IAM658- Creator Trains People on Communication and Presentation Skills

Podcast Interview with Beth Noymer Levine

Beth established SmartMouth in Salt Lake City in 2005 to offer Speaker Coaching, Presentation Skills Training, Media Readiness™ Training, and related services. Beth is the author of the award-winning book “Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World.” She is also the creator of the iOS app, SmartMouth Public Speaking Toolkit and a suite of Communication and Presentation Skills courses offered online through OpenSesame.com and GO1.com. Beth has lectured and taught at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the University of Utah, and New York University. In 2015, Beth was one of Utah Business Magazine’s “30 Women to Watch.” She has been featured in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, the BBC, and The Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Forbes.com.

  • CEO Hack: Lists in my phone and on paper
  • CEO Nugget: Don't ever take yourself so seriously
  • CEO Defined: Huge responsibility towards clients and employees

Website: http://www.smartmouthcommunications.com/

Twitter: @SmartMouthComm
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethnoymerlevine/

Book on Amazon: Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World

Check out one of our favorite CEO Hack’s Audible. Get your free audiobook and check out more of our favorite CEO Hacks HERE


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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello. Hello. Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Beth Levine of SmartMouth. Beth, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Beth Levine 0:38

Thanks, Gresh. It's really nice to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:41

Definitely super excited to have you on. And before we got started, I wanted to just introduce you to Beth and I wanted to do it. I want to allow her to do it herself because she's done so many phenomenal things. So Beth, can you tell us a little bit more about what I call your CEO story? What led you to start your business and all the awesome things you've been able to work on?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Beth Levine 0:57

All right, thanks, crush. Well, first of all, I, your audience should know that I prevented you from reading my bio. Because I think people's eyes glaze over when they hear other people's bios and they don't remember everything. And so I like to introduce myself. The way I do that is to say Hi, I'm Beth Noymer Levine from SmartMouth Communications. And I like to say that I save lives, one conference room and one board room at a time, I save the lives of speakers and presenters who need to organize their material and their thoughts in a way that's compelling and impactful. And I save the lives of their audience members who might otherwise die of boredom. So SmartMouth Communications is based in Salt Lake City, but works around the country and is 15 years old. And we are so fortunate to have great, great clients that we love working with.

So, Gresh, I don't know if you noticed, but I saved my data points for last. And up front, I had something much more attention-grabbing and hopefully memorable, which is that I save lives, which is you know, tongue in cheek, of course. But that's one of the principles I use in my communication coaching business, which is that people don't retain information, but they retain a message. My message was that I really would help bail you out and be impactful, rather than let you stand up and ramble on with a bunch of data points. And so that's sort of hopefully, the first aha, but you asked about my business and how it got started. And I'll give you the short version, the short version is that I was working on Wall Street in the 80s, which dates me I know, but it was a busy, busy time on Wall Street, there were mergers and acquisitions, there were hostile takeovers, there were initial public offerings, lots and lots of deals.

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And I was doing communications. And I remember being assigned to prepare investment bankers and corporate CEOs for important presentations and interviews with the media. And it felt really natural and second nature to me, and it was, but they couldn't message their way out of a paper bag. And they seem really appreciative. So at the time, I made a note to myself Hmm, this could be a business someday. And so in 2005, I finally decided to create SmartMouth. It is a business dedicated to mainly speaker coaching, but also largely to presentation skills, training for groups, and meet some media training, and then messaging and message development for different organizations and people. So that's the, you know, one-minute version.

Gresham Harkless 4:07

I love that. And I definitely appreciate you, for providing that information in that aha moment, as we're always looking for, because I think so many times that we do really phenomenal things, and we're not best, we're not sure how best to communicate those things. And I appreciate you for one being able to kind of get to the heart of what it is that you do, but to be able to expound upon that and be able to help people with their presentation, their communication skills so that they can show how great they are and some of the great things that we've been working on and maybe don't know how best to communicate that.

Beth Levine 4:37

Right. I think it's a common problem. And I find that people are driven to be thorough and comprehensive when they explain their work and they also are driven to be very, very accurate. And that comes from what I call more of an egocentric, dry have-to-communicate versus an audience-centric way of communicating and an audience-centric way of communicating. You put your audience's needs and experience ahead of your own. And when you think about it when you introduce yourself with a title and a bunch of job responsibilities and the name of the organization, your audience is probably going to remember, Oh, I don't know, maybe one thing, and the name of your organization, but they're not going to remember your title. And they're not going to remember the details of the specifics of your role and responsibilities. So it's always important to, you know, kind of, like I always say, you know, life is short eat dessert first, well, attention spans are also short. So you want to serve the best, you serve your conclusion, first, something that's really powerful and captures or summarizes your essence or value.

Gresham Harkless 6:02

I love that. And I think you're absolutely right. And as a person who loves dessert, you just made my big day by telling me I can eat dessert first, which I'm super excited about.

Beth Levine 6:13

Yeah. Be careful about that. Right? If your audience is where we'll be when this airs, but right now we're all in self-quarantine. And I think everybody has the possibility of gaining a little bit of weight.

Gresham Harkless 6:28

That's very true. Yes. So, use that advice sparingly. I'm telling myself, but no, you're absolutely right. And I think so many times, you know, we forget, I think part of the communication is to have that back and forth, have that engagement have that goal that you're trying to meet. I think communication is not just you know, hearing me speak or you know, whoever is presenting to speak, but to actually have that opportunity to be audience-centric and audience focus as well. So I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce, and it could be for you personally or your business. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Beth Levine 7:02

That's so interesting. Well, I have two answers to that. First is my secret sauce personally, as a communication coach and consultant I remain very, very respectful of the clients I work with. And when I say that, what I mean is, that I don't for one second take for granted the vulnerable position that a person or a group of people puts themselves in when they submit to coaching or training. And I respect where they are in their skill set, I respect where they're coming from and the work they do. I respect the fact that being a better speaker presenters, is probably not at the top of their to-do list, but they know they sort of have to do it. So I think my personal secret sauce is that I come into any room really respecting and appreciating my clients, and where they're coming from. The secret sauce for smart mouth communications, I would have to say, is the methodology that we've created over the 15 years, and it's sort of been use case tested. Over I think we added up once to 25,000 users or more.

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And it's our methodology is codified in a mobile app called the smart mouth public speaking Toolkit, which is in the iTunes and Android or Google Play stores. The methodology is one where and the end the functionality of the app actually is one in which it is super simplified. You can plug in based on the drop-down on the prompts and drop-down buttons, you can plug in answers to questions and build a presentation. And when I say it's super simplified, what I mean is we have created an approach to outlining or presentation that is built around your audience and audience habits in terms of how they pay attention for how long, and how they'll remember things. And it is like if you can identify four main aspects of your presentation. You've got it, you know, so it's hard to describe in a podcast, but it's a really user-friendly, super simple, almost presentation for Dummies paint by numbers kind of a one-to-outline what you want to say in a presentation.

Gresham Harkless 10:03

Definitely appreciate you for creating that and for explaining that as well, too. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. You might have already touched on these, but I know if you had anything additional, a CEO hack could be like an app or book or habit that you have, but something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Beth Levine 10:21

You know, the first thing that jumped to my mind is lists, I'm a little deeper, I'm one of those people, I actually have lists both on my phone and on paper, my personal lists are on my phone. Interestingly, my business lists are on paper. And that's so that I can't avoid seeing them or looking at them, you know, my two dues, my urgency, my mediums, and then my not urgency that I have to be able to see them.

Gresham Harkless 10:57

Definitely appreciate that reminder. So I want to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be like a word of wisdom or piece of advice or something you might tell your younger business self if you haven't into a time machine.

Beth Levine 11:09

Don't ever take yourself so seriously. I do not take myself seriously, I avoid any version of self-importance.

Gresham Harkless 11:19

I love that love that. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on this show. So Beth, what has being a CEO meant to you?

Beth Levine 11:30

Oh, well, you know, what Gresh? What's funny is that it's sort of in line with my last answer. I don't take myself too seriously. And I gave myself the title, of founder and principal of smart enough communications. So that's funny that I don't sort of bestow the title of CEO on myself, even though I perform those functions. I think it's a ton of responsibility. And I think it's a lot of responsibility to the people who work for you and the people for whom you work. So both the employee side and the client or customer side, I think it's a huge responsibility, I think you I think it creates a set of expectations that are sometimes difficult or exhausting to meet, and you have to be ready to meet that. You know, you can't back down from that. It, there's sort of sort of like a no turning back kind of a thing.

Gresham Harkless 12:42

Yeah, absolutely. No, it's definitely a challenge. And I love the fact that you talked about, you know, even the different titles, because I think sometimes we can get caught up in titles, we can't get caught up in quote, unquote, taking ourselves too seriously. But in reality, you know, just taking the challenge of what it is to be able to be of service and to help out so many people in so many different ways. It's definitely you know, it can be a blessing could definitely be frustrating times that thing at times as well, too. But I think that you know, it's great that you've been able to kind of provide that kind of holistic look on what it means to be a quote-unquote, CEO.

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Beth Levine 13:14

Right. And you know, the motto of SmartMouth communications is communication is the currency of success. Because it is, and I believe that about being a CEO too, nobody gets anything done, or achieves any goals or objectives without having to communicate. And the same is true for being a CEO, you don't achieve anything or accomplish anything alone. You do it in tandem with a team. And so I think it's really important to remember that it's, you know, it's not something anybody achieves on their own.

Gresham Harkless 13:55

Absolutely, as I say, success is a team sport. So definitely, I appreciate that reminder, and I appreciate your time even more. And so what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. And then of course, how best they can find the app, read your book, and hear about all the awesome things you guys are working on.

Beth Levine 14:13

Oh, thanks, Gresh. Well, I do have a book that kind of walks people through the five essential principles of being a good leader and communicator, and it's called jock talk, five communication principles as exemplified by legends of the sports world. And jock Talk is in the Amazon store. It's in audible and Kindle format as well. And jock talk is a great short read. I had a fight with the publisher because they wanted the book to be 225 pages. And I said I can't do that chapter four is brevity. You know, because they guess the economic formula for a book is if it's longer, they can charge more, and everyone makes more money. But I was insistent that I wasn't going to do that I wasn't going to add fluff.

It's a great short read, but a great personal development read for anybody who's in a leadership position. Each of the five principles is exemplified by stories from sports. Each chapter has a good story and, a bad story that illustrates how that principle can be used well or not well, so it's it's a good read. And I would encourage people to pick it up because I think it's useful. And I also would encourage people to look up the smart mouth public speaking toolkit in the iTunes and Google Play stores because that can be encrypted. It's like having a presentation builder in your back pocket. So I appreciate you Gresh for letting me share those with your listeners and readers. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 16:02

Not a problem at all. I appreciate you for creating them even more and trying to help out you know, so many different people and we will have the links and information in the show notes as well, too. In addition, Beth's bio is written as well, too, since you went to let me read it. So I truly appreciate that so everybody can hear all the awesome things that you're doing. I appreciate your time again. I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:22

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

[fusebox transcript]


Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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