once you get to know them, they get to know you, you can help each other mutually even if you never use their service or their product because it’s not a fit for you and even if they never use your service or product; that doesn’t mean you can’t help each other. You can’t refer each other, you can’t provide useful information for each other that kind of thing. So you know, it’s about building that relationships and I tell people – Don’t go to networking events to go to the event; actually be the speaker at the event. Like that, you know that’s the signature speech thing that I trademarked, so be the speaker and then go to all of the events because you will never to be able to get around and shake everybody’s individual hands one at a time. (Hello, Hello.) Right? But at the end of your 45 minutes on stage everybody in the room, no matter if it’s small as 20 people or it’s as big as a hundred people they are all gonna know you and what you do. So that’s how I like to tell folks to go and then I tell my live audiences – “Hey, connect with me on social media.” And when you’re connect with people on social media, whether you’re just going to an event as an attendee or you’re gonna be there as a speaker; connect with them on social media in advance and then you don’t have to introduce yourself because you’ve already met them online. So there’s no need for – “Hi, my name is this and this is what I do.” Because you’ve already been interacting with folks, so use twitter, use Facebook, use linked in, go to the groups; most of the time event planners these days they set-up a Facebook event. So network with people before you go so that you recognize them by face because they got their avatar, their picture on there, their profile pic so you know what they’re gonna look like; usually, we hope anyway. Hahaha and then you’re already off to the races; you are already going, knowing at least a few people who also are smart enough to network in advance. So that’s what I tell folks about going to networking meetings.
A: Yeah, what I like to do… I like to go to the conferences so to connect online and then once you’re there, there’s conference in there whether internet marketing, marketing or social media and then meet with people at the conference.
F: That’s where I’m at!
A: Yes, absolutely! You and I met…
F: After twitter.
A: Was that after twitter? Yah, that was after twitter.
F: You’re connected on twitter and then we went to an event… I think it was on Florida.
A: Yes!
F: and we’re like – “Hey, how are you good friend?”
A: Hahaha! I loved that! I love meeting in person. That’s kind of my word for 2014 as community and it’s just being in community and connecting with people and it’s funny how we… I know for me, I’m such a different person, in person versus online. I can become a little bit automatic, I mean I think we all… you know, we’re so busy and I just I love meeting with… coz people find out you’re so different in person sometimes. I’m more lovable and vulnerable maybe. Hahahaha! …in person but online I’m just… coz there’s so much to do. So what would you… I like talking about leadership and I love talking about obviously part of being a leader, having communication skills, being a speaker ‘coz you share your voice, you share your message, you’re launching movements, thought movements, etcetera. So what are some characteristics that you find that are key and that really define leadership for you?
F: That’s a great question. I would say passion is important but it’s not the only thing and umm I’m gonna laugh here because we’ve all seen speakers who are really passionate, who are really stinky Hahaha! Like – Oh my gosh. I’m thinking of onetime there was a political… it was a few years, a couple of years ago now and there was a guy running for office in Ohio, some small town thing and he’s YouTube video that somehow took of him when he was doing his announcement speech that I am gonna run for this little office… or something. It went off viral for being horrible. This guy is clearly passionate and he was like spitting and his clothes we’re falling off and he was like … and he was angry and he was just a mess. Poor guy, and I thought –“Oh, wow.” And people are like – “Felicia this guy needs your help.” And I thought he was probably beyond my help. Hahaha So passion is important, yet to be excited and when you’re gonna be a leader when you’re gonna be in front of people you have to have a little bit of style, a little bit of finesse, a little bit of know how because leadership is really an art as much as it is a science; and same is true with speaking, it’s an art as much as it is a science. So you want to be sure you study it, I mean, “Hooray! Thank you all for being here.” And studying leadership and paying attention to folks like Alicia; who’s fantastic at bringing leaders who can teach you on leadership because the more you learn about it right in the… that’s my Jack Welch quote, right? It’s making yourself better, the more you make yourself better the more you’re able to help others get better themselves. So that’s you know, that’s really… So passion, understanding the art and science of leadership and communication and speaking; and then third is being willing to serve and that’s huge. So many folks are out there, and they’re really in it for themselves only and they forget that the people who are following you are very often the people who are buying your books, who are coming to your events, who are buying your products and programs, who are paying you to be their coach or their consultant, or investing in your services; those are the people who are allowing you to be the success that you are and all along the way never ever forget that and make sure that you continue to serve those people because when you stop, they go away. And yet what happens with your success when the people go away? (Poof!) So be willing to serve and that I think is my… like the characteristic that I would say as important.
A: Before we went live, we we’re talking about playing All In and all areas of your life; relationships, business, being a leader and it feels like in the world there’s a detested in terms of leaders stepping up and you know I think ‘coz we’ve been online for a few years you know we met back in probably 2008?
F: 7, 8?
A: 8? Yeah 2008. It just… you know I was thinking when you stop being a leader you give permission to people to do the same thing.
F: Yup!
A: and playing big, playing big in life and for me like sometimes I find myself shrinking… like either in to comfort or like you know I’m confused or don’t know what my next step but it’s really important for us to play super big, so we give people permission to do that as well. And so for me part of leadership is values; the values that you’re going to live by and create from and then helping other people become leaders and so that’s for me like you know ‘coz my program is Best-seller In A Weekend and I’m just, I think for me when I started that business it was fully out of – “I need a business.” you know like it was fully… I was not thinking about service, I was thinking about full on… that’s the mind set I was…
F: …and pay your bills!
A: “I gotta pay my bills.” That’s totally what I was thinking but now because I’ve seen evolution of many of my clients and I’m like – “Oh, there’s a bigger reason I’m here.” I’m giving people a voice; people are standing on the international platforms. I’ve had a Bestseller in a Weekend client go on and speak for the United Nations, twice.
F: Cool!
A: Small time. So I think with that it’s also part of being a leader, being vulnerable and realizing – Okay, this was my story. This is my evolution. That’s alright ‘coz it made me who I am today.”  So with that… okay I love this because for any woman that I interview, I’d like to ask what advice would you give to women as being a source of leadership in their life?
F: Well I think part of being All In, and especially for women, is to make sure that you take care of yourself. I don’t know if you know, I went to a youth health challenge about a year and a half ago…
A: No…
F: I was… 2 years ago from right now, I was in the hospital diagnosed with pneumonia that was really a bad case and actually it was never fully resolved by September after numerous procedures and x-rays and surgeries to check and I was diagnosed with lung cancer.
A: Oh my goodness!
F: Right? By then I already been an international speaker, I was a best-seller by then I mean like I was already doing a ton of stuff with my business and I’m a mom of 2 little girls. I started when they are 1 and 3; they are now 9 and 11. Oh wow, where did that go and you know just busy you know life, busy wife, busy mom, busy business and I don’t know where lung cancer came from. We never… I never smoked, I never had any radon in my house or asbestos or the doctors were baffled and mystified. And here I was suddenly with this diagnosis and so I only had it for 2 weeks as far as I know because I was diagnosed, I had the surgery and I call it cut and paste because I didn’t have to go through any radiation or chemo or any of that. They just took out the bad stuff along with the big chunk of my lung and it took me 3 months to recover. And during that time I really started to reflect on – “Okay, how… first of all, is this a message should I not be speaking?” because I couldn’t actually speak during that time like every sentence required multiple breaths, in the middle of each sentence I could go 2 to 3 words of *inhales* I could say something *inhales* else and so my brain learned –“Oh wait, this is the new normal and obviously I’m fine now with that and totally cured. Actually, social media and speaking had a huge role in that I called a “miracle” that happened but you know I had this chance – “Where’s the light?” So I need to reflect and see “Am I doing the right thing?” and the message that I got was actually that “You’re not doing enough. You’re not all the way in. You need to do it bigger.” And I think that so one, women really need to take care of ourselves but two, I see this as a lie; I used to teach gender communication at collegiate level so this is something I’ve studied, I know a lot about. My first publication was actually a chapter a textbook called Ways and Gender in the Media, so this is something I know a lot about and as women; we tend to think a lot smaller than men and we tend too… like if you look for example the TED talks, there are a huge proportions of men way greater proportion of men than there are women speaker for TED talks and it’s true at the corporate CEO level, way more men than there are women and the reason for that is women, we tend to look at ourselves very critically, we tend to hear the voice in our heads that says “Who do you think you are?” and we’re not willing to let that step aside, we’re not willing to go – “I am me and I have something important to show with the world.” And step in to that. Guys are… they just are wired in  a way from a way they are culturalized, the way they grow, the way they socialize, the way they grow up into thinking –“Yeah get out there. Go do it. You know what’s the worst that can happen?” And women were taught in a different way and so a lot of us have to realize – “Listen, its okay. So be big; it’s okay. I have a big vision.” and not only have that vision but share that vision and again come back to what we tend to be very comfortable with; use that big vision to serve people. I keep coming back to that because it’s crucial and when you shift out of the mindset of – “I’m this gonna be this big deal person because I’m gonna be a big deal person.” And come back to, “I’m gonna get my message together, I’m gonna write that book, I’m gonna start this movement now; for me. But because it’s my calling, it’s my unique gift, it’s my unique genius that I’ve been given, I am the only person that can bring this to the world and if without me doing this the people will suffer; lifestyles will cannot be improve. So put it on you to say – “Listen, if you don’t bring this out to the world; there are people who are not going to be able to achieve their greatness, be able to do the things that you can uniquely help her do. And when you make that perspective shift, I think it makes a huge difference and I’ve seen a lot of women after having that conversation, after hearing that message coz I’m actually share this message a lot say –“You know, that made all the difference for me and now I’m able to write my book and now I’m not afraid to get on stage anymore and I’m not afraid to share with people who I am and what I know. So think of it from that perspective. So yes, definitely take care of yourself and don’t be afraid. So all those little things that you learn how to do that have kept you little, use those same skills by going bigger, bigger than your wildest dreams as  big as you can because the bigger you go the more big ideas the more big visions come to you and the more people you serve.
A: powerful. More impact. ‘Coz that’s based on… I’m interviewing… I’ve interviewed but I’m interviewing again Bob Burg…
F: Oh yay!
A: I know he’s a mutual friend and The Go-Giver… I love that book. So it talks a lot about that being of service and I almost think there’s a tipping point when you make that decision. Like you’re going, you’re pushing, you’re starting your business it feels hard and the something happens where there’s a moment in time, there’s something that happens, there’s a gift like what happened to you was a time, an opportunity to reflect and then when you decide to be of service, when you decide to that it’s much bigger than who you are, you’re just the messenger and really almost sourcing, spirit sourcing something bigger than you that you’re merely the messenger and it’s go big or go home, it’s go all in, it’s fearless, it’s completely leaning in and fully playing all in with this whole podcast is all about and for me I think that just happened for me recently and I quite don’t know the story around it yet, I’m still formulating that. I’ve been pretty transparent in some other things that have happened to my life recently and getting plastic surgery and all the stuff behind my book Goal Digger, I blogged about that recently and not feeling good enough. All of those different things and I know there is… but for me it’s like… you know it’s like  *whoosh* play all in because Oprah didn’t play all in and other significant women leaders didn’t play all in because they listen to the self talk and they listen to the stories then how would we have missed out, I mean majorly. And really at the end of the day when I look at female entrepreneurs, you know there’s a lot you know there’s a few that are kind of like just really playing all in and I think that it gives us the permission to do that as well.
F: Yeah.
A: So that’s good. So what is playing all in mean to you?
F: I think in a lot of thing that we’ve talked about, it means to me that I’m a steward for the gifts that I’ve been given and so that I really am… there’s… I feel a responsibility to be all in and to do everything that we’ve been talking about. I mean I continue to develop myself, I continue to take classes and you know read tons of books and learn and by the way Bob Burg’s the The Go-Giver is absolutely… put it on your must read list and read it.
A: Yes.
F: Must read, and I’ve read it I one sitting about 4 hours I was like – “I love this book!” So we’re like a Bob groupie now.
A: HAHAHA. You did love that.
F: I really… I think that you don’t necessarily have to have you don’t have to have been diagnosed with cancer and go through surgery and you have to take 3 months off of your whole life to focus on you know recovery. I mean it’s… It can be as simple as – “I’m just gonna go on a retreat on a weekends. And I’m gonna really think about this and I’m gonna like, you know… “Why am I really here and what has… I have all the thing of my life let up to today.” And being all in to me is being willing to look at your life… I mean it’s really about to me… personal development. Like I’m gonna develop myself to the best that I possibly can be and that means around everything, it means relationships, it means around my health which is you know – good food choices, good exercise choices that means you know not just the romantic relationships. Yes, I wanna be the best wife I can be for my husband, and I also wanna be the best mom I can be for my kids; and as my kids are getting older my  11 year old is going 27…
F: It’s like how I parent this kid who’s you know a tween who wants to be a teenager, she’s talking about driving your car or star going to college and I’m like – “Let’s get you out of grade school, okay?” You know asking me personal role questions like – “Mom, why is this happening to my body?” kind of things and you know how I’d be a mom to her in the best possible way and how do I be a friend to the people that I wanna be you know close friends with which is not all the people which I’m friends with on Facebook but the people who really are important to me in my life than you know who I know value me and vice versa. My word this year is collaboration, so similar in a way to yours I think. But that you know we’re here to interact with other people…
A: Absolutely.
F: I think being all in means being willing to say – “This is what I’m really good at. This is really what I’m not good at.’ And finding someone else to help you along that process and being willing to say – “I don’t know all the answers. I’m not great at everything and that’s okay because I’m good at what I know and I’m good at my thing and I’m gonna find people to work with, people to go all in with and be all in it together with folks and I think that’s what makes life a whole lot more fun, isn’t it? When you can go all in with somebody else and just kinda hold hands and have partners with folks. I was talking with somebody this morning who said, “Partners in crime but that’s not a crime. I don’t like that. How about partners in success?”
A: Yeah.
F: So like being a partner in success with people and in every area of your life. I mean hire a personal trainer; I’m being biased because I’m a personal trainer. So you can have that walk with the person in success in your health and exercise to work with. My husband and I, there was a period of time not long after when you and I met that I was pretty sure we were not gonna make it to you know 10 years married and now were on the 14th and it took hard work with both of us to say – “Alright, let’s figure this thing out.”
A: Uh-huh.
F: It’s not easy to do but we made a commitment that we’re gonna… we’re all in together. I think it takes that commitment on not just your part but the people you are with. Are they willing to go all in around you, if the people aren’t willing to go all in around you maybe it’s time not necessarily be around with those folks anymore and go find people who are willing to be all in. I think that’s what makes the difference.
A: Wow, very powerful. So share with everyone at home how they can find out more about you and information about your books and your website.
F: Okay. So in general, you’re gonna read my blog and all that can you go to feliciaslattery.com super simple, super easy, it’s my name and if… for those of you who are authors, and you wanna talk about your book, you wanna speak about your book, I’ve got a free gift  for you at SignatureSpeechforAuthors.com and it basically walks you through the process of what you need to know to get your speech ready and what you need to know about the book publishing industry, whether you are a traditionally published author or a self-published author or some other version of a collaborative author or something like that; I’ve done all of those within compilation books with multiple authors. I’ve self-published my own, that was the first book; I’ve been going down the path of traditional big publisher you know on the east coast. So I’ve run the game and one thing remains constant, you’re gonna market your own book.
F: That is pretty much it. And the easiest fastest way to do that, that I found and my clients have found through speaking and speaking on podcasts like this, networking in your community, that book signings on wall top radio shows, I’ve been on TV all of that in speaking and once you’ve got your message together it’s really easy to just speak about your book wherever you’re asked. So SignatureSpeechForAuthors.com, my gift to you.
A: Excellent! Well thank you so much Felicia and really adding to this conversation of leadership, women in leadership. I appreciate you so much, thankful that you are healthy and spreading your message, opening up your voice, playing all in and at definitely being a mother and an entrepreneur and a woman that we can all inspire to be like. Thank you so much, Felicia!
F: Thanks you so much for having me, Alicia.
A: Thank you for playing All In.
F: Whooo!

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