Speak with Influence: Communicating with Impact as a Leader

Leading communication expert and confidence cultivator, Karen Laos, sat down with HSMAI staff to offer a preview of her keynote at HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum October 20. 

Who is the audience for this talk?  

This talk is for anyone who needs to influence, and frankly, close more deals. It’s for those who want to build trust and credibility quickly. It’s all about the impact you want to make as a leader. So many people talk about public speaking, but is there such a thing as private speaking? Unless you’re talking to yourself in the shower or the car, every time you speak, you have the chance to influence someone or make an impact! I’ll give the audience practical tips to get more people listening, find their blind spots, and meet their career goals. My strategies can transform their presence quite quickly, with a little intentionality! 

Can you share a success story?  

Many people think they have to turn on a “presentation persona” when speaking, but that actually can hinder credibility. I help people recognize that you build trust and connection by being conversational, even if you’re speaking to a large group of people. We want to connect human to human, and showing your natural self makes all the difference. That’s a big part of influence. 

I worked with an executive who spoke with a high and breathy tone that didn’t match how she spoke in regular conversation. As I normally do, I recorded her on video, and when we watched it back, she could see how different and unusual her tone sounded. She appeared staged and unnatural. She had an ah-ha moment! Through my coaching, she realized that by not being conversational, she was missing out on opportunities to connect with her audience and close deals. 

What is a common challenge people have when communicating?  

Most people tend to ramble and lose focus. State your point up front and stay on track so you don’t lose your audience. Another issue is giving too much detail. If you say too many things, you’re going to confuse people. Keep it simple. 

What do you want the audience to know about you?  

I’m a no-fluff person. I like to get real with people and give practical tips that move the needle. I’m also someone that says yes to adventure! I have been to all 50 states and have traveled to several countries. Dubai and Vienna are two of my favorite places. At 52 and in July of 2020, I left my corporate job to focus on my life’s mission: to reach ten million women to speak up and take their seats in the boardroom and beyond.  

The best compliment I ever got was that my talk was so conversational that the person felt like we were in her living room, even though I was speaking to an audience of 200. I love sharing my mistakes on stage as that connects and builds trust quickly. 

Is there one takeaway that you would like your audience to leave with? 

Good communicators are not born, they are made. I want my audience to know that these skills can be learned. You can dramatically change your leadership influence by changing one habit at a time.  

HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum is being held in Frisco, TX on Oct. 20, 2022. Learn more. 


Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles