If you’ve ever found yourself afraid to speak up, or unsure how to use your voice and stand up for yourself, you’ll know how after today’s episode! My guest today is Karen Laos. Karen is a keynote speaker and communication coach who equips women to stand out with confidence. She helps women channel their fear and quiet their self-doubt. Karen champions female business leaders to own their value and find their voice to be seen and heard. Karen’s style is fun, encouraging, and results-oriented. She immediately moves past the “fluff” and gets straight to the issues at hand.
Karen’s advice in this episode about how to use your voice, be heard, and create better communication habits was like going to communication church! I loved every minute of it, and I know you will also.
Karen’s coaching and courses:
Well, hello there everyone. Thanks for joining me today on the podcast today, I'm introducing you to a woman who I was so pleased to get to know her name is Karen Laos. Karen is a keynote speaker, a leadership and communication coach who equips women to stand out with confidence. She champions female business leaders to own their value and find their voice so they can be seen and heard. She also works with teams to create cultures of trust so they can function at their very best. Karen has coached leaders at places like Facebook, Google, Netflix, Yahoo, Microsoft, Charles swab, Levi, and many, many more. And today she's here with us on the show. I'm so pleased that she came today because, oh man, are you going to love what she's got to say? I felt like I was on top of the world. After speaking to Karen and getting advice from her, it was amazing. Karen's style is fun, encouraging, and results-oriented. She immediately moves past the fluff and gets straight to the issues. You're going to see what I mean in today's podcast episode. Thanks for being here. Everyone. Let's dive in to my conversation with Karen Laos.
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All right. I am so excited to introduce you guys to a new phone of mine. Um, I was doing some research Karen about you and I was looking forward to this. So please introduce yourself to my audience. Tell us a little bit about your business, what you do and who you serve.
Karen Laos: (02:32)
Sure, absolutely. Well, I am a keynote speaker and I think the best way to describe what I do is to ask any of you listening. If you've ever held back from sharing your ideas due to self-doubt, you can probably relate to my typical client, be it a large group or someone that I'm coaching. I specifically work with corporate women or entrepreneurs who typically are over 40, who want to overcome self-doubt and speak with confidence and clarity. So for me, it took me far too long to find my voice, Amber. And by the way, I'm so happy to be here as well. And we had some pre-conversation before the podcast. And the thing is, it's amazing when you do feel this freedom. And I would say that has been my biggest evolution. And whether you're listening here today, wondering will I find my voice?
Karen Laos: (03:31)
How will I find my voice? I've found my voice, but what do I do with that? Now there are all of these things that we think about related to our voice. But the thing that I would say is once I reached this point where I found it, and I knew how to use it in a way that would honor me, I went, oh my gosh, I have to help everybody do this. And when I say honor me, I don't just mean from a self-serving. Ooh, look at me. I mean, from the perspective of I'm owning my worth, I'm not afraid to speak up. I don't want to play small anymore, and I can share more about that as we, as we talk. But that to me was the ultimate freedom. And that's when I sit on my gosh, I've got to help other women do this.
Karen Laos: (04:18)
And so this wasn't that long ago, by the way, this was really within the last 10 years. So I want everybody also to know that if you feel like it's too late or, oh, it's going to take too much work. I'm 53 years old, so it's never too late. Oh, I love that message. Thank you for that. You're welcome. And as far as the speaking engagements that I do, typically there are two fan favorites. One is three CS to command any room with confidence and the other one is seven ways. Women give away their power and how to take it back. So those are the talks that I give often at conferences and events, but I also love coaching women individually and in groups. So that's a little bit about
Me. Awesome. Well, I need to hear both of those other speeches cause they, they both just gave me a little bit of a chill. So that means I need, I need to listen to those. So we'll, I'm sure we'll have a little bit of that in here somewhere today, too, for sure. So, Karen, you're a communications coach and I'll be honest with you when I saw this. That was the first time I'd seen this and, and maybe this is a term that I just wasn't familiar with myself. Um, so can you talk a little bit about what is a communication coach does and how did you become one?
Karen Laos: (05:39)
Yes, absolutely. Well, what we do is we help people, I would say in two categories just to keep it simple. One is your presence. How are you coming across through your body language and your voice? The second component is your message. And I know Amber, you are very familiar with it. This is your message landing with your audience. Is it relevant? Is it clear and concise? And so many of us tend to ramble and fortunate, you know, for better or worse, but probably for worse. Most of us as women tend to give so much detail and we ramble and then people miss our point and they tune out. So from a communication standpoint, presence and message is how I help people now specifically, what does that look like? Most of the time, it's me helping people on video. Meaning I record them like if you and I were doing this right now, and for those of you listening on the audio, we are also doing this on video.
Karen Laos: (06:43)
So I would say, Hey, Amber, tell me about yourself in one to two minutes, I'd record it. We'd watch it back. We'd break it down. We'd look at the things that you're doing well, and then we'd also talk about what you could do better. And so that's really what I do. And if you think about it from the perspective of public speaking or presentation skills, that seems to be an easier container for most people to go, oh, I get it. But the reason I don't talk about it like that is because I want people to remember. There really, isn't such a thing as private speaking. I mean, unless you're in the shower or you're in the car, every time you open your mouth, you have an audience. So true. Yeah. And the problem is a lot of people think, oh, Karen I'll practice pausing or I'll practice projecting my voice and I'll practice those gestures when I have a high stakes presentation. But the problem with that is then those habits, they don't happen enough that, and then we compartmentalize habits and most of us don't do well. We don't sustain habits when they're, when we try to compartmentalize them. So of course, yeah. I just tell people, Hey, if you practice these skills all the time, then you're going to have a much better chance of being at the ready when you do have that high stakes presentation.
Yeah. Well that makes sense. That just as good, common sense, I guess, but I never think about it in terms of communication habits. For sure. That's not something that would have crossed my mind. Yeah. That's interesting. Well, how did you, so how did you become a communications coach? I'm curious that journey for you.
Karen Laos: (08:25)
Yeah, exactly. It's not like I went to college and said, I can't wait to become a communication. So my background, I started, I have a degree in psychology was always fascinated about people and why we behave the way that we do, but I never wanted to be a therapist. And when I went to college, most people that got a psych degree were moving toward being a therapist. But I started in human resources because I loved business. So I worked at the gap for a long time. And that's where I did quite a bit of, or learned this idea of corporate training. And that is where I started really getting this love for developing people. And then I moved to a company where I was for the last 14 years as of last July I left. And that company is called Decker communications. And that's really where I grew up professionally.
Karen Laos: (09:21)
I started doing corporate training with them and that was strictly communicating to influence. That was the signature program that we had at Decker. So that's ultimately how I did it, but I will tell a quick story back many years ago when I knew I loved training, but I didn't have any experience. I was probably late twenties, I would guess. And at the gap they said, this was in the corporate office. They said, well, if you want to send anybody wants to volunteer to do a few hours of new hire orientation for example, but that would be fine. So I thought, okay, I'm going to do that. I had to audition and everything. And I say this because somebody asked me six months after that, if I wanted to interview for an HR director position at another company. And the takeaway here for your audience is that the reminder that passion is magnetic and passion sells.
Karen Laos: (10:23)
So for any of us selling, and I know we talked a little bit about that before we got to talk to the God in this episode, but most of us have this fear of selling or we feel uncomfortable around it. And yet what I did in that interview now keep in mind. I only had a few hours of training experience officially, but in that interview I talked about it the whole time, how much I loved training, how much I had such a passion for training and I got the job. And then the next day the CFO says to me, Hey, we're doing a leadership training. I've got people flying in from all over the world. Could you do that for us? I heard you did a ton of training at the gap, so wow. Of course. I said, yes, absolutely. And then I went home and went, oh my gosh, how am I going to do this?
Karen Laos: (11:14)
And it was still to this day, probably one of the best trainings I've ever done and was so well-received. And on that day at the lunch table, before I presented these women asked me, well, how did you become a trainer? Wow. And I looked behind me because I didn't think they were talking to me because I didn't identify with that yet. So I want to tell everybody, if you are also thinking, Hey, I really want to move into this, but I don't know how start following your passion and start talking about it. Like nobody's business. That's great advice. I love that. How it happened. Yeah. That's the best way. Yeah. Well, and another tip for everybody too, is just to keep talking about what you do as if it's what you're doing now, I'm not suggesting to lie, but I do think that there's a lot of power related to visioning where you want to be and then suddenly things start happening. Yeah.
I think that's true. I've had a couple of those situations and sometimes you just have to get used to it. Right. And once you start talking about it more and you start attracting more people to it, it's, it is it's, you're passionate. It's very magnetic, like you said, and the more you talk about it, the more people assume that this is what you do and what you want to do. And they'll start thinking of you
Karen Laos: (12:40)
More often. Exactly. Well, and that's what you teach right. To keep staying in people's heads. Exactly. Exactly. Well, Karen, I've
Heard of it. A lot of coaches who talk about getting over fear and when I was doing some research on some of your speeches that you've done, I really liked when I saw on your website and in some of your other speeches, you've talked about channeling fear and I, that distinction kind of stuck with me. And so I wanted to ask you about that. Can you talk about how you approach channeling fear and maybe how it helps us if we're looking to find our own voice?
Karen Laos: (13:16)
Sure. Yeah. The, the channeling is important in my opinion, because I just don't think you can, will it away or say, oh, I'm never going to be afraid. And I will start by sharing a term called anxious reappraisal. And it's just simply a term for reappraising, your anxiety that came out of Harvard, a woman named Alison wood Brooks, if anybody's interested in the origin of it, but it simply speaks to something that is scientific. And if you look at any of the facts, you'll, you'll, you know, that fear and anxiety, or excuse me, fear and excitement or anxiety and excitement are the same physiologically. And so in other words, in our bodies, they're the same thing. They're our body doesn't know the difference. That's the better way to say it without getting into all the details around it. And so here's the simple what to do about it instead of what we typically do is say, oh, I'm so nervous about this talk or I'm so afraid of this conversation.
Karen Laos: (14:20)
We, instead of that, to trick our brain, you want to start saying, I'm so excited. I am so excited about this talk. I'm so excited about this conversation because it just simply helps your brain and follow along with the body's physiological response to that fear. And that can make a huge difference. And this anxious reappraisal just simply means you're reappraising that anxiety in your, in your head to follow along. And that is one thing that makes such a difference where you just simply start saying that before a talk or whatever it looks like, and then, or whatever you're you might be doing, for example, and knowing that in advance and even what, another thing that I'll say, and you may have heard of Amy Cuddy, who did these baby big Ted talks many years ago, she did a Ted talk on power poses, which is really to stand in a superwoman or Superman pose, hands out, stretched with an S for two minutes.
Karen Laos: (15:25)
If you're doing that for two minutes in the study, she found that those people simply felt more powerful and stronger. So that's another way that that fear could be channeled. And if I'm coaching someone, for example, on speaking in a public situation, well, now everything's virtual for the most part. But if, for example, I'm coaching somebody who's speaking on a stage, I will encourage them to move anyway for audience engagement. But when we move with purpose that can help to channel some of that fear to some of that energy. Cause we need to get that energy out there. And another thing that you can do in any situation is to remember the importance of breathing, because whenever you're talking to anybody, you've got to access that breath. But then if you're talking in a situation that's making you a little bit nervous or you're afraid, then that breath is even more important.
Karen Laos: (16:28)
And combining that breath with the power of the pause, that can make a huge difference. I have a couple of clients that have this. I taught them this mantra, which is very simple, which is just stop, pause, breathe. And they say that in their heads before they start speaking, because a lot of times let's say somebody asks you a question in a sales conversation or a potential client call, for example. And we're quick, we feel like we need to immediately respond. And especially if we're nervous. So remembering that stop, pause, breathe can say that in just a second. And that second of the applause also shows even more credibility because as I'm sure you're aware too, that when you pause, when you're talking, it feels like a lifetime. When you have an audience there, whether it's an audience of one or several, but to the audience, it's no big deal.
Karen Laos: (17:28)
It gives them a chance to catch their breath, to absorb what you just said. And it also shows this groundedness from your perspective, that when you have the ability to pause, you show control. And when an audience feels like you're in control and your at ease, they're going to be at ease and then their brains are going to be open and ready to hear what you have to say. So that's a little bit about channeling fear. Is there anything more Amber that you, that caught your eye or mind in when you were watching any of my videos? I'm hoping that I gave some of what you hope to hear there. No, you
Did. And just truthfully, um, I'll just be honest for just a minute. I kind of forgot that I was recording a podcast.
Karen Laos: (18:17)
So how do I need to implement that? Like, cause I do, I know it's actually one of the habits that I know I need to work on is the space that, like you said, when you're the speaker, it feels like that space takes forever. If you pause. But if you think about it, when you're in an audience of someone else, who's speaking that you're right. That pause is really not that big of a deal, but boy, when you're the one speaking, it feels like, it feels like you paused, you know, for like an hour. And like it's so much of a bigger deal when you're the one speaking. And I know that something I have to work on because I'm one of my tendencies is to fill the space if I feel the space. Right. And I always, I always have to think to myself when I feel that like you don't always have to fill that. Um, because sometimes somebody else needs to, first of all, but it's also a bad habit that I know I have. So for just a second, I was like, just listening, going, oh man, I need to learn that better. So
Karen Laos: (19:18)
Hard. And usually what we tend to do is yeah, it's like you said, fill the space or we talk too fast or it's some combination of both. And then one other thing I'll throw in here, which is very common. It's common for men and women, but unfortunately women are more, there's more talk about it related to women. And that's a habit called up speak, which is when we finish a statement with a question or a comma, when it should be a period. So it sounds something like, let's say, I was like, just now when I said it should be a period. If I said it should be a period, it doesn't sound like I know what I'm talking about. Right. And yet in this, if you think about the traditional valley girls where they were talking like this, and some people still talk like this and then they don't sound like there's.
Karen Laos: (20:10)
So there's that that's simply a cadence. But then for the average person, it's amazing how often this happens. And it happens a lot when people say their name and it usually happens during an introduction. So for example, I'm going to give you a before and after my, before might be hi, I'm Karen Laos and I'm originally from Minneapolis, but now I live in San Francisco versus hi, I'm Karen Laos. I know I am. I'm originally, I'm originally from, but now I live in San Francisco. Very different. Yeah. Very different, such a difference. And all that is, is adjusting your voice and punctuating when you speak. Because when we write an email, we don't even think twice about writing an email and putting the proper punctuation in. And yet when we speak most people don't punctuate at all or very rarely. And especially during an introduction, it ends up being a run-on sentence connected by ANZ.
Karen Laos: (21:18)
And, um, as opposed to heightening your credibility because communication, I mean, again, it's the core of everything that we do. And if you think about credibility and trust can be established very quickly in the way someone speaks. And within seconds we decide, do I want to keep listening to this person or not? And then of course, I know, you know, this, like the back of your hand about what Donald Miller says, that if somebody, if we think that somebody isn't going to help us survive or thrive, then we're going to tune out. Yup. So it's in the content, but also in how we're coming across. Really. That's interesting.
Yeah. Thank you for those examples. That's helpful to hear it too. And yeah, man, I I'm sure that I'm going to catch myself now when I do it now that I've heard that example,
Karen Laos: (22:14)
It's amazing. And I mean, I have sat with men and women where upwards of 15 times is how long it took to say, this one guy took him 15 times to say his name. Wow. Period. Because we're so used to that cadence of hi I'm so-and-so and I did it and I'm from here and yeah, interesting.
I'm going to watch myself now when I say that and see, see how long it takes me. Well, Karen, you've coached a lot of women over the years and men, but most of my listeners are women. Why do you think so many women find it difficult to find their voice?
Karen Laos: (22:51)
Yeah, it's a age old question, as I would say, but I'm going to start with my story. And then I'm guessing that people will be able to connect with that. And then I'll wrap it up around that. So, perfect. I grew up with a Trish in a traditional home where my parents were very much that my mom raised the kids. I'm one of nine kids. And my dad was the one that brought the money home. And even though neither of them ever said, I don't have a voice. What was modeled to me in our home was that my dad called the shots and he was in control. And so as a result of that, I really didn't think that my voice mattered or that if I spoke up that my opinion mattered, I spent most of my childhood trying to be a compliant little girl, like a, of women I coach and the more women I talk to, the more I hear people going, oh my gosh, that's me.
Karen Laos: (23:51)
Now at the same time, my dad taught me that you can do anything you want with enough persistence and determination. So what I'm finding now with other women as well, and very similar to me is that I have had a really wonderful career because of my ability to speak up and not be afraid to ask for things, but in a number of situations I can play small. And that's what happened to me. I can feel intimidated or am I really good enough? So many people are plagued, especially women by self-doubt. And I'd say a big root of that is societal for better or worse. And I don't, I'm not one to blame something on something else, because I believe that we need to be responsible for how we were not responsible for what happened to us as a kid, but we're responsible for what we want to do about it now.
Karen Laos: (24:51)
And so men is, again, it wasn't until I was in my late forties that I realized, wow, I'm still intimidated and playing small. And even in these executive meetings at my last job, I would hold back from sharing ideas. And there was this fear. So if we go back to, well, why is this we're afraid of being judged? I'd say that's probably the number one we are afraid of not coming across as perfect. Our idea. Isn't perfect enough. So I'd say that those are really the two big ones, but then there's a variety of all kinds of micro fears I would say. But those are really the two biggest ones. And then part of that fear originates from how we grew up and just simply do people, did people give us a voice as a kid where we honored for that? And so I want to share another quick example of a woman that I used to work with.
Karen Laos: (25:53)
I was amazed at what I would call her Moxie. She always spoke back to the boss. She always spoke out in meetings and sometimes she was even a little bit overly assertive to the point of where it felt aggressive. And I just was kind of surprised by that because that was not okay when in my upbringing and I asked her, I said, I so admire you because she's also was very respected. And I thought, wow, I, I just, that was such a good model. But what I talked to her about was what was it like in your house as a kid? When, when you, were you able to share your opinion? She goes, oh yeah, we had debates all the time at the dinner table and at our dinner table, it was, you just stay quiet so that you don't make dad mad. And it was really fascinating to me to hear her say that and it made me go, okay, that makes a lot of sense.
Karen Laos: (26:49)
So that's just one example. And yet then it goes back to, okay, well what do we do about that? And that's part of, we have to, we have to practice in small, tiny ways that can help us go, oh, that wasn't so bad. So I'll give one tip that I started doing instead of what I used to do at these meetings in my company where I would come and I'd bring all the facts and okay, everybody here's, I've done some research. What does everybody else think? My boss was also a wonderful person and helped coach me. She goes, I want to know what you think. And I was so afraid when she said that because I had six other people looking at me like, what does Karen think? And once again, fear of, am I going to say it right? Am I going to be judged?
Karen Laos: (27:41)
And ultimately those are the ones that most of us can connect with, but what's at the root of all of that. Will people reject me? Will they accept me? Right? Am I good enough? All of that's going on, but her encouragement made me go, okay, I I've got to get past this. What I started doing is saying, here's all the research, here's my vote. And so if anybody wants to tip on it will, how do you speak up? Just those three words. Here's my vote. I found that to be very, I liked that. I, you can still say here's what I think, but somehow here's my vote felt. I don't know if it's just that I want it to be more collaborative or what, but those words have helped me a lot and my clients as well, to be able to just put that stake in the ground, say, here's what I think. Or here's my book, excuse me.
Oh, I really like that. Karen and I have, I have this mental picture of somewhere remedy use that. So I really appreciate that. Um, because I think sometimes for, for women too, and again, I know men struggle with this, but because my audience is mostly women, I think for women, we feel like sometimes when we are going to put that stake in the ground, there's, there's not only the, the judgment are people going to judge me, are people gonna reject me? But I feel like there's, there's this thought that comes across right before. We're about to say something where you don't want it to sound. As if you're saying you're the only one that's right. And sometimes as women, we, we tend to be fearful. I know I'm speaking truly. I'm speaking of myself, we tend to be fearful of putting that stake in the ground. And so sometimes how we say something comes across wrong because that fear is, is behind it. And I feel like saying, here's my vote kind of mitigates that fear for me internally versus saying, here's my opinion. Here's what I think. I really liked that change of word. I think internally it makes my fear dissipate a little bit. That's
Karen Laos: (29:51)
So cool. Well, and I love what you said as far as the reason I hadn't thought of it that way. And that's really cool because it's so true. We, most of the time as women, we want to be collaborative. We, I grew up in the Minnesota. Nice. As it's called of, you know, you don't want to rock the boat. That was the big thing and where I grew up. And so yes, the vote just feels like, yeah, I'm, I'm one of other people, other votes, right?
Yeah. That just even sounds easier to me as we talk about it. That's interesting. Well, so I love, I love that for people who are like, okay, I have this thing to say, I've kind of found my voice, that I'm going to step out and get past that fear. I'm going to channel it. And I'm going to say, here's my vote. And I've got something to say, but what about the women who are like, I don't even know if I have a voice. I don't know what it is. Where do I even start? What about that?
Karen Laos: (30:50)
Yeah, absolutely. The first thing that I would suggest that any of those women do listening is to start by. It might feel hard, but asking, first of all, identify three to five people in your life that you trust. And ideally, I would say five from different areas of your life and ask them to give you three to five qualities and, and or strengths that they see in you. Now I'm starting with the root of this. This isn't an immediate, okay. Here's exactly how to do it with your voice technically. But most of us why we don't even realize, do I have a voice? Do I not? It starts with confidence and the self doubts. So the self-doubt not, not having that and wanting confidence. And the way that we build confidence is to be reminded. And sometimes we need it externally from people that we trust of things that we do do well.
Karen Laos: (31:51)
And I have found, I do this exercise with my clients and it's amazing to me, how many people get that information back. And number one, you'll notice themes most likely. And the other thing that happens a lot, and this happened for me, I've done this a few times too, is strengths that people see in you, you wouldn't even have thought of as strengths for you. And that is power in my mind where you, then you can start identifying that and going, oh my gosh, you're right. And when you can have that foundation of confidence, that would be step one, getting those. And I'll just share really quickly about the one that has been told to me throughout the years. And even when I was a kid, people said this, that they felt comfortable around me and the amount of people that told me, I don't know why I'm telling you this.
Karen Laos: (32:41)
I just met you, but I didn't think, I just thought that was nice to hear that people feel comfortable around me, but I didn't think about it until the last 10 years about that being something to share as a strength. And now it's called psychological safety. You know, there's actually a term for it in the business world. How wow. That that's not just a nice personality trait, but it's actually something that helps people learn, develop, absorb easier if they feel comfortable around you. So I say that only to say that you might be surprised by some of these themes now, a very tangible, okay, well, how do I actually find my voice? Start, start, start. Even figuring that out. The first thing I would do is start being really intentional and do it like an experiment spend a week. And think as you're just going about your life, start thinking to yourself when things happen in the news or whatever, ask yourself, what do I think about that?
Karen Laos: (33:45)
What would be my vote on that if I needed to vote and just simply getting starting first with the acknowledgment that you do have an opinion that you do think something, because how many times I can speak for myself here, but I'm sure you can identify this with this Amber and many others here listening to is, or watching is something, something happens. Maybe it's a situation in a relationship or in a business situation or the news wherever. And you're you have this immediate gut reaction of, oh my gosh. Either like whatever way in your mind, and you want to say it, but then you filter yourself and you don't. And that is how most of us have really stopped identifying that we had a voice from our childhood where we just, oh, Nope. I can't say that because I might look bad. Or the teacher might not think that I'm good enough.
Karen Laos: (34:45)
Or my mom or dad might not think this or that. So we, we, we find that our voice gets so smushed down that then we have to figure out, well, who are we actually, what do we think about a certain topic? So that's what I would do is start noticing what that gut reaction is. And for some of you may be familiar with Mel Robbins. She has that five second role where you have that gut reaction. And if you hold and wait after five seconds, you probably won't do it anymore. And so that's what I would recommend is start noticing that immediate, okay, this is what I think about that. And then you can progress to actually saying it out loud at some point.
Very good. Well, this, Karen, this just came to me, which tells me somebody out there, maybe other than me might be me, needs to hear this. Um, so let's talk for a second about experience because I think, I think we sometimes tend to feel like, well, I'm not going to speak up about whatever it is because I don't have the experience to do so. And someday when I have more experience, then I'll, then I'll speak up about things. But I know the case is true for me. And I think for my listeners probably too, so what's enough experience to feel like I start really having a voice. And maybe this comes from my background originally was as a press secretary for a Lieutenant governor. And my dream job was actually to go to the white house Sunday. Well, I didn't make it there, but when I first started as a press secretary, I was like, I do not have the experience to do this. Like I need 20 more years of experience to answer questions right in front of the media. And of course I had to just learn that I wasn't going to get experience until I started down this road. So how do you, how do you feel like about, well, I need more experience before I can really gather my voice and start using it. What, what do you say
Karen Laos: (36:46)
To that? Oh, I'd say you have exactly what you need right now in this moment. I absolutely love this question because this is where I'm a little unusual as a woman, because this is where my dad's, you know, go for it, ask for what you want be persistent. And his modeling really taught me to do that. So I've been very fortunate because I'm amazed at the amount of women that think, for example, oh, I don't have the, I don't have, I only have nine out of 10 qualifications to raise my hand for that opportunity, for example. And I say, go for it. And the biggest, the art to me, and this is where that communication. You asked me in the beginning, the communication coaching, this is where I help people as well is how do you say something in a way that connects the dots for your audience about your experience and why, what you have is relevant to whatever the situation needs.
Karen Laos: (37:45)
We've just to me, that's where we want to be spending our energy, not, oh, I don't have this. We don't want to be coming from a place of lack or scarcity. You want to be coming from a place of abundance to know I can do this and I'm going to do a darn good job at it. Now I'm also not suggesting, like I said earlier, I'm not suggesting anybody lie, but it's more of, here's what I have. And it is enough because we generally in my work with women, I feel this way too at times, but just, gosh, am I ever enough? And that seems to be the age old question for women, or when, when I get there, then I'll be enough when I get there. And as one of my very first coaches said, the problem is when you get there, then you're just here.
Karen Laos: (38:37)
It feels like so true. No, I'm just here. Yeah. He did this exercise once in a large group settings. He said, do you want to know what it feels like to be a millionaire? And I always said, yeah, it's okay, close your eyes. And he just paused for three seconds. And then he said, open your eyes. And he goes, that's what it feels like. You're just the same. And I know there's a little tongue in cheek in there, but this, this whole idea of really noticing that you are already there. And it's simply a matter of how do you position yourself from a confidence. So from the mindset perspective, but also how you come across. So for example, and this is, there's been a couple of times in my life where people have thought I was a lot more experienced than I am. And one that I will share is when I was 18, I had taken dance classes at Arthur Murray, the ballroom dance studio.
Karen Laos: (39:33)
And I remember walking into the studio one day, somebody said to me, oh my gosh, asked me a question. Well, it was an asking me a question about something. And I said, oh, I don't, I'm not an instructor here. And they said, you're not, oh, I just thought the way you walked in that you were, and I'm telling you that was such a huge confidence boost for me. And very obviously still very memorable that sometimes it's that whole concept. You know, I know there's different opinions about this, but the fake it till you make it part, which is another example from when I was 18, by the way, when I was selling Mary Kay cosmetics, I would go to their weekly meetings and they made a really good point that also has stuck with me forever, that you're never going to know every detail about every single product and every, every single thing that we sell.
Karen Laos: (40:26)
But you need to show up as if you do. And I feel like that's a huge reminder that so much of how we come across in our behavior or presence, whatever, again, whatever you want to call, it makes such a huge difference in whether people decide that you're believable or not, but you need to believe it yourself. And that's really, really where it's important. And this is where you could start with affirmations or anything like that. And I'll share one more story and then I'll stop Amber. But I used to think this whole affirmation thing was, it was not really helpful. You know, how important is that? And I thought for fun, I would try it and I love the word radiant. Now it's not a word that most people use in day-to-day conversation. And I say that because as I started saying it daily, multiple times a day, and I had it on a post-it note in a couple different places in my house within a few weeks of me saying, I am radiant.
Karen Laos: (41:29)
I had two people in the most bizarre situations tell that I was radiant. And one was, yeah, one was a guy in a, after a corporate training. And it wasn't like a weird romantic thing. It was just truly just said, you, you are radiant. And that was very unexpected after a day long of communication training. And then I don't remember who the other person was, but it was another, another guy that just said, yeah, you're just radiant. Well, those are that's one example where I thought, oh my gosh, okay. This stuff really works. And you know, I had a friend that used to pick up money off the ground when she would find loose change. I mean, I do that too, but she used to do it and say, I'm a money magnet at the same time. So I definitely try and map that to all right. I'll stop there ever. You know, I could talk forever. Oh,
I love it. Karen. I feel like I have been in communication church and I'm loving every minute of it. I am just loving every minute of it. Well, I want to be sensitive to your time. I'm keeping an eye on the clock here. And so I want to close with, um, two more things. The first is one more question. And then I would love for you to tell my audience, where can they learn more about you, your, your courses, your coaching, et cetera. But one more question before you do that, let's shift gears a little bit and talk business because not that we haven't been, but let's really focus on making money because my audience is entrepreneurs. They're using their message to build their business. How do we gain more confidence in selling that message to support our business? Because at the end of the day, we're here to make money in our business. And if we can't do that, our message isn't resonating with our customers and maybe we're doing something wrong, it gets a confidence issue. Or maybe it's not clear enough. How do we gain more confidence?
Karen Laos: (43:20)
Yeah. Well, I'd say you hit the nail on the head with confidence and clarity. So starting with clarity, it's really figuring out what are your fees. I'm amazed at how many women and I can speak for myself too, especially when starting off where I would waver and or, or well, or, or, you know, you say your fee and then you start talking right away. So very tangibly say, figure out in advance. What do you want to charge? What, in any, even it could even be like tiered, well, we could get into lots of detail around this, and I don't want to do that now, but tiered pricing, like good, better, best come up with maybe one or two options or whatever it is that you want to do. And then when you say it, say it with declaration, like you mean it. And I've found that, that plus the pause and then seeing their response perhaps, and then asking, how does that land for you?
Karen Laos: (44:15)
Or do you think that's going to work? Something like that versus what I used to do is well, and if that isn't, if that's too much, you know, I'd be happy to work with your budget as opposed to what I do still sometimes say, but it's a different energy feel, which is how does that land for you? I see what they say. And then I'll say, do you have a budget that you'd like to share because I might be able to scale something for you. It's a different feel. So it's the word scale that's so important. So I would, first of all, again, that all comes under that umbrella of clarity, but it's also related to confidence too. And the confidence part, I would suggest highly that you do role play with people, a person. And this is something that I do in my coaching.
Karen Laos: (45:05)
So that's my shameless plug. If anybody's interested in working with me, but anytime you can role play with somebody that helps, first of all, the cool thing is from a psychological or scientific perspective or neuroscience, whatever you want to call it, our brain, our subconscious brain doesn't know the difference between what's real and what's not. So when you practice that conversation, even in a role-play and then when you need to do it in the real situation, your brain goes, oh, I've been here before. It doesn't know the difference. So the role-play can be so helpful to help you really solidify the way you want to say it, how you want to say it. And then being conscious about that pause. So I would say those are two areas and then a couple of tips around that. And then if we go even deeper based on what we've already shared, which is around using your voice, just things like, well, we didn't talk about this too much, but projecting your voice and saying some of these, like find an affirmation, not a ton of affirmations, find one, like I am radiant. I am unstoppable. People love to buy my services, you know, something, whatever it is that you're, I would say, figure out the biggest self-doubt message and then counteract it with the best affirmation that you can and keep it simple. And to one phrase, that would be my suggestion. So that combination of things can be very helpful. And just remember, and maybe it's simply, I am worth what I charge.
Karen Laos: (46:44)
I'm not sure. It's you got to find what works for you.
Well, that's, uh, I think sometimes when this is new to you, you need an example to start with, right? You can, you can make it your own later. You may, you may change it once you kind of find the thing that works for you. But I think if this is new to you, cause this is new to me, I would use that one to start with. I am worth what I charge and maybe a month from now, I might find a different one that I want to use, but I sometimes when it's new, you just kind of need an example to start with. And that's a very good one, very easy one to start with.
Karen Laos: (47:16)
Yeah. Well good. Well, I have another business friend who is further along than me in her business as far as experience in years. And she uses the example of, and she's pretty expensive. What most would call expensive. And she uses the example that she's Gucci, Gucci doesn't discount their services. She's not even Coach- Coach is great, but they still have sales. She doesn't go on sale. And it's, it's really interesting to me because I'm still learning from her because I still believe in, I'm happy to negotiate with people within reason, but she is just hard and fast. And she said a lot of people, and I think this hopefully would be helpful to your audience too, because it was really interesting to me when she told me her rate, I thought, wow, that is really high. And sh and then it helped me when she said, oh, I have, because I had this per impression that lots of people just said yes to her.
Karen Laos: (48:13)
And I think that we can do that. When we look at other women, we go, oh, everybody's saying yes. And why am I not getting more clients? And she's getting all the clients, well, she told me the other day, she has lots of people that say no. And, and they have shocked like, oh my gosh, you are so expensive. And she just says, you're absolutely right. I am, I'd be happy to refer you to other people. But if you'd like to work with me, I'm available and it's, it's owning it. It really is. And that's where the role-plays come in. That's where saying it over and over again to yourself can help to shift your whole energy and how you come across.
Oh, that's, that's really powerful. I love that. Thank you for sharing so many good stories and examples. Cause I really think that resonates with people in, how can we find you? You have coaching, you have courses. If people want to reach out to you and work with you, how do they do that? And what does that look like? What are the options?
Karen Laos: (49:09)
Yes, absolutely. So my website is Karenlaos.com. That would be the best place to reach me and see the breadth of my services. But I will boil it down to three things. One, I do keynote speaking. So if you're an event planner and you're looking for a speaker, I would love to talk with you. Number two, and probably most, I would guess of the audience here is I do coaching both one-on-one and group coaching. And the third one is more for corporate teams and facilitation, but with absolutely love to talk with anybody. And I'm on Instagram a lot. So if you're interested in more tips around this, feel free to check out my Instagram feed, which is @KarenLaosconsulting. And I will say one last thing. And now I'm, I'm feeling like, oh, this is, this is not the Donald Miller way. I'm giving away too much. I'm going to leave you with this. I have a podcast called Ignite Your Confidence with Karen Laos. And if you'd like more tips on any of the things that I've been talking about today, please feel free to follow me there. Or you can join that same title with my Facebook group, ignite your confidence with Karen Laos.
Awesome. Well go check out Karen, everyone. I'm sure you've loved this conversation as much as I have. And Karen I'm so grateful that you came on the show and you and I met in a group in another business group. And I have no doubt that that was on purpose. So thank you so much for being here and sharing all of your experience and your knowledge with my audience. I know that they're going to find it very valuable. You're
Karen Laos: (50:50)
So welcome, Amber. Well, I love talking about this and thanks for having me awesome. That
Was such a great conversation, Karen, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Your message is amazing. What you do is so, so great. And I just know that my audience is going to feel the same way. Thank you. Thank you for your time. I hope you guys enjoyed that conversation. Please go check out. Karen. I have linked her information in the show notes and she has a couple different ways that you can work with her. The first one is she does one-on-one coaching. She also has a course that is launching soon, and there's a wait list for that. So I've linked that in the show notes as well. And then she also has a group coaching program that is open right now. Go grab that coaching program before all of those spots run out. I've linked that for you in the show notes. Karen is amazing. I know that you're going to love working with her, so go check her out, go follow her online. Karen, thank you so much for sharing that message with us today.
Thanks for listening today, friends, and spending a piece of your day with me to get more information on my copywriting and content marketing and messaging services. Go to Amberglus.com. You can also learn more on Instagram with me @amberglus until next time go share your unique message with the world.