Cheryl Wood is an international motivational speaker, author, and master speaker development coach for women.  She is committed to empowering women globally to courageously share their unique voice, story, and perspective.  She equips new, emerging, and aspiring women speakers with strategies to MASTER and MONETIZE their message.  Cheryl’s compelling story of transitioning from a legal secretary and mother of three who was frantically challenged with creating work/life balance to building her own speaking empire generating over $1million inspires women to take bigger risks and play all out in life and business.

Cheryl has been featured on ABC, Radio One, Forbes Magazine, Huffington Post, ESSENCE, Good Morning Washington, and other media outlets.  She has delivered keynote presentations for a host of organizations including: Federal Bureau of Investigations, United States Department of Defense, United States Department of Agriculture, The United Nations, Federally Employed Women, Virginia Women in Public Finance, and Verizon Wireless.

In today's conversation, Cheryl and I discuss what holds people back from sharing their story. Cheryl shares what aspiring speakers need to know to get started and shares the four types of speaking engagements.

Listen now on Apple Podcast | Spotify | iHeartRadio

Connect with Cheryl:

Resources Mentioned:


A few of the questions I asked Cheryl:

  • What holds most people back from sharing their story?
  • How would someone who wants to begin their journey of public speaking get started?
  • What are the 4 types of speaking engagements?

Key Points from Cheryl:

  • My mom is my greatest inspiration. She taught me my strong work ethic and how to show up in life consistently, so that you can get what you want out of life
  • Lisa Nichols has been a huge inspiration in my life … she has built her empire around challenges, setbacks and obstacles that could have stopped her in her tracks. She took those obstacles and allowed them to fuel her to her next level.
  • It’s ok for me to show up great in the world
  • You are never going to thrive, you are never going to blaze your trails in this world and leave a legacy if you don’t interrupt your norm
  • You will never get anything different until you do something different
  • Get started! You never know who’s watching and listening
  • Opportunity presented itself because I got started and stayed consistent, even when I didn’t always understand the “why” and the “how”
  • The biggest challenge I had to overcome was getting out of my own way and not feeling like I was good enough
  • For a long time I diminished my value based on what I was lacking
  • I had to work through the shifting of my own internal dialogue and focus on what I had versus what i was lacking
  • People love you when you’re free!
  • Stop running from what you’ve experienced in life
  • Touch people’s lives with your stories to remind them that it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you finish
  • Don’t ever run from your truth!
  • Your past doesn’t dictate where you are and where you’re going
  • Your story becomes your wealth generator
  • People are looking for hope, inspiration, to feel like they’re not alone. Your story can become all of those things
  • You can create legacy and wealth simultaneously with your story
  • Your story is about you but it’s not for you. The intention is for you to learn something from the mess you went through, to build new characteristics, become stronger, bolder, more courageous and more aware of who you are and then share those lessons with someone else.
  • When you're vulnerable enough to share your truth and your story, it becomes your connector to your audience
  • Your success is your credibility to say, “If I overcame it, then you can, too!
  • Know your worth, and charge for it!
  • Anyone can talk, but as a “speaker” you're speaking into people's lives, and that's a responsibility that should not be taken lightly
  • 6 keys to success as a speaker:  Mastery, visibility, consistency, authenticity, transparency and credibility
  • It's important that you master the skillset of speaking and hone your craft.  Be a student of the thing you say you want to do.  Mastery is critical.
  • Don't wait until you have mastery to start sharing.  Your learning process and practice is a part of the mastery.
  • Visibility will always trump ability.  Visibility will get your feet in the door.  Ability will keep you there.
  • As an aspiring speaker, without visibility, you will be a well-kept secret.
  • Come from behind your laptop, get into the marketplace and share your voice to get exposure.
  • Show up consistently and do the work that will position you to develop credibility.
  • Always be authentically you. Don’t ever try to be a good imitation of somebody else.
  • You were created the way you are because there is no one else like you.  You have a unique fingerprint and a unique DNA.
  • Speak in your own voice! You are not meant to walk, talk or speak like anybody else.
  • Don't let fear talk you out of your greatness.
  • Be transparent and share your story.  It will allow for a deeper, heart-to-heart connection with people.
  • It’s one thing to share statistics, facts and figures but when you share your raw truth — where you fell down, the messes that you made and how you struggled through those — that’s the real connection with people and they will start to see themselves in you.
  • Transparency matters because every audience that you’re talking to is currently struggling through what you’ve struggled through and what you’ve found a solution for.
  • Don’t forget to have compassion for the people who are still going through the mess you’ve already come through.
  • When you share your mess, your audience sees you as more than the lofty speaker. They can now see themselves overcoming, too.
  • Who are your solutions working for?  Are they viable options that actually work?
  • Aspiring speakers, listen to hear more about these 4 types of speaking opportunities:  Pay-to-speak, Speak-to-Sell, Pay-to-Play and Revenue Share Opportunities

One Action To Blaze Your Trail:

Just get started! Stop discounting yourself and what you already know — the knowledge you have and the unique life experiences to add value to someone else’s life.

Somebody truly is waiting for you to show up and to share your truth.

Ask for what you want. Don’t wait! Create the opportunity.


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