Why Boxing Up Your Stilettos Is BAD For Business (And RUDE To Do To Your Favorite Shoes.)

Erika Lyremark NYC 2014

Many years ago, I was a member of several local clubs for women in business, and I often got invited to speak at meetings and events.

One fine day, an invitation rolled into my inbox asking me to give a talk, and I told the event organizer, “Sure, that sounds great! I’d like to title my presentation Think Like A Stripper, and base it on my upcoming book.”

If emails could express ‘stunned silence,’ that’s exactly what her reply would have sounded like.

She wrote: “Actually, we’re hoping you can choose a different title for your talk – and not mention your book. We don’t want to potentially offend anyone.”

Well, if you’ve known me for about 5 minutes, you’re probably aware that “don’t want to offend anyone” isn’t a part of my vocabulary.

If you have to tone down your magic – or your message – you’re working the wrong crowd. 

So I wrote back: “I’m willing to change the title of my talk, if that feels absolutely necessary, but I’m not changing my content – or my story.”

Let’s just say . . . that speaking gig didn’t pan out.

Nor did the speaking gig where I was asked to speak to a group of commercial real estate industry professionals – but if I wanted to bring my book to sell at the event, I’d probably have to hide the book in a brown paper bag so participants wouldn’t be embarrassed to walk out of the venue with it. No thanks!

Or the other time I was UN-invited to speak from a national women in business group – after I had already promoted the event on my website and to my mailing list.

Turns out I was too edgy for the board of directors. Too bad for them!

My edginess & street smarts is what has helped me co-create a multi-million dollar commercial real estate company and a multiple 6-figure coaching & consulting company. Their audiences could learn a thing or two from me.

Here’s some stunning results from my live speaking.

: One participant sold $4000 in jewelry THAT day.

: One participant closed a $20,000 consulting deal a few weeks later.

: One participant got featured in the Washington Post.

: One participant had her article featured on Fast Company’s website.

I could have boxed up the stilettos and toned down my message to score more speaking gigs, but that’s not who I am. And hiding your true self is not for a seriously sustainable business. 

And for the record – my career is doing just fine.

So again I say, if you have to tone down your magic – or your message – you’re working the wrong crowd.


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