One of the challenges in life is making decisions. However, it’s what you do about those decisions that matters more. Dr. Willie Jolley encourages everyone to develop a mindset of enthusiasm and keep optimism that somehow, someday, they will win and start to lead better lives. Gail Watson, President and CEO of Women Speakers Association and the go-to person for up and coming phenomenal people, is blazing the trail for empowering and inspiring women to show the world who they are and what they can do to make the world better. She believes every woman has a voice they keep inside and a message they should share with the world.
We’ve got Dr. Willie Jolley and Gail Watson. Dr. Willie Jolley’s a world famous Hall of Fame Speaker, and Gail Watson is the CEO of Women Speakers Association.
Listen to the podcast here
The Mindset Of Enthusiasm with Dr. Willie Jolley
I am with Dr. Willie Jolley, who’s achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry. There are many motivational speakers and then there’s the one and only, incomparable, Dr. Willie Jolley. He’s been described simultaneously as the world-class award-winning speaker and singer, bestselling author, and media personality. He’s gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by 175,000 members of Toastmasters. He’s been inducted into the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame, as well as achieving the distinction of Certified Speaking Professional by the National Speakers Association. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award. In 2013,he was named “One of the Top Five Leadership Speakers” by Speaking.com and Business Leader of the Year by the African American Chamber of Commerce. He’s the author of multiple books. It’s so nice to have you, Dr. Jolley.
Good to be with you. Thank you so much. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be on.
You said you stood in for Zig Ziglar.
I replaced Zig Ziglar when he passed away on the national Get Motivated! Tour. I did that for two years. We did about 80 cities, and had a great time doing that. I’ve left the tour because I’m starting my own tour. Many people know about my new marriage book, which is taking so much of my time and energy, that I really am more focused on that than the tour. I’m on television, radio, and interviews literally daily, so I want to be able to do both of them with the same energy.
I watched one of your interviews and it’s that JolleyMarriage.com to get the book?
People have been calling us from around the world. We got a call from Kuwait and said, “That interview was life changing for my wife and I. I need that book.” We’re grateful and we encourage people to go watch the interview. It’s funny, it’s an engaging, and then it gives some real life lessons to help people in their relationships, help them to have greater success. My wife and I have been married for going on 33 years. We haven’t had an argument in over 30 years. Those first couple years, we had major arguments, just back and forth. It was bad, but we learned some principles, worked with mentors that helped us. We thought of implementing, embracing, and employing those principles and they worked. 30 years later, we put them in a book and it’s helping others to have greater success.
Your books haven’t been traditionally this direction. What made you decide to go this way?
My first book was called It Only Takes a Minute to Change Your Life. My book A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback, that one with the first national bestseller. This became an international bestseller. Then Turn Setbacks into Greenbacks, bestseller. Attitude of Excellence, which is coming out again in a revised form because I wrote that in 2009. At that point when I wrote that, the book and I were on the same page, grown in the years since. The thing I’ve learned in the last nine years have been life changing, so we’re revising it because I want the new book and I to be on the new same page, but all self-help professional development, personal development.
This book was a result of my son. My son is over 30 years old and he’s an attorney. He would tell his friends, “I’ve never seen my parents argue.”They’d say,” I don’t believe that.” He said, “It’s true. I’ve never seen them argue.” They’d say, “How is that possible? How could that be?” He would bring them over to our home and they sit at our dinner table, and we tell them, “Here’s the things we’ve learned that helped us to stop arguing and get to loving.” After enough of them continue to ask, he came to us and said, “Mom and dad, my friends keep saying, we need you to write this book. We want what you’ve told us in these sessions. We need to be able to take it to our other friends. We need a book.” He pushed us to write the book, and the book had just exploded.
It looks like it’d be a really fun thing to read. You two are really funny. Your background, going back and forth, and the way you interact is really cute. I enjoyed that interview immensely. Your wife looks like she’s a lot of fun.
She’s smart as a whip and she’s tough as nails. She learned how to have a sense of humor by living with me. She was a preacher’s kid. She did not have a sense of humor when we got married. Her dad was a fire and brimstone preacher, so she didn’t have a sense of humor. We’ve learned that humor is an oil that keeps friction away. I’ve had humor and so sometimes we just use humor to keep the friction from becoming a problem. It’s through that that we are able to communicate and talk more effectively.
Does she also have your beautiful singing voice?
No, my wife doesn’t sing. She would not be able to hold a tune if you put it in her pocket.
I love your voice and I cannot believe you were ever fired and replaced by a karaoke machine. How is that possible?
That’s my story. For those who don’t know my story, I was a nightclub singer, a jingle singer. Sang jingles for Pizza Hut, “Pizza Hut, Making a great.” Oldsmobile, 7-Eleven,BET, Channel Four News. I sang jingles during the day and then I made the majority of my income singing at night in nightclubs. Dark, dank, smoke-filled nightclub singing songs I hated, but I kept on singing it because they kept on paying me. One night, I went in and they said, “We’re going to make a change. We love your band, but we’ve found something cheaper than a band and we’re going to give that a shot.” I got replaced by a karaoke machine. Anybody who’s been replaced by something, anybody ever been rejected? It’s painful. I felt like somebody kicked me in my gut. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I took a job while I was trying to figure out what I was going to do.
I took a job with the Washington, D.C. public school system as a drug prevention coordinator. It was during that year I discovered an ability I didn’t know I had, to use words to communicate. From the little kids, the teachers would say, “Can you come to my teacher’s group?” Someone at the teacher’s group would say, “Can you come to my church?” Someone at the church would say, “Can you come to my company?” It continued to grow. One day, Les Brown, the great motivator, heard me speak and sing and he said, “I’ve been looking for an opening act for a tour called The Music and Motivation Dream Team Tour, and we’ve been looking for a speaker who also sang. Are you interested?” I said, “Yes, I think so.” Much later, we kicked off the Les Brown Music and Motivation Dream Team Tour, which featured Les Brown, Billy Preston, the great organist, Gladys Knight, and myself. We’ve been around doing these Music and Motivation events, and it was great.
They introduced me to radio people. I got a little radio show. It got popular first here in the Washington area, then gets syndicated, which led to Sirius XM, where you can hear me now or my Sirius XM show, which is number one self-help show in America, channel 141.It airs four times every week. One interview, four times a week. That led to CBS Television with my one-minute motivational messages, and PBS. A book publisher offered me an opportunity to write a book, and I wrote the first book. It became a national bestseller, the second book international, and it just continued to grow. In 1999, I was named “One of the Top Five Speakers in the World” by Toastmasters. In 2005, I was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame. I was named a legend of the speaking industry. It all happened because I got fired and replaced by a karaoke machine.
Is that guy kicking himself now?
Most people don’t ask that question. I got fired in the late 1980s, early 1990s.I started working with school system in 1990, so it must’ve been ‘89. My first book came out in 1995, and it hit the bestseller book list. The guy who fired me called me and said, “One of my employees came in with this book saying it changed her life, and you’re the cover. She said, “We’ve got to get this guy. He lives in D.C. We’ve got to get him to see if he can come speak for us.” He looked on the book and there’s my picture, “Willie Jolley! He used to sing here. He was our nightclub singer.” She said, “He’s great. His books are great.” He calls me, and he says, “This is so and so, hi. You remember me?” “Yes, I remember you.” He said, “I see you got a book, and I see you getting these motivational speeches. I like to see about you coming to speak for our sales team.” I said, “I’m open.” At that point, remember that when I was in the nightclub, he was paying me $500 a night. $500 that I split with the band. He says, “We can pay you about $500. Come give a speech.” I said, “No.” That ship has sailed. I put up my new fee. He said, “What? That kind of money, you can go and buy a Mercedes.” I said, “I already bought one.”
This is a point for everybody. How many of your audience have been fired, rejected, put down, taken advantage of, or have been disappointed by somebody who didn’t do what they said they’re going to do? How many have had that experience? Rather than trying to get revenge, here’s the secret I learned. Massive success is the best revenge. That was one of those moments in my life where I said, “Yes,” because I was able to control my destiny. Here’s what I learned from being fired. One, you’ve got to make decisions in life, and not what happens to you that matters. It’s what you do about it. When you have a challenge in your life, it’s not just a problem you have, it’s the decision you must make in that moment. I made a decision that I was going to change my life. I didn’t know how it’s going to turn out. I didn’t know all the details, but I knew that I had to determine my destiny or I would have somebody else determine my destiny. I was going to have to live my dreams or I would always be living someone else’s dreams.
I’m saying to you that one, you’re going to have setbacks, but a setback is nothing but a setup for a comeback. You got to have that attitude, that expectation, that good things are going to come from this. Be positive. Stay upbeat. Don’t let the situation or the circumstances beat you down. You’ve got to rise up above them. You’ve got to have a mindset that says, “I’m going to win somehow, someway, and you all better get on board with me because I’m going somewhere.” That really does create an enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is taken from the Greek word in ‘entheos’, which means the God within. That God force within you, that power force within you, must be enthusiasm. It comes out of you. Let it shine, let it flow. Go up to people, “How are you doing today?” Don’t just say, “I’m doing okay” or “I’m doing fine” or “I’m just making it.” Say, “Amazing, outstanding, incredible.”
I was at the gym early this morning, and a guy I was working out with had gone into the sauna for a few minutes. I said, “How are you doing today?” He said, “I’m doing good. How are you doing?” I said, “I’m doing awesome.” He said, “What?” I said, “Awesome.” He said, “That’s the first person I’ve ever heard say awesome.” I said, “Welcome to hearing awesome.” I woke up this morning without a chalk outline around my body. I woke up in America and America got -isms. It got sexism, ageism, and racism, but let me tell you, it’s still a great place to be. You don’t have to be the brightest bulb in the pack to make millions dollars in America. I can attest to that. I was half the class in my high school that made the top half possible. Getting through college, I just got through college, but I made a decision to one day get better, to work on me. That’s what I want to encourage everybody to do.
I’m writing a book on curiosity and how to develop it in other people, and it’s what you’re talking about, this drive, this passion. How did you get to be so enthusiastic? Is it from watching Zig Ziglar’s of the past? Were you always like this?
The key was that I changed my inputs. Input determines output. I was not always like this, but I had to change some inputs, and I had some experiences that have blessed me. My friend Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was one of the great motivators of the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the first big motivational speakers before Zig Ziglar. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones blessed me so many ways because we became friends, but he had a fabulous quote that was life changing for me. He said, “In five years you’ll be the same person you are today except for two things. The people you meet who inspire you and the books you read that empower you. You’ve got to make a point to always watch for blessings come your way from people you’ll meet. Life lessons, don’t let them go by, and read more books.”Make a commitment.
We’ve got thousands and thousands of books that we’ve generated over the last 25 years since I learned this lesson from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. I get books. I haven’t read every book here, but I might read one line out of a book that changes my thinking. When you read a book, what you’ve done is you’ve done a brain transplant. You took that person’s brain, which they took a year, two years, or maybe five years to write, and transplanted it in your brain in a day, a week, a month, whatever amount of time it takes you to read that. One, the people you meet who inspire you, the books you read that empower you. What changed me was my inputs. The second thing that changed me was who I hung around with.
I’ve been in a lot of networking groups and a lot of the times they say you want to be around people who’ve done more than you’ve done to inspire you. I don’t know how you’re going to find anybody like that anymore, though. Is that pretty tough?
I find nuggets from everybody. I find them sometimes from children. I find them from old people. I find them from people who walk along the street. I met a guy one day who was homeless, but he would say something every time you would see him. He’d say, “Bright moments. How you doing? Bright moments.”I met a guy one day who was in 7-Eleven, he was a cab driver. I’d see him in the 7-Eleven every morning getting coffee when I would get coffee. His name was Bobby, and you say, “How are you doing?” He’d say, “Peaches and cream, baby.” That inspired me. I look for inspiration. I live life and I look through glasses that are not typical glasses. Average person just has glasses that help them to magnify something that they’re looking at. Mine do that as well, but I see another thing too. Magnify the good in life. I find good in places most people just ignore. They don’t see it. I see good in Bobby. I see good in a homeless guy who says, “I’m trying to do better because I’ve got more within me.”
I see good in a movie like the Lion King, where Mufasa, Simba’s father, came to Simba after Simba had been hanging out with the hedgehog thinking he’s a hedgehog. His father came to him in an apparition one day and said, “Simba, you are more than what you have become. You are more than what you have become. Be what you were born to be.” Most people see that and it goes right by them. I see that and say, “Wow,” because I’m looking through these glasses. My lenses are always looking for inspiration, looking for things that will empower people, that would inspire people. That’s why I encourage people to follow me. Follow me on Facebook Live, follow me on Twitter, follow me on IG. I’m always sending out things every week, every day, every month on things that will inspire you, things that have caught my attention that would maybe have no influence impact on other people, but I see greatness in everybody. The answer to your question is that I get it from everywhere.
In my neighborhood, I happened to live two doors down from Muhammad Ali. Of all the people in the world, he is probably one of the most amazing people. Some of your talks, when I was watching you, you have that same impact, you have that dynamic, over the top but empowering personality. A lot of people don’t know how to do that. That seems to come naturally to you and it seemed to come naturally to him. How do you help a speaker become more like you in that way?
We had our emerging speakers’ seminar where we help young speakers learn some of the techniques and some of the principles that will help them to come out and be more out in front, over the top. Many people were able to come to that, and some could not because of schedule. We send them to a place called YouCanSpeakNow.com, where we also teach people online a training on how to get started having a speaking business. Here’s the thing that I think we teach speakers and we teach people, whether they’re speakers or entrepreneurs is that when you make a decision that you’re going to live your best life, then you make a decision to take life by the steering wheel.
I got a podcast on iHeartMedia and Chris Gardner was the real guy from Pursuit of Happyness, the movie that Will Smith played him. Chris Gardner was a father. His wife left him with a little boy, a little baby. He lost his sales job. He lost his money. He became homeless and live in a shelter. During that time, he made a decision to try and become a stockbroker. It was a challenging, difficult, almost impossible effort, but he did it. Now he’s gone on a multi-million-dollar success, a movie about him, he has his own brokerage firm, he has television shows, just a phenomenal guy. He said something that inspired me. He said, “Wherever you are in your life, you drove there.” We got to understand that we all are at someplace. Les Brown says, “Wherever you are, you made an appointment to be there.” Wherever you are, you drove there. Good thing is you can drive out. You can drive out of this situation. You can drive out of being broke. You could drive out of losing your house. You might have lost your house, but you didn’t lose your mind. You didn’t lose your ability.
Vanessa Williams, I interviewed her for my Setback is a Setup for a Comeback book. I write about Vanessa Williams, who is now a movie star. While she was a Miss America contestant and a winner, and she lost her crown because someone brought out pictures she had taken when she was in college. It was a poor choice. She shouldn’t have done it, but she did. This was something she did when she was years earlier, and she lost her Miss America crown. She said something that was powerful. She said, “They took away my crown because of something I did. I made a poor choice, but they could not take away my singing, my acting, my dancing. They couldn’t take away my gifts, and those gifts are what I’m going to use to grow myself back to success.” She did. Broadway, movies, records, she’s been phenomenally successful.
I’m saying to all of you, you’re going through a tough moment. You might be going through what I call the dreaded Ds of life. The dreaded Ds are downsizing, disaster, divorce, disease, diagnosis. I don’t know what your D may be, but you can turn that D around because you make up in your mind that, “I might be here today, but I don’t have to stay here.” It’s like a lady who I met one day. She said, “My husband left me after twenty years. After twenty years I gave him all I had, and one day he walk, and say, “I’m out.” I don’t know what to do.” I say, “Here’s what you do. First of all, you make up in your mind that you are not going to curl up and die. Second thing you do is you realize that you’re still vibrant, and you’ve got a lot of life left to live. Live that life. Give it your all.” She bought my books and she said, “I don’t know.” I saw her a year later, she came up and hugged me. She almost didn’t let me go. She said, “You don’t know what this last year has been like. It’s been phenomenal. I’ve traveled places I’ve never traveled. I’ve done things I’ve never done. I’ve got a new business. I’ve got new experiences. I got new people in my life that I would never have because I thought my life was over. I didn’t curl up and die.”
You share a lot of amazing stories in all your talks, and you do a really amazing job of painting pictures in people’s mind. That was really one of the things that makes a speaker stand out, it’s that ability. Do you find that you’re always looking for stories in other people when you meet them, or is it something you look around for?
I’m looking for stories all the time. I’m looking for new things to inspire people all the time. I keep a notebook, a journal of the things I learned. I’ll give you an example. We had our emerging speakers’ seminar. It’s an all-day seminar. People come from all over the country to come to that. They heard about it and it’s called Jolley Rich Speaking and JolleyRichSpeaking.com is where that site is. People go to the site, they get information, they come from all over the country, and they spent a day with me. A lot of my people who’ve come say they’ve gone to speaker seminars where it’s promoted by a well-known speaker, but that speaker’s not there. You have a video or some representatives, and they said, “You’re actually here, and you spend the day with us.” That was all day, so we were tired after the whole day, but a friend of mine who I went to college with, her grandson was having his first birthday. She had said, “If you can come by.” It was in Alexandria, Virginia. I live in Washington. I told my wife, “I know you’re tired, but we’ve got to go by there because I promised, and I’m a man of my word.”
We drove out there, and we celebrated the grandson’s little birthday, and then we took some pictures. We stopped and got a bite to eat. Then on our way home, our regular route to get home, we heard on the radio there was an accident. We couldn’t go that way, so we went a different way. We’re going to go right by the hotel where our friend, who my wife met when she was working on Capitol Hill, was in town. We were going to go over there on Sunday, but we’re right near here. I said, “Let’s just call her.”I called her and she said, “I’ll come down and meet you.”We went to the restaurant and we sat in a restaurant. Then my wife said, “I’m so tired. After about twenty minutes I’ve got to go to bed.” We hugged our friend, we left.
My wife did not realize while she was sitting in the chair, she had dropped her keys in the chair, but we leave. That’s two keys to two luxury cars. Do you know how much keys to luxury cars cost to replace? The next morning she says, “I can’t find my keys anywhere.” I said, “Let’s look over the house.” We looked all over the house, no keys to be found. Where could they have been? All day Sunday we were busy. We had book events at a church. We had a church event, I had my uncle’s100thbirthday, so we couldn’t go back and look for the keys. I said, “Let’s go to the hotel.” We go to the hotel, we go to the restaurant. I go in the restaurant, I say to the lady at the restaurant, “Did you find any keys on Saturday night?” She said, “I wasn’t here, but let me go look in for lost and found.” She goes in the lost and found and she said, “No keys, sorry.” I said, “It’s okay, thank you.” I walk out to the car and then I say, “I’m not giving up yet.”
I go back in and I go to the front desk this time. I say to the front desk manager, “My wife lost her keys. Could you check for me? The lady in the restaurant said she couldn’t find them but would you do me a favor check one more time.” She said, “Let me go back to her. Let me call lost and found.” He made four, five calls. He said, “I’m not sure. Before we give up, I can see you’re anxious about getting this.” I said, “Yes, sir. I’m believing they’re here.”He said, “Let me go one more time.” He came back a couple minutes later and said, “Here are your keys.” They were there. That is the power of persistence. You’ve got to persist in whatever it is. It might seem like a small thing, but that taught me a lesson. Remember that you must consistently be persistent in your efforts because good thing happen to those who are persistent. You sent me a couple emails, didn’t you?
Yes, probably more than two.
Yes, you’re persistent. You sent me these notes. I get a lot of requests for people to do interviews, I just don’t have that much time. The XM show, my speaking, my events, all the stuff that we got going on television, radio. It’s a lot going on, but I was so impressed with your persistence. I said, “I’m going to be on her show.”
You got to sing something on my show. You said you had to sing songs you didn’t like. What kind of songs do you like?
My favorite song is:
“To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To go where the brave dare not go
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this perilous quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To fight the unbeatable foe, to chase the unbeatable star.
To reach the unreachable star.”
What a way to end the show because this has been so wonderful. I’m so glad we finally got a chance to connect. We talked a little bit about where to go for this and where to go for that but can you one more time just share your websites and how people can find out more because I’m sure they’d love to have you come speak to them.
First of all, go to WillieJolley.com or WJSpeaks.com, and you can reach me. I got a free gift for everybody. Some eBooks, some of my music, and some of my XM interviews that changed my life. Go to WillieJolley.com/Gift, and that gift will be there for you. If you want to get my marriage book, you want to grow your marriage, go to JolleyMarriage.com. Get the free chapter of the book at JolleyMarriage.com. If you have some teenagers or young people in your life you want to inspire, who are driving you crazy, who think they know more than you, go to WJYouthPower.com and see my PBS special for young people.
Get that, watch it with them, it will change them. I promise you. Then if you are a person of faith, like I am a person of faith, you can go hear my messages from the Crystal Cathedral, the Hour of Power or JolleyGoodNews.org. Finally follow me on Facebook at Willie.Jolley, on Instagram @TheRealWillieJolley, and finally on Twitter @WillieJolley. Stay connected to me. Our goal is to help you do more, be more, achieve more, live a better life, and make this a life that when your time is up, even the undertaker will be sad to see you go.
The incredible Dr. Willie Jolley. Thank you so much for being on my show.
Thank you for having me. You’re awesome.
I appreciate it.
The Message Inside Every Woman with Gail Watson
I am with Gail Watson, who’s a global visionary and President and CEO of Women Speakers Association, which is the go-to place for innovative leaders, change agents, and women with a message to connect, collaborate, and grow their visibility worldwide to fulfill their mission. As the first ever global community for women speakers with a reach of over 120 countries and six or seven continents, they provide a platform for women to support mastermind and mentor one another. It’s nice to have you, Gail.
Thank you, great to be here.
I’m interested in what your platform does for speakers. All this is going to be helpful for men to know too, right?
Absolutely. Women Speakers Association is a community of women on six continents. We’re a community of women who provide resources and training and serve women, speakers, authors, experts who are using their voice to powerfully inspire the lives of their clients, their communities, countries and really helping to empower women with their gifted message. We believe every woman has a message inside her. Our community is not about who you are, what you do, how much money you make, where you live on this planet. It’s about your message. All we want to do is get it out.
I was watching one of your interviews where you described what that map meant to you.
We had some members joining from Sweden and the UK, and I had to look on the map to see exactly where they are. When Women Speakers Association launched in 2011, we launched with just a name and a conversation. The conversation we’ve put out there was what we were seeing going on in our industry was when we were watching those stages, “Where’s all the women?”We know they’re out there. We also started seeing big shifts in audiences where audiences stopped wanting to run to the back of the room to drop tens of thousands in mortgage bill, mortgage on their home to buy a program. That wasn’t going to serve them, and they started to demand value.
We put this conversation out, so a few of us in there are my peers in the industry. We were discussing this, “Put it out there.” We had a goal reach of over 500 people in about six months’ time span. Without any traditional social media, just a blog post, we achieved that 500 connection with women. They were from around the world. Those 500 women landed in 80 countries. 500 divided into 80 countries. It was a very clear message that this was not just a local conversation. This was a global conversation, and this was in 2011. I keep this map because it reminds me of our community. What I love about this map is there’s no borders on it. We are one, and we’re all over the place on this planet. The wonderful thing about the internet is we can connect, we can talk to each other, and we get to know each other.
You do a lot of connecting and you share a lot of knowledge. How are you different than a site, maybe like Speaker Match? How are you different than maybe Toastmasters? How do you connect with NSA or eSpeakers? How does this all work together?
We’re a blend of everything. Little pieces here and there, but we’re exclusive for women. Our community is about women, and what that brings is a lot of safety, open talk, and no judgment. In our industry, just right across the different verticals, we are struggling still. I can’t believe it still that our women out there represent, albeit consistently, less than 20% of a stage. That’s got to change. We are a community with a mission, and our mission is to empower the voices of women, and it is to get it out there.
We don’t want anybody, any woman on this planet to die with her story in her. We look for those opportunities to get it out. In terms of resources and training, the one thing that we do is we leverage the internet. The biggest difference with Women Speakers Association is that we are global. When you come on a call, you will meet women from around the world. I don’t know of any other networking environment that I’ve been in where I get to meet, connect, get to know people in other countries, and learn who they are and what they’re on this planet to do.
People probably want to give TED Talks. They want to learn to be more dynamic or they want to do different things. Those are the kinds of things you’d help them with, correct? You would give them tips, webinars, and different ways to learn to be more effective speaker?
The number one reason why somebody joins Women Speakers Association is for visibility. Our platform in over the years is morphing into a large media company because of our reach. Our Instagram page grows at least 500 new people every single month. That’s organically. We are becoming that go-to place for that up and coming person, which is phenomenal. In terms of education, we have a series with membership. It’s called Speaker Success Training. We operate with your podcast and through webinars, and we’re bringing that hot information, those things that you need to know to help you get your message out.
For many people, they’re not made a part. Some people are making their living by speaking, but most of them are out there building their business from their passion. They want to use speaking as a way of marketing their business, sharing your message. What we’re bring is those things that you need to know how to get out there, how to find those great opportunities, and the right stages to speak on. How to put together talks, how to joint venture, how to do list building, how this industry operating has been in what we like to call a traditional old model. As we were developing Women Speakers Association, we knew that there had to be native ways for us to get booked, to get seen, to get bright, to get paid without having to fall into those old traditional ways. That’s not being that successful in the marketplace anymore.
I interviewed Kenny Len, who’s a CEO. He helps people learn to speak and do better to communicate in presentations. We were talking and I said, “Do you think that men make better speakers because they’re more dynamic?” He completely thought that women were better speakers, that they’re more coachable, they’re more open to listening, and connecting with people in the audience. I don’t know if I was expecting him to say that. Look at the Hall of Fame Speakers, I’ve had a bunch of them on my show, but I don’t think any female Hall of Fame Speakers have been on my show. They’ve all been men. Why is it 20%, you think?
It saddens me. I was invited to speak at a male-heavy association. The problems that they speak about women not wanting to join them is because they feel like it’s the old boy’s club. I started to examine that in my mind. When you think of what the old boy’s club is, it’s people that have been in this industry together and growing up together in whatever industry that they’re in. They’re friends and they’ve got each other’s backs. As women, we are wired a lot differently. We like to care. We like to put other people before us. We will do it with our families, and we do it in business. It’s very easy for us to promote and build up a colleague or someone to get them up and out than ourselves, whereas men don’t. That’s a real big difference.
When I’m thinking of the script that I have to go present to, I thought, “What can we do here?” Then I thought, “It is our responsibility too, as women, to be advocates, to also grab that woman that we know needs to get connected in, and we need to take her and extend that invitation. Take her by the hand, bring her in, and connect her, and let her know that we have her back, so that we too can build our community.”That’s where you’ll see the numbers shift and change. We’ve got to take a stand. I know lots of fantastic men and they’ve got brilliant messages, and I’m not here to slam that. There’s a lot of great training. As the leader of Women Speakers Association, I had to take the commitment and the stand that I will share the voice of women only within our community. The reason being is that we want to say it is our mission to see women’s voices elevated.
Another thing that we discussed is I’m often asked to get the phone call, “Here, give me your top names of women.”That’s a struggle. I know that they’re out there, but it’s a struggle to find those big draws, and the ones that are out there are rinse and repeat up there, doing their thing. We have to start to shift that focus onto those topics because what the women are bringing to the stage are a little bit different as a speaker. We can present with a deep sense of compassion, empathy, and emotion that can draw in audiences and sharing those real stories. That’s what audiences want. They don’t want the dog and pony show anymore. They want real stories that are current and that they could relate to.
It’s challenging to learn to be a good storyteller. It’s about stories. I saw Susan Cain speak live. She wrote Quiet, and she gave a great talk. She’s not the dog and pony show at all. Being an introvert, she’s very calm. Sometimes we want to be entertained, but not always. That’s fun for some days, and maybe not all the time, and I like both. They’re just different. I learned a lot from Susan’s presentation. I thought she was amazing, but she definitely isn’t a screaming, yelling-across-the-stage kind of presenter. That’s something that a lot of women don’t feel comfortable sometimes because we think, “I’m not like that and that’s what they’re hiring.”
People ask me all the time, “What makes a great talk?”You don’t have to be that live personality, waving your arms, that preacher style, talking, engaging, cue the tears, and break into song. You do not have to be that. When you stay connected to your heart, to your message, and you simply share it, that’s the best talk. Quite often, I give the advice and I do this for myself. I’m not a ‘rah-rah’ when I get up, and I feel intimidated too when you’d get up and you’re onstage with people like that. You go, “I’m going to be boring.”
What I do is I shift the language and I let people know, “We’re here to have a conversation and I’m here to share with you some tips, some ideas that will hopefully enhance what you’re doing. Let’s keep this interactive. Let’s keep this open.” I’ve done that a few times and I intentionally watched audiences. As soon as you say the conversation, what happens is you’ll notice the first few rows, their shoulders drop. You drop a little bit, which is nice. When you feel like your dropping, you’re going back into your heart. We calm everything down and let’s talk about this. Following me is going to be that ‘rah-rah’ person that’ll entertain you. They’re much needed on those stages too. We’ll save that for people with the big talent.
You have to know your limitations or your advantages. For me, knowledge and certain things are my advantage, and every presentation is unique. I’ve been to the Toastmasters events, and some of them are great. They’d get people prepared, but some of them they’re throwing balls around their shoulders, and I’m thinking, “I can’t do that.” I’ve got two people on the show that are really dynamic. One breaks into song and another one would go on because he’s a lot of fun. I love talking to people who are like that, but that’s not my type of speaking. I’m not that way, and so I understand what you’re saying. There’s a space for everybody out there depending on the message and you’re wanting to get the message out. I joined your site because I wanted to be able to know what I’m talking about. What can I expect now that I’ve joined your site? What’s the main things that I’ll start doing because of it? You’re saying I’ll have more exposure, I’ll have access to your content. Who am I going to have exposure with?
First of all, what you received is a professional speaker’s profile. You’re part of the number one database of professional speakers in the world. That database, that profile is an online matching service to what you talk about to people seeking you out. It’s also a profile that you can use in addition to your media kit to be proactive, to get yourself out there. 80% of our opportunity or those speaking opportunities come from direct contact. That profile is an important piece so that you’re able to approach meeting planners, decision makers that you don’t know, that they don’t know you. That profile attached, it does not have judgment to you as to who you are, where you live, what you talk about, your years of experience. Everybody has equal opportunity, so that is the best thing.
The second thing is the training. Trainings are available to you exclusively as a premier member. We have our speaker success trainings. There’s the podcast library that you can participate. The cool thing is you can apply to be on those shows and sharing your expertise. That’s where we get the great brilliance that comes in to Women Speakers Association is from the members themselves. There’s some open strategy calls a couple of times a month, and that’s to keep your momentum. Many of us out there are solopreneurs. We’re in our home offices building our dream, and that is awesome. We want to make sure that you’re able to plug in to a community of women that are just like you, that keep you connected, that keep you current, and keep you motivated, and to have a place to go to ask those questions, to say, “How do I even put a webinar together? Should I even be doing a webinar? Should I be doing podcasts?”Those are some of the advantages, and personally I’m on it.
When you say, “Who’s going to see me?” Women Speakers Association is on a huge mission to be the go-to place for corporations, for associations, organizations to come to find women with great messages. I don’t want to hear any more because I’ve heard it way too many times when I challenge people on their stage numbers and they say, “That’s right. Where do we find them?”To me, it sounds like a foreign language, but then it’s, “You don’t know. How about this? Let’s make it super easy. Come to our site, click on ‘find a speaker’, and pop in the topics that you’re looking for, and up will pop up five, ten women that you can have your choice from that are awesome, that are committed to their message and survey.”
I barely got my name in there, so I haven’t had a chance to, but it sounded very fascinating, and I’m really looking forward to it. It was so nice to have you on the show, Gail. I really enjoyed this.
Thank you. Pleasure being here and you’re awesome. I love your energy. You’re so much fun and I hope that we get to connect live, play, and have some fun.
Thank you so much to Dr.Willie Jolley and to Gail Watson. If you need Gail’s website, it’s WomenSpeakersAssociation.com. They are both such interesting guests and what a great show. For past shows, please go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. I hope to see you at the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Dr. Willie Jolley
Dr. Willie Jolley has achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry. There are many motivational speakers, and then there is the one, the only, the incomparable Dr. Willie Jolley. He has been described simultaneously as a world-class, award-winning speaker and singer, best-selling author and media personality. He has gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by the 175,000 members of Toastmasters International. He has also been inducted into the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame as well as achieving the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the National Speakers Association. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award. In 2013 he was named, “One of the Top 5 Leadership Speakers” by Speaking.com and Business Leader of The Year by The African American Chambers of Commerce. Dr. Jolley’s the author of several international best-selling books including: It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life, A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback, Turn Setbacks Into Greenbacks and An Attitude of Excellence, endorsed by Dr. Stephen Covey.
About Dr. Saida Désilets
Gail Watson is a global visionary and the President and CEO of Women Speakers Association (WSA), which is THE go-to place for innovative leaders, change-agents, and women with a message to connect, collaborate and grow their visibility worldwide to fulfill their mission. As the first-ever global community for women speakers, with a reach in over 120 countries on 6 of the 7 continents, WSA provides a platform for women to support, mastermind and mentor one another in the call to empower the voice of the 21st Century Woman.
- Dr. Willie Jolley
- Gail Watson
- Women Speakers Association
- Get Motivated!
- It Only Takes a Minute to Change Your Life
- A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback
- Turn Setbacks into Greenbacks
- Attitude of Excellence
- Willie.Jolley – Facebook
- @TheRealWillieJolley – Instagram
- @WillieJolley – Twitter
- Women Speakers Association’s Instagram
- Susan Cain