Shifting Paradigms: 3 Business ‘Truths’ That Are Fundamentally Untru

Reframe your entrepreneurial dream with a few shifts in perspective and a clear methodology to achieve a more joyful life. Michèle Hecken is an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. An ex-CEO, she is the founder of The Art of Offboarding, a proprietary leadership and operational methodology which she implements in Fortune 500 companies. She is also a public speaker who delivers keynotes and workshops for organizations across the world. We asked Michèle how she transformed her business to do what she loves on her own terms. Here’s what she shared: “Delegate!” “Go from good to great. Build a big business. Size matters.” “Don’t work too hard. Work-life balance matters.” Sound familiar to you? I know I’ve heard and grappled with these universal “truths” over the years, after starting a global translation company in my twenties and trying to grow it while raising two young children.  Eventually, I realized something that would change the course of my entire life: There was a way to build a successful business based almost entirely on what you love doing rather than what you think you should love doing.  I carved out a system to grow the business that served my family, my team, our customers, and myself. In 2019, it culminated in a high-seven-figure exit.  Here are the three paradigm shifts that form its foundation:  1. From “Delegating” to “Offboarding” According to some, you should delegate to successfully grow a business. I’m here to tell you that this is not the solution but the problem. Why? What happens when you delegate is a placebo effect. You feel good in the moment because you shuffled something off your desk. But then you do it again. And again.  What happens next? You get lost in the follow-up. The time you saved on executing the tasks is replaced with endless coordination of employee work. Delegating simply shifts the kind of work you do. You still own the task. Eventually, you become more stressed, as delegation encourages micromanagement.  Offboarding is a game changer because it transfers task ownership–your employees own the entire outcome. Speaking from experience, this is an excellent way to train employees, increase their value to the business (and ensure they feel valued), and relax your grip. This also frees up your schedule, allowing you to pursue other goals. 2. From “Work-Life Balance” to “Life” I’ve never met an entrepreneur who works optimally within a standard nine-to-five schedule. Some days we are in a deep state of flow and work 14 hours. On other days, we might struggle to get out of bed. At the same time, we build our businesses to give us the flexibility to be present for our non-work engagements whenever we want–trying to please everyone around us.  When you try and make everybody happy, all while keeping everything “balanced,” it becomes an impossible challenge.  The solution, something that I do when advising other entrepreneurs, is to reverse-engineer it all. Ask yourself: The goal isn’t to ensure burnout never happens again. Instead, it’s to optimize your life and business so that they align with your true self, your wants, and your needs. 3. From “Good to Great” to “Good to Happy” Everyone wants to be happy in life–most of us prioritize happiness as a goal.  The happiest lives are those that are continually enriched with new knowledge, connections, and experiences. That means having the willingness to get out there, try new things, and make time for enjoyment every day. You can’t get to this point by feeling forced to fit in fun or relaxation time, nor by stagnating and stifling your growth. One practice I’ve implemented, that has worked wonders, is treating every day like a “mini life” and living it on my terms. Am I allocating my time and energy where I want it to go? Am I enjoying my day to the fullest and achieving the goals I’ve set? Most of all, have I done things that brought me joy today? If you can respond with a resounding “yes” to these questions every day, you can theoretically achieve an entire lifetime of happiness. Sounds much more realistic this way, doesn’t it? Reframing paradigms and shifting away from what you’ve been told should make you successful is not easy. The opportunity to co-author a recently published book, Lead Like a Woman: Audacity has allowed me to reflect on just how profoundly I’ve subverted traditional expectations both in my business and in my life. I believe the entrepreneurial dream needs to be reframed to include a joyful life in which you never have to give up happiness for the sake of your business. I know that with a few shifts in perspective, a clear methodology, and a remarkable support system, every entrepreneur can achieve that reality.

4 Nonnegotiables for Starting a Successful Podcast

Andrea Heuston, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member of the US West Bridge chapter, is a speaker coach to leaders at Fortune 100 companies, a best-selling author, and CEO of Artitudes, a full-service design firm specializing in executive presentations, branding, and visual marketing. We asked Andrea, host of Lead Like a Woman podcast, about her strategy for launching a successful podcast. Here’s what she shared. My podcast recently celebrated its 100-episode milestone. In just over two years, my Lead Like a Woman podcast scaled to become a major revenue source and ultimately transformed my business. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with countless top women leaders, generate new business leads, and inspire an audience I could never have dreamed of–all because an article of mine went viral. I hadn’t expected to amass 8.1 million impressions when I sat down to write about female leadership. I was simply trying to offer the woman leader’s perspective. But when my LinkedIn article became one of the top 10 most-read news items on the internet that year, one thing was clear: People wanted to hear from empowered female leaders who were changing the world. I had the power to scale those voices, and I knew a podcast could provide the perfect stage. Yet, I still had my doubts: Now, 100 episodes later, impostor syndrome has yet to recede. Despite that, I’ve still managed to build a stage for women across the globe. Beyond its success and business growth, the most rewarding aspect of all is that the podcast has become an integral part of the way I live out my mission. Here are four key steps I’ve learned about launching a successful podcast with the power to move audiences: 1. Identify Your Purpose “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton said it, and I’ve learned that a proverbial “stake in the ground” is key to launching a compelling podcast. Before launching, identify your big purpose–the mission you stand for. A bigger purpose will help sustain your podcast even when it begins to occupy precious calendar slots. When energy and motivation wane, your original purpose (the reason why you did this thing in the first place) will always get you back on track. Lead generation cannot be your only motivator. To transcend the noise of the crowded podcast marketplace and inspire people in a real way, audiences need to know what you stand for. The strength of your stage depends on it. 2. Find Your Angle and Style Every successful podcast employs its own unique style, tone, and angle–all of which help it stand out in a sea of comparable shows. Finding your perfect “style” doesn’t happen overnight; often, it develops over time. Yet the best thing I ever did was what most hesitate to admit: I listened to other amazing podcasts, noted the things they do really well, replicated them–and made them better. Be clear on how you want to sound, how you want your audience and guests to feel, and what unique value proposition you bring to the table. If you can nail down those elements in advance, you’ll be the hardest act to follow. 3. Create a Formal Structure The more streamlined and replicable the structure of your podcast is, the easier it becomes to execute and the quicker it will scale. Mine is predictable: Guests know what questions to expect, and audiences appreciate the consistency. It also goes beyond the episode itself. I’ve learned to be structured with the research I do before recording any interview. Usually, I’ll spend one to three hours on research per guest, but I might dedicate more time if, for example, I want to read a book they’ve written. From a great workflow with your editing partner (the team I use, Rise 25, are phenomenal at providing done-for-you podcasting services) to how new episodes are shared on social media, I recommend you process-out everything. My structure helps remove the burden of making a thousand small decisions so I can actually enjoy the podcasting experience. 4. Be Authentic While a formal structure is important, nothing matters more than authenticity. Asking your guest questions on the fly often leads to the most revealing answers–and audiences appreciate candid moments over robotic discipline. Flubbing lines, technical fails, forgetting a thought mid-sentence–I’ve made all the mistakes. I spent my earliest episodes fretting over re-recording mistakes to appear “perfect.” Today, I’ve learned that it’s in those slip-up moments that we’re often more relatable to our audiences and guests. I encourage you to choose authenticity over perfection every single time. From new business opportunities and clients, boosted entrepreneurial credibility, and meaningful connections, my podcasting journey has been incredibly rewarding. Above all, launching a podcast allowed me to shine a spotlight on the world’s most inspiring individuals so they’d never be left waiting in the wings while the curtain closed on them. Today, my mission still rages on: To build a stage for inspiring women everywhere.

Three Techniques You Can Implement Immediately To Help You Enjoy Public Speaking

Andrea Heuston is a Podcast Host, Speaker Coach, a best-selling published Author, and CEO of Artitudes, a creative communications firm. If the thought of standing up in front of a crowd makes your palms sweat, your heartbeat thunder and your chest tighten, you’re not alone. Studies have found that around 77% of the world’s population fears public speaking—it’s so common that it has its own name, “glossophobia.” For the longest time, I was among that majority. Today, as a professional speaker and coach, it’s safe to say I know my way around a keynote. However, even after 20 years of coaching founders, leaders and executives, I am still finding new caveats to the craft. But the most important thing I have found is joy in public speaking—and this is something I know we can all experience. I’ve learned to get over my fear of failure and stop worrying about being judged (after all, it’s none of our business what others think of us). Once I put something out into the universe, people can do whatever they want with it. It’s totally out of my control. That outlook has given me the courage to tackle my fear, continue speaking professionally, build a speaker coaching practice and help others own their stage. Here are three tips that can help you go from quivering to confident, and finally enjoy public speaking: 1. Open with a story. An opening story is the best way to introduce yourself to your audience. It invites them in, helps them connect and ensures that they’ll stay engaged out of curiosity. One of my talks features an opening story of a time I completely flopped while giving a keynote. The audience might wonder: “Why in the world would she tell us about her experience dropping her cue cards all over the ground? It’s embarrassing.” It’s true: It’s an embarrassing story (when it happened, I was mortified). Yet sharing that story at the very beginning of a talk humanizes me: The audience is able to relate this embarrassing experience to their own emotions in a similar scenario. One essential fact: It has to be a personal story. If you don’t have one that applies, use somebody else’s—a friend’s, a family member’s or even an acquaintance’s story. As long as you connect it to your own experience in a seamless way that makes the audience feel something about your reality, you’ve kicked off your talk in a way that builds trust, connection and relatability from the outset. From there, you have their attention and their emotion. 2. Memorize transitions, not scripts. The audience doesn’t know you screwed up unless you tell them. Please don’t tell them. The danger in memorizing your entire talk word for word is that you’re bound to mess up. When you finally get up on stage, the nerves, the lighting and the curious eyes can get to you. This is why I recommend memorizing your transitions, not your entire talk. At first, relying solely on memorizing transitions might feel a little like rock climbing with half your equipment. But resist the tendency for control; instead, memorize three small bullet points per slide. Memorizing these transitions can help you: 3. Use slides for the audience, not for you. Slide decks are for the audience—not for the speaker. Reading them on stage can be highly distracting, especially if you have to turn your back on the audience to do so. That’s a major trap that should be avoided at all costs. As soon as you divert your attention toward your own slides, you are severing the audience connection you worked so hard to create. It’s normal to want to rely on slides. But slides are for the audience: They add visual dimension to the words you’re speaking, creating a more comprehensive and interesting audience experience. Keep the text on your slides limited so your audience doesn’t get caught up reading them. Not sure how to best design your slides? First use the “Boardroom or Ballroom” technique: Finally: Enjoy the moment. The joy in public speaking is the freedom to mess up. It’s the liberty to look up from your notes, into the audience, and make a real connection with them. To enjoy the moment instead of being caught up in your fears. If you follow these steps, I can assure you that you will find joy in public speaking.

5 Reasons Why Women Make Outstanding Leaders

Female leaders bring skills, different perspectives, and innovative ideas to the table, which fosters future-focused, more resilient companies. Andrea Heuston, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member of the US West Bridge chapter, is a podcast host, speaker coach to leaders of Fortune 100 companies, a best-selling author, and CEO of Artitudes, a full-service creative firm specializing in storytelling, speaker coaching, executive presentations, branding and visual marketing. We asked Andrea why women make outstanding leaders: At age 27, I had a business meeting that changed my career. Three years after leaping into entrepreneurship, I was hired as a consultant for a large tech company in Seattle. In theory, I should have felt like a “star” arriving to make an impact for a major brand. Yet in reality, as I walked down a long hallway to the conference room, all I felt was fear. Why? I knew an executive team of seasoned business leaders waiting for me, all substantially older than me–and all men. And although they had hired me, I wondered over and over, on a loop, like a bad song you can’t get out of your head: Why would they listen to me? Who am I, anyway? As I approached the door, I took a deep breath and straightened my suit (yes, those were the days of wearing suits). I walked in and at that very moment, despite being the only woman in that room, I discovered who I was: A leader. Today, it’s no secret that gender equality in the workplace leads to better outcomes. While the gap between men and women in leadership roles is decreasing, a huge disparity still remains. Research points to numerous reasons to include women on corporate boards (and it’s hard to argue with science). A 2015 McKinsey report found that gender diversity on executive teams directly correlated with stronger financial performance, and companies with more than one woman on their board outperform those with none. But, why? So many reasons, but I’m going to focus on five of them today. 1. ​​Empathy In the business world, empathy is historically regarded as a soft skill most often assigned to women. Despite its stigma, female leaders have time and again wielded it to their advantage and proven its benefits.        According to a University of Cambridge study, women generally outscore men on “cognitive empathy.” In simpler terms, women are better at putting themselves in others’ shoes. In the workplace, female leaders tend to leverage cognitive empathy to influence others and build trust, which creates productive teams and psychologically safe cultures. Empathy increases the effectiveness of leadership and the quality of relationships with employees, which, in turn, benefits an organization as a whole. 2. Strong communication Apart from clarifying strategic paths forward, a leader must be a master of understanding needs–those of customers, stakeholders, and teams. Excellent leaders know how to strike a balance between handing out the necessary performance requirements while giving a team enough freedom to generate creative solutions. A leader builds a map but leaves enough room for a team to explore the route. Women leaders are particularly capable of finding that balance. The best women leaders know that listening is a key part of communication: Rarely the loudest in a room, women are compelled to find new ways of being heard. With communication as a key tool, women leaders have a unique ability to spark clarity rather than confusion. 3. Bolstering cooperation A vital part of leadership is the ability to help diverse people work together to achieve a goal.  Female leaders promote cooperation, partly because of their historic societal roles and partly because of natural instincts to contribute to their community. They recognize that those around them want to be intellectually stimulated, energized by their environment, and recognized for their performance. As women leaders build relationships with colleagues and employees, they are able to understand how to help them develop as a team. By understanding what unique strengths individual employees bring, female leaders foster cooperation and collaboration under a common vision in a unique way. When women collaborate to achieve a shared goal, the sky is truly the limit. 4. Problem-solving Every leader faces problems each and every day. When it comes to problem-solving, female leaders rank higher than male leaders, according to Harvard Business Review. Perhaps that’s because men and women evaluate problems differently. Scientifically, when men solve problems, they tend to use one hemisphere of their brain. When women solve problems, they interconnect between hemispheres, engaging different parts of their brains. The result: a multi-faceted approach that allows women to tackle problems with a wide range of tools. Unexpected and progressive solutions are likely to emerge. 5. Innovation Female leaders create a top-down effect that infuses innovation throughout an organization. One recent study looked at 341 Norwegian firms and found that female leadership was significantly related to organizational innovation. Evidence suggested that organizations with women leaders are more innovative thanks to the impact they have on culture. Women do things differently, try new strategies, and break up ruts–all of which are necessary in both good times and trying times. Female leaders bring skills, different perspectives, and innovative ideas to the table, but these three things combined help create future-focused, more resilient companies. Sociologically and biologically, women have an advantage–and these five reasons are fundamental behaviors that drive the success of every leader, regardless of gender. When it comes to the role of women leaders operating in collaboration, the words of Ginni Rometty, the first female CEO of IBM, come to mind: “Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.” The thriving workplaces of tomorrow will see both female and male leaders learning from each other’s skill sets. But in order for that to happen, we must continue to strive for a world where more women take the helm. Not entirely unlike the 27-year-old version of me stepping into an all-male conference room, women must first discover who they are at their core: leaders. How These Companies Made the Inc. 5000 List Again and Again They fine-tuned their approach to fast… Continue reading 5 Reasons Why Women Make Outstanding Leaders

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Writing A Bestselling Book in 5 Steps

If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are the idea of writing a book has made its way into your orbit. Having built a successful business, you’ve likely overcome barriers, experienced singularities and had epiphanies that might benefit others. It’s natural to recognize a story within you. I know I certainly did. Writing a bestseller has great appeal but it’s no walk in the park. It can help build your authority as an expert, acting as a highly credible stage for you to project your own voice. However, what’s often overlooked is the fact that very few entrepreneurs ever make it to publishing (and some who do, don’t achieve the impact they intended). Most people feel they have a book in them. In fact, 81% of Americans believe they can write one but very few actually end up doing so. The fraction of those who go on to have a bestseller is even smaller. If you’re reading this, you’re likely a part of the majority of Americans who share in the dream. Like you, I was guilty of that vision and for the longest time, I let my imposter syndrome inhibit me from getting started. Although I was already a successful Speaker Coach, entrepreneur, CEO, and mother, the idea of putting myself out there as an Author terrified me. I kept thinking:  What if people think I’m full of myself? What if I actually have nothing to offer? What if people don’t even read the book? In hindsight, the “what ifs” never go away. However, I’ve learned that doubts can never stop determination, so long as you remain passionate. Finding joy throughout this entire process is what truly separates a disaster from a bestseller. I should know – I wrote two! Before embarking on the journey, follow these five steps: 1. Identify a purpose I can say with utmost confidence that if you’re not writing a book primarily for yourself, then the project won’t be anywhere as impactful. Lead generation, new client acquisition and monetization will come (they did for me) – but I don’t believe they should be your main motivator. The easiest way to determine whether you have a strong purpose is to answer these three questions:  If you can identify them easily, then you’ve found your book. At every stage of the writing process, return to that purpose to make sure that the narrative remains intact. Otherwise, the book will fail to convey your message and the project won’t have nearly enough impact. Without a clear purpose, the book-writing process will be taxing rather than fun and the outcome won’t near the bestseller outcome you envisioned. 2. Pinpoint stories and journey Once the purpose of your book is determined, finding stories to take readers on a journey is the fun part. By pulling your memories, lived experiences, learnings and ideas into a structured outline, you can create a cohesive narrative throughout. With my first book, Stronger on the Other Side, I kept returning to the same memories that made me who I am today. I called them my four “befores and afters” (moments of rebirth which were also the hardest moments of my life): a 17-day coma I found myself in; a fire burning my house to the ground; and others. These moments taught me how to find hope when all is lost and what I learned could benefit others too. Although these stories were tailored to my own life, their underlying themes were relatable. By providing specific detail, they become tangible, impactful, and provide a perspective to readers – whether it’s a fresh outlook, a reflection on their own hardships, or simply comfort knowing that someone else had successfully made it onto the other side of a major challenge. 3. Lean on collaborators No, you don’t need to write the entire thing yourself. Right from the get-go, there was no doubt in my mind that I would get a ghostwriter. After interviewing three, I really connected with one and I was so grateful that she took my project on. It’s important to find someone you genuinely like: you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. You have to be comfortable enough with them to open up freely and to trust that they’re going to do your story justice. The process was really enjoyable for me. I charted out the outline of my book and she would come up with different interview topics to go through each week. Slowly, chapter by chapter, the book came to life. However, ghostwriting isn’t the only option; there are many other ways to collaborate. My second book, Lead Like a Woman: Tales From the Trenches, was multi-authored, which was a different but extremely fun experience (so much so that my third book, coming out shortly, will follow a similar structure). It is less labor intensive in the traditional sense: although you’re not writing from cover to cover (the contributions of others will ease that burden), you’ll have to put in a lot of legwork: finding people to contribute and corralling those busy people into submitting by certain deadlines (which can feel not entirely unlike “herding tigers”). 4. Work with an editor to clean it up and finalize When it comes to the editing process, there are a few things to keep in mind: My best piece of advice for the editing experience: let go of the little things. Expert editors will take control – and their process is crucial. If you don’t have a professional editor to work with, find a skilled writer who already knows your voice so the outcome remains impactful. 5. Consider self-publishing Most people assume that a self-published book can’t achieve bestseller status. I’ve done it – it can! When it comes to publishing, your personal preferences should be the deciding factor. Having done both avenues, self-publishing my first book was a great decision. It helps accelerate the process: while publishing houses can take up to 1 year (sometimes longer) to get a book published, my first book was live in… Continue reading An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Writing A Bestselling Book in 5 Steps

Never Apologize for Being a Strong Woman

Two weeks ago, I posted an article to LinkedIn by Steve Wiens. It is titled, “An Ode to Women Who Are Too Much.” I have often been categorized as “too much.” The response to the article has been amazing, so thank you to Steve Wiens for recognizing that strong women are necessary to this world. Strong women are often called assertive. They are straightforward about their wants and needs. They often rub people the wrong way. However, women who are strong are complex. They may have a background that has created the need to be gritty, tenacious, and passionate in a way that other people take offense to. Many of us have been interpreted as demanding or even bossy. But the truth is that strong women can also be very sensitive and thoughtful. Here are eight things that I believe a strong woman brings to all of her encounters: A strong woman can walk into the room and hold her own with class, grace, and style. It’s never about being rude or demanding. Rather, it’s more about maintaining a personal commitment to guide herself through difficult situations. I’m proud to be “too much.” I’m proud to be strong. I hope you are too,

Female Founders: Andrea Heuston of Artitudes Design On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

A Kickass Outfit — You need an outfit that makes you feel like you can own the world when you wear it. It adds to your confidence level. It’s the outfit that makes you feel like a superhero; this is your uniform, this is your costume, and you are who you need to be to rule the world in that outfit. I have a pair of pants that I call my Super Woman pants. If I really need some good mojo, if I’m going to be speaking in front of a crowd or giving a big presentation, it’s what I wear. I also have a floral pantsuit that is one of my superhero costumes. It’s hard to have a bad day when I’m wearing it. Asa part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Heuston. Andrea is the founder and CEO of Artitudes Design, an experiential design firm that works with Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft, Starbucks and Expedia to name a few) as well as startups and non-profits. She is also is the creator and host of the podcast, Lead Like a Woman, where she interviews female leaders and entrepreneurs who share their tips on life, leadership and entrepreneurship. She is passionate about empowering women and helping to close the gender gap for women in business. Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path? At24 I was putting myself through college and running the creative services department at an energy systems engineering firm in Seattle when the company was purchased by a French firm. They had me lay off the entire team of seven designers and then laid me off. However, two days later they called me back and said we made a mistake — we need to do some rebranding and we need you to come back. I decided I didn’t want to put my fate in somebody else’s hands anymore, so I jumped in my car, drove 60 minutes to Olympia, the state capitol, got a business license, and the energy systems firm became my first client. I also grew up with a father who had traditional values around gender roles, favoring female domesticity over entrepreneurship and leadership. He didn’t believe that women should be in business. The realization that I could run a company and I could do it well was also the attraction, motivation, and inspiration for founding Artitudes Design. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? In 2008, I started the year off in the emergency room. In March I had surgery. In April I had more surgery. On May 30th, I became very ill. Three days, one misdiagnosis, three emergency rooms, two ambulance rides, and one very concerned husband later, I was in surgery yet again. I didn’t wake up from that surgery for nearly 3 weeks. I had aspirated on the operating table, contracted pneumonia, which then turned into Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS. ARDS is similar to SARS. It turns the lungs to stone. The doctors put me into a medically induced coma until my lungs could recover. At the time, ARDS had an over 70% fatality rate. I don’t remember anything from that time. Except for some very vivid, medication-induced dreams! My husband and family remember it all. I woke up and met Dr. Stuart — the head of the hospital. (You know you’re really sick when the head of the hospital takes you on personally!) Dr. Stuart said to me, “I’m so happy to meet you because I didn’t really think I’d ever get a chance to.” I had no idea how ill I’d been until that moment. It was a long road back to health, and I missed over 8 months of work in 2008. During that time, something amazing happened. The enthusiasm and passion I had breathed into Artitudes Design kept the company alive — without me! My incredible team of talented, creative and yes, enthusiastic heroes pulled together and saved the day. Prior to this experience I was a micromanager, a control freak. I used to touch at least 80% of all projects that came through our doors, but because of my illness, I was forced to step back and see where I could truly add the most value to the company, and where I could let others shine with their skills and enthusiasm. It’s changed the way I lead, and I believe that both Artitudes and I are better for that decision. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? That’s a hard one. My mistakes are always huge, but not amusing! For example, my first employee and my best friend embezzled money from me. Another employee interviewed so well that I didn’t check her references before hiring her and she ended up throwing a chair at a contractor working for us at the time and I almost got sued. They’re funny in hindsight but were no laughing matter at the time. However, I learn so much from my mistakes. They’ve taught me resilience and made me a better person and leader. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that? My Grandma Gerry was a powerful woman for her time in the 40s and 50s. She raised two boys on her own after her husband left her. She needed to work so marched down to Boeing and got a job operating a huge computer back in the day when computers were the size of… Continue reading Female Founders: Andrea Heuston of Artitudes Design On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

Andrea Heuston Of Artitudes On 5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker

Audience research. The first thing you need to learn is that your speech is not about you, it’s about your audience. Before you even start writing your speech you need to do your research, understand your audience: what are they there for; what makes them do things; what are their trigger points; what are their concerns and needs. We do a lot of research and only then then do we start figuring out the right messaging and content, delivery mechanisms and activities. Atsome point in our lives, many of us will have to give a talk to a large group of people. What does it take to be a highly effective public speaker? How can you improve your public speaking skills? How can you overcome a fear of speaking in public? What does it take to give a very interesting and engaging public talk? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker” we are talking to successful and effective public speakers to share insights and stories from their experience. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Heuston. Andrea Heuston is the founder and CEO of Artitudes Design, a full-service creative services firm that specializes in providing high level speaking and design support to top executives and their companies. Artitudes works with Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft, Starbucks, and Expedia to name a few) as well as startups and non-profits. Andrea has 20 years of experience coaching speakers for pitching their companies and ideas to audiences of all kinds and sizes. She is skilled at teaching her clients how to create audience connections through communications, visual and spoken. So much so that clients have called her the script whisperer! When not helping clients, Andrea is a is sought-after speaker in her own right, speaking on women in leadership and on living our best lives in gratitude. She’s a TEDx Seattle speaker coach and a certified speaker with Entrepreneur Organization’s Global Speakers Academy. I grew up in a. middle class family in a suburb of Seattle. One of the defining moments of my upbringing was going abroad and living in Denmark my junior year of high school. It was eye opening, as I found a whole new world and a new way of doing things. Not necessarily right or wrong, just different, and viewpoints and values other than those of my parents. I found my own voice and I was able to realize who I was, independent of my parents and their beliefs. My father had traditional values around gender roles, favoring female domesticity over entrepreneurship and leadership. He didn’t necessarily believe that women should be in business. The realization that I could run a company and I could do it well was also the attraction, motivation, and inspiration for founding Artitudes. Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path? My company, Artitudes, began as a ‘traditional’ graphic design firm — creating logos and branded content (newsletters, brochures, postcards, etc.) for clients. As technology changed, so did we, moving into the online world. Today we are a solutions provider in the experiential design space — we specialize in designing and executing corporate events — from visual concepts, video, motion graphics, and animation to presentation design for events from 5 to 50,000 attendees. However, I quickly found out that killer creative is just the tip of the spear. All the beautiful visuals in the world won’t make up for a poor presenter. So, I began offering speaker coaching and content writing to our clients and found that I really loved it and it was one of my superpowers. One client called me the script whisperer. My goal is to make every speaker a superhero and I love seeing the transformation that takes place. I’m also passionate about empowering women and closing the gender gap for women in business, so I speak about that at every opportunity I can, in addition to interviewing women leaders on my podcast, Lead Like A Woman. Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career? I met the Dalai Lama! I was working a large corporate event where he was a speaker, and I had the utter privilege of meeting him backstage. We were working, looking at slides for his presentation, so not discussing a higher purpose or anything like that. But what struck me about him was presence, and not only his presence backstage and how he treated the people there, but his presence in front of the audience. He really connected with them and knew what they needed at that moment. It was never about him as a person or a speaker, it was about the people he was talking to, which is a great lesson for all speakers to remember. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? It wasn’t funny at the time — more like an epic failure — but looking back on it now, it’s like a comedy skit. I was giving a presentation to a group of entrepreneurs, ironically on how to give a great presentation. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Despite being prepared with my presentation on my laptop and a backup, my laptop didn’t work with their ancient technology, and I had to put my slides on somebody else’s computer. Then my clicker wouldn’t work with that computer, and we had to borrow one from the venue. They put a lavalier mic on me so that I could walk around. I had my notes in one hand and the clicker in the other. But the clicker was way more sensitive than mine, I had no experience with it, hadn’t practiced with it, so every time I pushed it, it advanced three slides which put me off my game completely.… Continue reading Andrea Heuston Of Artitudes On 5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker