I’ve learned over time the importance of keeping your team motivated. I wish I would’ve had a head start on this one because this is what keeps people loyal. Motivating people with money can only go so far. People who feel connected to the work, appreciated, and like their contribution is important are more likely to stay at a job.
I had the pleasure of interviewing LaQuita Cleare, CEO of Clear Media Communications Academy. LaQuita is an International speaker and communication coach who works with CEOs and other public figures to enhance their public speaking, media presence and overall communication. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, TedTalk participants, and well known entrepreneurs make her company a go-to for speaking training.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I think I knew early on that communication can shape your entire life. Your business, your relationships, your sales…I just didn’t realize that it would become my business.
I have a background in acting and psychology, which turns out to be a great combo for overall communication. While in college I was able to help others with presentation skills while I continued to hone my own.
Then, I moved to Hollywood to take the world by storm…or at least that was the plan.
I did several roles as an actress, which taught me key skills, like the importance of connecting with others. I also began working with several high-profile companies to represent them at events and product launches.
I became more and more curious on how I could use the skills I was learning to continue to help others.
When I started my company, I began working with CEOs, simply because those were the first clients I had who referred me to others and it became a snowball effect.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
I remember showing up to teach a public speaking workshop and two of the participants were discussing whether they thought they would learn anything from the class. They didn’t notice I was standing there and it was hilarious hearing them say “I took off work so this better be good, etc…” They jumped when they saw me standing there and we all had a good laugh.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes my company stand out is our number one priority is authenticity. Training is about making you sound like the best version of YOU. So, there is no one-size fits all training. We also believe in making training unique and fun. The more I can keep clients engaged the better they will become.
I remember having a client that was watching videos of Michelle Obama, Ariana Huffington, Bill Clinton and other great speakers. This only served to psych her out before she even started and make her try to emulate others she respects. We focused on finding her personal strengths and then elevating those. She was happy with the results, and she was able to connect with her audience because she was real.
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?
In the beginning of my career before I even had a company, someone told me that I had a gift. That I had the ability to help others if I really shared my voice and knowledge. I remember the first time I ever spoke to a group. I was asked at the last minute and it was a HUGE audience. I was overwhelmed, exhausted and trying to figure out what I was going to say. The words of advice I received from this person were “You are tired so what? Get out there and do it! You will be great.” From that moment, I’ve never looked back.
Today, I am grateful to every single client who has trusted me with their speech, with their company messaging, with their story. I am also so thankful for every referral that I get.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Even the day to day operations are exciting to me! But, yes…I am working on an online program to help more people globally with their speaking, companies, and communication.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of the things that is important to me is working with youth. I try to find as many opportunities as possible to teach and speak with kids and young adults. This can make the difference in raising someone’s confidence level or helping someone prepare for their first job interview.
I am always looking for more ways to help those who will eventually lead our country.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
This is a tough one…because I love to read. I could do an interview just on books. One book that I read many years ago, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” had a profound impact on me. It showed me so much the power of words and the beauty of the human spirit. That we can pull ourselves out of even out darkest days. After reading the book, Maya Angelou became one of my favorite people to watch. The way she used her voice to empower and help others was magical for me.
“The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell also stuck with me for many years as someone who has always been intrigued by business success. It changed the way that I looked at a lot of things. I especially thought a lot about the 80/20 principle which says that 80 percent of the work will be done by 20 percent of people. So suddenly my workaholic ways start making sense.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) A unique selling proposition is essential-The marketplace is crowded with so many products and services for people to buy. Help people to understand what is different about your company and why they must you use vs the competition.
2) How difficult it is to find quality employees-No one can run a business alone and it is important to choose wisely those who will represent you. I remember once calling someone who was supposed to work on this particular day and they said they were out shopping and forgot.
3) Ways to motivate your team-I’ve learned over time the importance of keeping your team motivated. I wish I would’ve had a head start on this one because this is what keeps people loyal. Motivating people with money can only go so far. People who feel connected to the work, appreciated, and like their contribution is important are more likely to stay at a job.
4) Scale Scale Scale-It is important to think about how you will scale your business early on. Otherwise you do a lot of work only to later ask yourself, “Okay this is great, but how do I get to the next level?”
5) Have a marketing plan-The best idea is nothing without a plan on how to execute and actually reach customers. It is important to include marketing dollars in your business plan.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Great! I will put down a few names in hopes to get a meeting with one 😊
Oprah-Watching her journey is really inspiring especially coming from such humble beginnings
Neil Patel-He is great at online marketing. I would love to sit down with him and pick his brain.
Gary Vaynerchuk- He is a force! Seriously, sitting down with him for 15 minutes would be great.
Iyanla Vanzant-She is a speaker who inspires the masses.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com