Last year, when I published the 10 life-changing lessons I learned after 10 years in business, I expected the incredible growth of the past two years to continue unabated. In fact, I made investments with that mind and spoke about it with what felt like strategic foresight.

And in some ways, 2023 turned out to be an incredible year for our company. But in other ways, we fell short of our goals. 

What I can say with clarity is that: What we expected for 2023 did not happen as planned.

Even with extensive planning, research, and preparation (and a strong gut feeling) you make mistakes, say the wrong thing, and things don’t work out as you expected.

It’s actually a great analogy for presentations. There are two versions of every speech: the one you write and the one you deliver. There’s probably a third version as well: the one you wish you would have written.

In a speech or presentation: you’ve done your research, you’ve anticipated questions, and then the AV team won’t let you show your demo on stage. Or your biggest client sends a junior associate instead so you’re not actually presenting to the decision-maker. Or someone asks you a difficult question and completely throws you off during an All Hands Meeting.

We encourage our clients to reflect after each meeting, pitch, or presentation. What worked? What didn’t? And most importantly, what am I going to do differently next time? 

In a similar way, my team and I debrief every program or strategic initiative. What worked? What didn’t? We’ve done this over the past few months to help us learn from our experiences and better adapt to future challenges.

As a result, this year we’ve taken some incredible leaps forward.

We started to implement EOS to grow as a company, ensuring everyone in the organization shares the same vision for growth.

I started the Strategic Coach program to grow as an entrepreneur, learning how to empower my team with more autonomy.

I refined my core keynote to focus on my core message, Lead With Your Voice, recognizing that my message is about so much more than public speaking. It’s about how we connect with and inspire one another to come together and address global challenges. And I continued my deep dive into generative AI and its impact on how we as humans connect with one another. 

Jim Collins writes about getting the right people in the right seats on the bus. This year, we also made significant changes to our team including bringing on a new salesperson, public speaking coach, and marketing agency. 

In the United States, there is a fervent feeling of rushing to the finish line in December. Get your numbers in by end of year, buy gifts for your team, figure out annual bonuses. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the holiday spirit (if you celebrate the end of year holidays).

As we close out 2023, let’s do exactly what I recommend we all do before our speeches and presentations: show ourselves grace. True confidence comes not from having all the answers but from having faith in one’s ability to affect a positive outcome. 

Let’s remind ourselves to “Pause & Breathe” and focus on everything we’ve achieved. Let’s focus on both who we are and who we want to be. Let’s build our confidence from the inside out, and no matter what happens, 2024 will be the best year yet.

We wish all our partners, colleagues, and friends a beautiful holiday season and happy New Year. 

Warm Regards,
Allison Shapira and the Global Public Speaking team