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How a Distinct Brand Voice Sets You Apart as a Thought Leader with Carol Cox

January 22, 2024
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

Are you struggling to make your voice stand out in a crowded marketplace? Do you feel invisible, even if you offer incredible value through your expertise? 

In this episode of The Recognized Authority, brand strategist Carol Cox shares her proven system to craft a magnetic brand voice that positions you as an authority and thought leader in your niche.

You’ll discover:

🔑 The key elements that make up a resonant brand voice persona

📖 How to incorporate personal stories and experiences into your messaging

💡 Why thought leadership means inspiring curiosity rather than just sharing expertise

🤖 How AI tools like ChatGPT can help collaborate with you while still maintaining your unique voice

If you want your ideal clients to feel irresistibly drawn to you when they hear you speak or read your content, you won’t want to miss this conversation. Tune in now to begin amplifying your influence with an authentic and captivating voice!

Show Notes

Key Insights

  • Thought leadership is about asking bigger questions and presenting counterintuitive perspectives, not just providing expertise
  • Sharing personal stories and experiences connects you with the audience
  • A distinct brand voice makes you stand out from other experts and AI tools
  • Writing regularly develops the neural pathways related to your niche, improving thinking
  • Podcasting lets introverts develop authority while still maintaining control


  • Use the Brand Voice Canvas (mission, expertise, methodology, experiences) when crafting content
  • Give ChatGPT several hundred examples of your writing to produce better approximations of your voice
  • Speak locally first to build confidence and test material before expanding your reach

Learn more about Carol Cox here:

Guest Bio

Carol Cox is the founder and CEO of Speaking Your Brand®, a coaching and training company that helps high-performing, purpose-driven women entrepreneurs and professionals create their signature talks and thought leadership platforms. Carol is host of the weekly 5-star rated Speaking Your Brand® podcast. Prior to Speaking Your Brand, Carol founded and ran two software businesses, whose clients included Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, community organizations, and political candidates.


podcast, alastair, ai, audience, introvert, thought, authority, write, content, speaking, years, talk, people, episode, expert, counterintuitive, experiences, visibility, brand, give

Voiceover, Carol Cox, Alastair McDermott


Alastair McDermott  00:04

Today I’m going to be talking to a former guest. In fact, the most popular episode that I’ve released on the podcast, I’m going to have a great guest on to talk about thought leadership authority building and having a distinct brand voice. That’s going to be a really interesting conversation to get into. So that’s coming next


Voiceover  00:24

to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:36

And just before I get right into the conversation, I want to mention that I have been sending email to my my regular email list, I’m going to try for a week daily cadence. So I’m sending an email, a short authority tip to my email list once every weekday. And I’ve been doing that since kind of the end of November. So if you want to get on my email list, you can find that at the recognized So let’s get into today’s episode. I have a super guest. Carl, did you know that you have the most popular episode on The Recognized Authority?


Carol Cox  01:09

I did not know that. And I am so incredibly honored. I’m so glad that everyone enjoyed our conversation. And I know I told you this at the time, Alastair, that you are a great host and interviewer.


Alastair McDermott  01:19

Thank you. Well, I want to wait like I just looked it up before we talked or as we were talking. That was back in August 2022. It was episode 85 of this show. And we talked about creating a signature talk. And when I say it was the most popular show, I don’t have the numbers right in front of me. But I think it’s seven to eight times more popular than the next episode. So well done. Good. Good job you. Well,


Carol Cox  01:46

again, I am so glad to hear that. And you know what’s interesting about my podcast, so I’ve been podcasting for nearly seven years now. Episode Three, almost episode 370 and the speaking around podcast, and I look at my stats, and they’re all so consistent. from episode to episode. I don’t have any outliers like that. And I don’t really know what that says.


Alastair McDermott  02:09

Well, I think I think your episode is at around 28,000 downloads or so. Which is significantly more than than the next so, so people couldn’t work out how many downloads I have in the podcast?


Carol Cox  02:23

Well, that’s, that’s fantastic. I don’t think I have any episodes that have gotten that high, maybe signature talk is a good keyword. Maybe


Alastair McDermott  02:29

it is yeah. So okay, well, well, today, I’m sure we’re gonna wrap back into that. And so I know like, one of the things I want to talk to you about is building authority, which is the basis of this show, the show is called The Recognized Authority. And when I think about building authority, I also think about the topic of thought leadership. And I’m really interested in talking to people like you who are experts in this space, about how you think about thought leadership or building authority and how you like, is there a distinction between those?


Carol Cox  03:00

Yeah, so authority and thought leadership definitely go hand in hand, if you think about, I want to, I want to find someone who’s an authority in a particular topic, a lot of times those people also get to be thought leaders. Because again, you know, by the time you get to authority status, you’re very well versed in your field, you have a lot of experience, you’ve probably gotten to the point where you have a unique perspective and unique angle on your particular topic. Now, that being said, there are definitely some people out there who are authorities, there are experts in what they do, but they haven’t yet made the transition into being a thought leader. And we can talk about what that distinction is and what that transition looks like, if you’d like.


Alastair McDermott  03:41

Yeah, absolutely. Because, like, I think of an expert, and a lot of the people who I talk to and work with, I use the label invisible expert, because they’re really great at what they do. But they have no visibility and kind of like the wider marketplace. In fact, I like to think that they’re wearing the cloak of invisibility from the Harry Potter movies. So they’re really great at what they do, but nobody really knows about them. And there’s that horrible phrase, like best kept secret, you know, when you’re, when you’re running a business, you don’t want to be the best kept secret. You know, you want people to know about you you want you want to have visibility and recognition, which is in the name of the podcast. That’s where, where I was thinking about that. And so, thought leadership, for me is about leading thoughts. And like, that’s why I chose The Recognized Authority as opposed to thought leadership or some kind of thought leader, some sort of variation on that as a brand for this. Because I was thinking about the recognition part has been very important because I kind of come from that marketing background where the recognition is important. But I think the leadership part is really interesting. So can you tell me like, like, how do you think about those different things like from expert versus authority, like are those synonyms or is there something different there? I


Carol Cox  04:49

definitely see expert and authority again, they can go hand in hand, but they definitely can be different. So an expert to me is someone who knows a lot about their topic, the work that they do. Do their career or their business, the industry. And you definitely want to be an expert in the work that you’re doing for your clients because they expect you to, to have that expertise and to help them with whatever you’re helping them with. As you said, an authority is someone who is now recognized for their expertise. So when someone asks someone else, I need help with this, then hopefully, your name comes to mind, because you’ve done all that visibility work like Alastair helps you with on his podcast. But then like thought leadership is the next stage and thought leadership is different from me from an expert, because as an expert, you have the answers. And again, clients come to you because you have the answers to help them with whatever they need help with. As a thought leader, though, it’s not just about having the answers. It’s about asking bigger questions of your audience, getting them to think in a different way about that particular topic that you’re presenting on. They may have may may be familiar with that topic. But have they thought about it in a new way? Do you have a counterintuitive take on it, everyone says X, but you’ve actually seen that y is really the case and a lot of ways and y can get you unstuck from where you at or Y can help your industry or your community or human society as a whole advance and in a positive way. So that’s where thought leadership comes in. And it’s a little bit of a misnomer, because I know we think a lot of our thoughts as in, say academics or people who write books are thought leaders. But to me the best thought leaders present these bigger questions, but then also share with the audience, what’s a call to action? How can they apply what they’ve heard and actually take action related to it?


Alastair McDermott  06:37

Okay, there’s there’s multiple things I want to dig into, from what you’ve just said. I think one of the biggest ones is the counterintuitive part. It can sometimes be be difficult because I know people think about being polarizing, and needing to stand out and be be more distinct. Do we have to look for something that’s counterintuitive? Is that like, is that essentially in the process?


Carol Cox  06:59

So counterintuitive? It does not necessarily mean controversial? They could it could be controversial, but it doesn’t have to be. So let me give you an example. I had a client that I worked with last fall, she was on the podcast in December. And she is she runs a bookkeeping agency. So she has hundreds of clients that her bookkeepers work with. And she has been in business for 10 years. So we were working together on her talk, which she’s doing for lead generation to attract more clients. So as we wish she was explaining to me about her process, how they work with their clients and kind of her her take on it. That’s different than regular bookkeepers. She talked about how most business owners don’t actually spend enough money in their business. They’re especially women entrepreneurs are so afraid to spend money because they want to save, save, save, which is understandable. But they end up kind of they end up short shrift in their business from growth because they’re afraid to spend. So that’s a counterintuitive take, especially coming from a bookkeeper. It’s not controversial in the sense that it’s not political. But it definitely gets the audience to pay attention like, Wow, maybe I’m not spending enough my business or spending in the right way in my business.


Alastair McDermott  08:07

Yeah, I see what you mean. So okay, so that sounds I know, David C. Baker has a he has a concept. I think he had calls it drop and give me 20, which is come up with 20 ideas that people that that people don’t automatically know in your industry that they wouldn’t like that they would find interesting or new. And like if you get I think if you get the thing 20 is a bit extreme. But if you get to 20, you’re definitely like, I think that’s age, you could say You’re definitely a thought leader. Okay, so. So to get to this thought leadership position to be seen as a thought leader, what like, what do you think people who are experts have to do


Carol Cox  08:48

that. So they have to be willing to get out of what I call the expert trap, which is teaching and training to your audience. And again, as experts, we’d love to share everything that we know and everything that we do, because we’re excited about it. We want the audience to learn, we come from a very sincere and genuine place that we want to teach them and training, you know, the five best tips and tactics and techniques they can you use to get from A to Z. And yes, there’s you, you need a little bit of that of that because audiences want something tangible. But again, it’s about asking these bigger questions, giving them those insights that they haven’t thought of before. And the other essential part of thought leadership is your own personal journey and experiences that you’ve had. What are those hard one life lessons and I know Alastair, you’re a big proponent of this. What are those real insights that you learn through your business, your career, your life, that has caused you to see things in a certain way, either a paradigm shift, or change the mental model of the way that you see things? share those with the audience, because now you’re no longer a commodity speaker. So you’re sharing the same tips that everyone else can find. And at this point, ChatGPT, as I like to say, is the ultimate expert it knows everything and Dad, what are those human experiences and lessons that you can share with your audiences?


Alastair McDermott  10:06

Yeah, and and maybe we’ll get into that a little bit at the whole AI situation a little bit later. But let’s, let’s keep going. Because I think this is really interesting. And in fact, it is what you said earlier, it’s counterintuitive, that we should stop teaching and training. Can you just dig into this a bit more for me, because I’m like, I’m fascinated by this idea.


Carol Cox  10:29

Okay, so let me give you a couple of scenarios. So first, you know, everyone watching, listening has been to conferences, I’m sure before either in person conferences, and definitely online summits and things like that. So think about sitting in the audience that those conference sessions, information upon information upon information, it gets to be really overwhelming, you have all these notes, you have great intentions about going and applying everything that you’ve learned. And most of the time, it doesn’t happen, because a 30 minute or 45 minute conference session is not a learning environment, it is a way for the audience to understand, oh, maybe there’s something I can do with this, or this is a great idea. Let me go further on this later. And then they come work with you or they take your online course or they start listening to your podcast. That’s where more of the learning comes you as the speaker again, as the leader, the leader in the room, as a thought leader, you’re there to provoke curiosity, and then get them into the appropriate learning environment, when you’re just dumping a whole bunch of information at them, you’re actually doing them a disservice rather than provoking their curiosity and getting them to understand what else is possible for them.


Alastair McDermott  11:41

Okay, really interesting. So. So, this is hard for me really hard for me, because I naturally want to teach and like I have the engineer brain, or when I figure something out, I want to share like the how to front of that. And so how do we like, how do we deal with that? Because like, I naturally want to say, hey, here’s how you can do this. How do I fight that and turn that into something more productive in creating thought leadership. So


Carol Cox  12:15

again, you still want to give your audience some tangible things that they can do, but probably a lot less content in that section than you normally would. So let me give you another example. I spoke at meI con, which is a marketing AI conference last summer. And my presentation, this was a conference breakout session, my presentation was called how to maintain your brand voice using AI tools like ChatGPT. So we all love you know what ChatGPT can do for us, but it’s very generic, and the voice that it comes back with and this was back, I did this presentation back in July 2023. So that no more tools have come out since then. But in my talk, I knew that giving them just a whole bunch of training content, again, was going to be too much for them. So when said I said, I created a framework called the brand voice canvass. So these are the four elements to think about. When you’re using AI tools like ChatGPT, make sure to understand your mission, what your what your area of experience is your methodology, so your own frameworks and processes, and then your experiences, make sure it understands that and then you’re gonna get a better output. And really, I gave them examples. So I didn’t teach them how to use ChatGPT. I didn’t teach them like the I don’t know, like the history of brand voice, which would that would be kind of fun, because I’m a history person. But instead I said, like use this framework. That was my thought leadership, I created this framework. Now use this as your guide going forward. So that’s the way it was still very practical, tangible information. But again, it wasn’t a 45 minute session, all about like Letsa. I don’t know, like, here’s 15 things to think about, and all these different AI tools that you could use. Does that make sense? Is that helpful?


Alastair McDermott  13:51

Yeah, it is. I’m trying, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this concept of like, how do I think hot? Like, how would I use this if I want to, if I want to deploy this strategy? How do I think about the type of content like let’s say I’m doing a webinar, or a solo podcast, or a YouTube video or something like that? Can you can you tell me like, because I’m looking for? Are there any rules or guidelines around how I should think about the content to put in there? Okay,


Carol Cox  14:22

so give me a give me a topic, maybe a solo episode that you you have on your mind that you want to do?


Alastair McDermott  14:28

Right, let’s say, let’s say I’m going to do something about creating a content strategy. So somebody wants to create a content strategy for their expertise based business. And so I have several, you know, presentations and things around that talking about the different types of content and how to approach the strategy.


Carol Cox  14:48

Okay, so then I would my first question to you, Alastair to think about is Where do people go wrong when creating their content strategy, right. So present that like so what does the audience want? They want to create a great content strategy that positions them as a recognized authority. So they get visibility. Okay? So that’s what they want. What gets in the way? Right? And so I think about, okay, procrastination, self doubt, maybe they don’t know what to do, maybe they try things in the past or using the wrong channels, whatever it happens to be. And then where do people go wrong when developing their content strategy. So now you’re kind of setting up that for them, then give them some of those how tos, you know, like, pick your best channel based on this criteria, do this show, share some examples from how you do your content strategy, and then wrap up with, okay, when you do these things, you know, expect to see results in three months or six months, or whatever it happens to be. And so then, to the the content, the cheat sheet and training is still in there. But your position, you’re helping them see maybe where they are, where they get stuck, and what’s possible for them.


Alastair McDermott  15:53

Right. So what I think so, how I think I’m understanding that is, you’re putting more framing around the content than possibly I would, and I would have in the past where I think that maybe I dive in deep, a little bit too soon, into the kind of the how to have the content. I think that’s what that sounds like to me, please correct me if I’m wrong here. But yeah, so. So what what we’re talking about is framing and maybe even, like setting the scene for the importance of the content. Like, and I’m not talking about the content strategy, I’m just talking about the content in general, but like, whatever, we’re going to be delivering that education type content. So it’s putting more framing around it and putting it more in context. Right? Correct.


Carol Cox  16:43

So like, why should the audience care about this particular topic? How does it? What’s in it for them? How did it impact them? Where did they get stuck? But then also, you know, kind of thinking about, what what is it gonna do for them? Like, what’s that aspirational thing that they want for themselves? And that’s where like, as teachers and trainers, we do just jump right into the the main content that how tos. But we have to remember, like, people have so many choices now of what to listen to and what to watch, we do kind of have to sell them on why this matters to them before we get into the main part of it.


Alastair McDermott  17:17

Yeah, yeah. The why this matters, I think that there’s a tendency, particularly I mean, a lot of the experts who I talk to, many of them are former engineers, or have that kind of engineer mindset. And, like, I think that sometimes, like we jump to this as obvious and intuitive, and so we’re like, we don’t even need to explain why it’s important.


Alastair McDermott  17:44

So for example, like it’s already, but and, and it may be intuitive and obvious to people, but it’s also so now I’m getting more specific by this. It’s also a lot of work. And so maybe spelling out the advantages of you know, being able to charge premium fees, being able to get a lot more inbound inquiries work with better clients, spelling out some of those advantages and and talking about why it matters. That’s important. So yeah, I think I think I think I’m on page with you there. So okay, right. So now let’s bring in the distinct brand voice into this into this mix. Can you talk a little bit more about how you think about that?


Carol Cox  18:30

Yeah, so when your ChatGPT initially came out, way back at the end of 2022 now, so over a year ago, because I have a background in technology, I had started two software companies years ago, but I kind of left the tech scene about 10 years ago, but once a tech techie, always a techie. And so when ChatGPT came out, I was all over it, you know, sort of working on some AI apps for speaking your brand. And then you know, like everyone put in stuff like Brad Pitt blog posts for me write this sales email for me and we get stuff back and it’s like a little generic like you know everyone and then I was like, well this is you know, initial is like wow, this is gonna be great. And then I thought well, but we’re all going to sound the same right? All of us write our blog posts are going to sound the same. The emails all say take your business to the next level, like this is clearly not the solution. So okay, how can we better what how can we get better results to truly streamline will be wanting to save time, but also get more creative and use AI as a collaborative partner? So that’s where I thought okay, well, we need to make sure our brand voice is part of it a part of all the content that we’re creating because that’s that’s what we do. Anyways, when we’re sitting down writing content, our brand voice comes out, but when ChatGPT writes it, it doesn’t know what to do. It’s using its own brand voice. And so I said okay, what so why, you know, how can we make sure that brand voice is part of it and and why is brand voice so important? Because Alastair, you mentioned that you send out these tips every day every weekday to your email. The list. Well, people want to get those emails from you. Because of all the experience and lessons and things that you’ve learned over the years to help them, they could go to ChatGPT and Ash ChatGPT for a content strategy, or how to be an expert or how to get visibility, and ChatGPT is gonna give them stuff. But they want to hear from you, just like people want to hear from me, that’s the brand voice. And so that’s why having a distinct brand voice is so important as a thought leader, because it sets you apart from the experts, human experts, or AI experts.


Alastair McDermott  20:33

And just to add that, I know for sure that ChatGPT could never ever write like I do, because I’ve tried to get it to write like me. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve created my own custom GPT switch these little like custom bots, where you can add your own content in and then said, based on all of the stuff I’ve given, you know, right, like Alastair wood, and it’s still not able even with that, so yeah, the other thing, and maybe we’re going a bit off topic, but I think that the other thing about actually writing, you know, on a daily basis about the topic, and some some of these have been quite short, but some of them have been, you know, fairly substantial four or 500 words, you know, every day for a week, and you’ve got like a chapter of a book, maybe, you know, so but one of the things about writing is it develops the pathways in your thinking and your brain about your topic. And writing is a form of teaching, I guess, and it actually helps you to understand the topic better. So I think that, you know, apart from the, you know, the costs involved, there are actually benefits involved in in having to write on a regular basis as well. So I just, I would throw that in the mix. But I completely agree with you, you know, these tools like, like, what they output is pure crap, if you don’t, you know, put some guidelines around it. So, so talk to me a little bit more about the distinct brand voice then and, you know, kind of in the context what we’re just talking about. Yeah,


Carol Cox  22:03

okay, so, a couple examples. So the one thing that I did a year ago was I took all of my podcast transcripts and my solo episodes, video training transcripts, and email newsletters, and I created my own fine tuned ChatGPT Based on the open AI API. So I fed it like you know, several 100 documents. So I can ask a question, I called the chat s YB. And in would do a better job of writing more like how I sound and how I write because it had all that content from the podcast, and so on. So that it is possible to get a closer than just using regular ChatGPT Even because you need to kind of hundreds of documents to feed it at a time. And then it does all its neural network, you know, associations and all that. But then the second thing is I mentioned earlier about this brand voice Canvas framework that I had created. And so the four elements are mission, expertise, methodology and experiences, which stands for meme, you know, like those funny memes, like what’s your, what’s your meme. And so, I’ve been working on I’m working on a book right now about brand voice and AI. So I was using ChatGPT, a few months ago to help me kind of think of some different chapters for it. And it did you know, like it does a whole bunch of new chapter, eight chapters of the book based on the topic that I gave it. And the chapters were good, like, okay, these are interesting, but then I stop and look at it, I’m like, but my mission is not in there. Like the importance of women’s voices, right being represented in all the different industries and areas of light, like that’s not in this chapter outline, to certainly my experiences aren’t in there, my own frameworks and methodology are aren’t in there. So then I can’t feed back my brand voice canvas, like I said, Okay, now look at this now revise these suggested chapter outlines, and give me more of what I would talk about. So then it did that, I’ll absolutely go do the writing to your point, because writing helps to facilitate the thinking. But that’s an example of being able to use AI in a way that’s giving you closer of what you want.


Alastair McDermott  24:07

Yeah, so I have found the same, like the more you you can give it as input, the better your output is going to be in that way. And, you know, I have been able to get it to output stuff that is almost good enough to use. And, and I’m pretty happy with that. What I did find was that didn’t force me to go through the thinking process. And I kind of like having to think a little bit about how to what to write every day. And so I’m going to stick with the doing it myself for a while until I start to run out of ideas. But yeah, the the if you can, if you can give it good enough and enough enough quality and quantity of input. And then the guidelines that you give it in terms of what you asked for I have found it to be pretty decent. So like I would give it like a b minus, or a C plus in terms of what it gives. But it’s still a far cry from what I would actually write myself. And I think, in part, that’s because there’s lots of rules of grammar. And there’s lots of kind of foibles in the way that humans write that the the AI doesn’t want, it doesn’t want to make mistakes deliberately. It doesn’t want to break grammar rules, you know, all of that kind of stuff. And then, the other issue is it’s trained on a lot of American writing. Yes. So for those of us, outside of the US, the output isn’t, isn’t quite the same. Okay, so is there anything else around this topic of creating a distinct brand voice apart from that, like the AI specifically, is there anything else I need to think about? If I trying to set myself apart as a thought leader with with what I’m writing any other rules or guidelines for me?


Carol Cox  25:59

Well, we talked about the importance of storytelling, you know, sharing those experiences, stories, lessons that you have, because your audience is going to relate to that. And, and connect with you on that. The other thing I would say is that, the more you you clearly like to write and helps you develop your thoughts, we you know, for me, I’m a speaker, right? That’s why we do public speaking coaching, and I have a podcast for so I will outline my solo episodes for my podcast, obviously, I prepare my presentations and do outlines. But for me, so much of the connections that I make between ideas happens literally as I’m talking out loud. So on podcast, interviews like that, presenting in front of audiences. And so if that you, if you like to speak more than you like to write, then find ways to do to do interviews or to do presentations, because you’ll, you’ll find that you’ll start making connections literally on the spot, just by saying things out loud. That happened to me in a keynote that I was delivering about two years ago. This is the first one after the pandemic. And I was standing there delivering my pre planned, you know, content not memorized but pre planned. And all of a sudden, I said to the audience, oh, my gosh, I realized now why I started my company speaking your brand is because I needed this community of women back then this other experience happened that I was talking about. And I literally hadn’t put those two together, even though it seems so obvious. Now, in hindsight. So those are the kind of things that happen to you, the more that you’re talking with audiences or for like, like Alastair said, the more that you’re writing content, but writing not just for yourself, so journaling is fine for yourself and writing for an audience that you’re sending to.


Alastair McDermott  27:39

Yeah, I think, you know, I think that we all have these different modalities in how we learn and how we think, like, we’re obviously like, the opposite way around, I think that I would need to write something first to figure it out, and then speak it. So that’s interesting. I think that’s just a different modality in terms of learning. Okay, so we’re, let’s wrap this background. So we’re thinking about So from the point of view, or the context of somebody who is an invisible expert, is how I would view it. And they want to get more of that visibility, they want to set themselves as a thought leader, where where would you advise him to start?


Carol Cox  28:20

Well, I would, I would have that, let’s assume that it’s in some type of speaking realm, right. And obviously, they love to write, you know, finding outlets to write articles on or LinkedIn, things like that would be great. If you think about speaking, so podcast interviews, for sure, fine podcast, that would be a good fit for you to go on as a guest. Find those local groups and events, you know, because I think a lot of people kind of don’t really think so much about their local community. And let’s say they’re already involved in a chamber of commerce or some type of business group. But really, your local community is a great way to get known as a speaker be and then you may think, Well, I have this my sights set on this big conference that’s in another state. So why is good being known in my local community going to make a difference? Well, number one, you’re building your confidence by going out there and speaking a lot. Number two, you’re testing your material to see what resonates with your audiences. But number three, almost all of the speaking engagements I’ve gotten in my career over the past 20 years have been from events I’ve spoken at. So other speakers who know other event organizers, event organizers who’ve been sitting in the audience and have seen me speak and invited me to other speaking engagements. So that if that happens in your local community or in your metro area, and then you just start expanding out from there.


Alastair McDermott  29:38

Yeah, I so I’m lucky and unlucky in that I live in a very rural part of the world. And I live in the west coast of Ireland, and it’s very beautiful here, but we don’t have a lot of like big cities or anything nearby. But in my local town, I have thought about you know, joining the local Toastmasters and things like that just to get a bit more experience of like I do a lot of podcast Casting, obviously. And we’re recording this live. So hello to everybody who’s watching live. I know Jerry Pyron left a message saying he’s enjoyed what he’s learned so far. Thank you, Jerry. But I think that, you know, for me doing things like that is a great way to get out and network. I’m, I’m an introvert. So I don’t like putting myself into these situations all that much. But yeah, I would agree with that. And for me, like, part of it is reading and writing. And I really do find that Writing helps me learn, and then talking to people like you. Like, we’re like, this is the great thing about having a podcast and you’ve got, you know, more than double the number episodes that I have, you know, you know what I’m talking about? Like, these are almost like free coaching sessions that we get with all these experts. So absolutely, it’s great. It’s great to, to pick people’s brains on these topics. All right. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think that we should discuss about this concept of becoming a thought leader, about being seen as a thought leader, maybe the types of content that we’re creating or anything like that?


Carol Cox  31:02

Yeah, I think we’ve done a really great job of, you know, different examples and different ways of approaching it. We talked about your example with a an episode about content strategy. I will say one thing you mentioned that you’re an introvert, I’m also an introvert, which surprises a lot of people, I would say that there’s a lot of public speakers who are introverts, and actually becoming a speaker was a hack for me back early in my career, because I don’t like going to networking events, I’m kind of shy, I don’t like breaking the ice with people. So I figured if I’m a speaker, people would come to me up to me and say hi, or ask me about my topic or talk to me afterwards. So that was my way to kind of get around my introversion. So if you for those of you listening, watching, if you feel like an introvert is still means you can be a public speaker. And it still means you can be a great public speaker, because I feel like it’s as an introvert, I am a very observant about the audience and the environment. And so I feel like it’s a different way to connect with the audience. Extroverts have their own strengths in that, but but introverts do as well.


Alastair McDermott  32:01

Yeah, I agree with that. And what I find is, well, I was I think I was 15, or 16, when I bought a book on how to make small talk. So like, good understand, like, how do I have the conversation with these people who don’t really want to have a conversation? Like, so?


Alastair McDermott  32:26

Yeah, but like, I’d much rather the book and a glass of wine or something or whiskey than, you know, go to a party. But I know, I also need to put myself out there. But you know, like, one of the things about being becoming a thought leader becoming recognized as an authority is we do have to push ourselves out into the public eye a bit more, like we have to, we have to take that step deliberately. And so I’m doing this in a very controlled environment by having a podcast because I can, you know, hit and stream and go downstairs and you know, play with the cats. Be on my own again, which is, you know, it’s very controllable. Whereas if you’re speaking at a conference, you know, you do have to talk to people afterwards. But yeah, so that’s just my take as like, as a as a serial introvert. So, okay, so that’s, that’s, you know, thought leadership, building authority. Let’s just wrap back around to building authority. Do you think that building authority is the same thing as becoming known as a thought leader? Or is there a difference there?


Carol Cox  33:40

I think for a lot of for a lot of probably what you talk about Alastair and the people who listen and people you work with, I would think they are pretty much the same thing. They’re you’re building authority, you’re building thought leadership, you become recognized as the person that people enjoy hearing from that they want to learn from that they that they know are going to ask them those questions that are going to get them to think in a different way.


Alastair McDermott  34:03

Yeah. Okay. There’s a question that I always ask, and I’m going to check your answer with your last answer. At some point. I always ask, what’s the number one tip that you would give somebody who wants to build authority? Okay,


Carol Cox  34:15

yeah, I don’t remember what I answered last time. So it will be interesting to see how consistent I am. So I’m gonna look it up right now. My number one tip to build authority is Oh, yeah, that’s a great question. You know, I would say, I don’t think I answered this last time host your own podcasts like we’ve been just talking about the benefits of being a podcast host. You know, as introverts, we get to stay behind the screen but really, we get to have interesting conversations with people all around the world. We get to showcase I showcase a lot of the clients that we work with which I love giving them that visibility I you know, like you Alastair I do solo episodes that helps me to think through new ideas. So I think building authority if you are a host of a PA Broadcast and don’t worry about, you don’t have to be, you know, a huge podcaster with, you know, millions of downloads to have an impact because neither of us have that type of reach. But we certainly have had an impact on everyone who has listened. And I know this has had an impact on me and my business, but me and my personal development as well.


Alastair McDermott  35:20

Yeah, that’s a that’s a great one. What I like about a podcast and like what we’re doing now is a live stream. But it’s also a podcast, you can kind of like you roll it the way you want to it’s, it’s your podcast, you can make the rules up yourself. What I really love about a podcast is you can invite people who you want to talk to you on there. And I’ve had some super high profile people on my podcast, and I never would have got to talk to them if I didn’t have a podcast. And and then the other thing, and I’m working with some of my clients on this, is I’m helping them to position a new podcast, so that they can invite their ideal clients on and have conversations with them. Now, not in such a way as to do a hard sales pitch or anything, but just to build a relationship. And what better way like I think I really believe there is no better LinkedIn connection message than I’d love to have you on my podcast. Nobody says no to that, you know. And it’s a great way to connect with people. By the way, the last time you asked this question, you said the number one tip to build authority back then, and this was a year and a half ago would be speak in front of people public speaking in front of people on stage or doing a workshop, because you get built in authority and credibility. So podcasting is effectively the same thing. It’s the stage, it’s a virtual stage, rather than the physical stage. And then and things like that. And I think it works, maybe, maybe this is me, but I think maybe in this more remote in this more remote friendly world, that works really well, just because, you know, we’re doing a lot more remote calls now than we used to. So I find that interesting as well. Carl, this has been really interesting. Last time, I asked you, was there a business failure or mistake that you could tell us about? Is there anything that you that you can tell us about? That you learned from? Oh,


Carol Cox  37:15

okay, I answered this one last time, I’m trying to think of what, what the answer was? What Okay, so what was it was a business mistake or failure? I mean, I probably have little ones all the time. Let’s see.


Carol Cox  37:34

Okay, so here’s one that comes to mind is I don’t know how much of a business mistake or failure is. But I mentioned that I spoke at that conference last July, that marketing AI conference. And again, as a public speaking coach, and I’ve been doing this for years and years and years, I always bring these paper feedback forms with me to hand out to the audience, for them to fill out. So it’s feedback for me. So I get, you know, what did they enjoy about the presentation? What can I improve, but it also has little lead generation text boxes, check boxes at the bottom, like, I’m interested in coaching, or I’m interested in your email and your OPT in your workbook, or whatever it happens to be? Well, I decided not to print those out, and not to bring them to that conference, because I was like, wow, you know, it’s a big conference, and I’m gonna step on anyone’s toes, like the event organizers. I don’t know how they’re gonna feel about me having feedback forms and all that. Well, as soon as I got there, I was like, Darn it, I should have I should have just done it. I over wrote my the thing that I always do. And I regret that I didn’t do it just because the feedback would have been helpful to me, because it’s so it’s so hard to get feedback from the conference afterwards as a speaker. But then the other thing is that I’m sure there are people who I would love to have connected more with that just didn’t get the opportunity to because I didn’t get those feedback forms back. So that’s, that’s something that I regret having done or not or having not done.


Alastair McDermott  38:54

Yeah, I think that’s overruling your natural instinct. And I think in these situations, that’s something where you could have printed them anyway, and brought them with you and then just checked in with the organizer. But yeah, hindsight is wonderful.


Carol Cox  39:10

But it happens to the best of us, right? Yeah. Yeah.


Alastair McDermott  39:13

Yeah, absolutely. Now, one other question that I always ask is about business books. And you told me beforehand that you do have a new business book that you want to talk about? So is there so the question I normally ask is, is there a business book, or other resource that’s been important for you? So what do you got for me? Yeah,


Carol Cox  39:32

so I read a lot of books, a lot of nonfiction as well as fiction. And so there’s one that I read just a few months ago, and it’s by a woman who was very, has been in the artificial intelligence space for for decades, you know, 20 plus years with Stanford University, so very high up very prominent. She’s one of the pioneers in AI vision. So you know how ChatGPT Now can look at something that you upload like an image or something that you’ve written while she and her team are are responsible for that capability. She wrote a book that came out in November, which is kind of part in the more like shape as a memoir but also a lot about AI and this AI vision work that she did is called the world’s I see curiosity exploration and discovery at the dawn of AI in her name is Fifi Lee. So f e i dash F II I that her net last name is Li Li, called the world I see really well written.


Alastair McDermott  40:30

Very cool. I will share the link to that. And yeah, Dr. Fifi, Lee Well, interesting. Okay, so that is something that I haven’t had any kind of AI book recommendation before on the podcast, so that’s cool. All right, and what about figure what’s your kind of your your way of of chilling out?


Carol Cox  40:55

Yeah, so of course, I’m always trying to find some TV show to watch online. And so right now, I’m watching Outlander, on Netflix is actually from about 10 years ago, there seven seasons of it. It just popped up on my Netflix queue a few weeks ago. So it’s kind of it’s based in Scotland, so kind of in your side of the world, Alastair? And it’s kind of like a time travel type of thing. And so it has a strong female protagonist and I love historical kind of historical fiction. So it’s a it’s a really good show.


Alastair McDermott  41:27

Yeah, and by the way, so I am from Ireland, and I live in Ireland, but I do have a Scottish first name. Alastair is more traditionally a Scottish name. So yeah. Very cool. Interesting one. Okay. Well, Karl, speaking your brand is your brand. Where can people find that?


Carol Cox  41:47

Yeah, so check out my podcast called speaking your brand. Lots of episodes on thought leadership, obviously, public speaking, I did do an episode last year number 340. All around brand voice and if you go to speaking your 340 so the numbers 340. You can see that brand voice Canvas framework that I talked about earlier, so you can actually see what it looks like. So definitely check out the podcast and the speaking your is the website.


Alastair McDermott  42:13

Awesome. Carl Cox, thank you for coming on for a second time to The Recognized Authority.


Carol Cox  42:19

My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

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