Finding Your Voice in Your Speaking Business with Ayelet Baron

Donkey looking like zebra

Ayelet Baron just released the first of her 3 new books in the F*ck The Bucket List trilogy, F*ck The Bucket List for The Soul – Discover The Wonder of You. We recorded this earlier in the year but now that the first book is out, I wanted to share the unique perspective which Ayelet Baron has on the business of speaking and just how unique it can be for each of us and that we don’t have to have all the answers to begin to know what’s healthy for us and begin to create the world we want to live in when we find our own voice. 

From being so shy, Ayelet wouldn’t want to enter a store, to becoming confident enough to speaking from her heart as her necklace fell off when she began to speak, see how finding your own voice can lead you from speaking to becoming an author, or being and author can lead you to speaking, or as Ayelet reminds us, there is nobody who holds all the answers for us outside of ourselves. 

Other insights in this episode of The Business of Speaking:

  • When you put yourself in situations to get up in front of a room, it can lead to you becoming the speaker 
  • You don’t have to intend on becoming a speaking if you have the ability and willingness to share your knowledge
  • What people say to you after you talk can have a larger impact than what you say on stage
  • If you like dialogue, workshops can be more rewarding than delivering keynotes  
  • Being willing to talk from your heart also means you have to accept the fact you may not be invited back
  • Relationships, trust and community are the new/old marketing

If you have trouble viewing the video, check it out on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and get notified when new shows are added. 

Who is Ayelet Baron?

Author · Healer · Global Futurist

Through masterfully facilitated guided sessions, books and talks, Ayelet Baron assists people around the globe in their transition to living a healthy life. Recognized as one of the top 50 global female futurists by Forbes, she has been described as a force of nature when it comes to envisioning a more humane world. Her work has been inspired by futurist Buckminster Fuller, who reminds us that “We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims.”

After a very successful career in the Silicon Valley as a global strategist working in every corner of the world, Ayelet chose to write the books she wished had when she started on her journey of becoming a conscious architect. Ayelet is passionate about driving sustainable change and being of service to the next generation of healthy creators. She now offers guidance to those who are ready to trek into the unknown through her writing, guided sessions and custom project work.

She is a designer + strategist dedicated to the evolution of the next generation of conscious leaders. Integrating humanities, behavioral science and evolutionary strategy, she envisions a world where people matter and business plays a greater role in societal value. She has worked with leaders within Fortune 100 organizations, leading NGOs and startups. Ayelet has been designing experiences, keynote speaking, and facilitating leadership sessions for decades and has worked in over 100 countries as a global technology executive.

What makes her approach unique, is her personal story of seeking the truth. To that extent, she has worked to gain clarity and ground herself in the reality of doing the right thing for herself and her community. She shares her story openly so others can learn from her lessons and apply it to themselves.

Ayelet was a strategic consultant to Genius 100 Visions, Inspired by Albert Einstein, a purpose driven community uniting 100 global Visionaries from the Chair, Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, to Colonel Chris Hadfield, Marc Benioff, Sir Ridley Scott, Sir Ken Robinson, Paul Allen, Paulo Coelho, and additional Visionaries. Ayelet was the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for Cisco, co-creating a strategy to take Canada to the second largest revenue country. She also helped the global mobile business in 2003, and held several positions in sales strategy around the world. Ayelet was the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Cisco in Emerging Markets and also served on the IT Senior Executive team where she helped position IT as a strategic business partner. Prior to Cisco, she had a rich consulting background and also worked as a public opinion pollster.

You can always find Ayelet Baron on Linkedin, Twitter , and Medium. And don’t forget to check out her website where you can learn more about her books.


Want to receive exclusive content not available on The Business of Speaking Show or blog? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. 


Ayelet Baron on Business of Speaking Show with sunset in background

Below is the full transcript from the show with Ayelet Baron. Please note that there may be some errors as it was auto transcribed using (referral link that provides us with a 1-month Premium Pass

Tim McDonald 0:00
All right, welcome everybody to the business of speaking show, I am your host, Tim McDonald. And I am joined by my very dear friend, Ayelet Baron, how are you?

Ayelet Baron 0:10
I’m doing great look at look at where I am and my imagination.

Tim McDonald 0:16
But looks like you’re actually there. The wind blowing and the waves coming up on the beach all together at once. So for those of you who may not know, what the business is speaking show is it’s really a show where I have the opportunity to interview speakers, not on what they talk about on the stage, but their journey of how they got there, and what they’ve learned ever since. So, with that, getting started, let’s have you, Ayelet. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to you about this out of all the things we talked about. Tell us your story of how you got started speaking?

Ayelet Baron 0:50
Well, I think you don’t mean when I was two or three years old, right?

Tim McDonald 0:54
Not like language, but you know, like kind of getting up in front of people on stage who most of us talk about speaking in this industry.

Ayelet Baron 1:04
I know, but I can’t start something with you without a laugh. Um, for me, it was when I fired myself from my PhD program. And I started working in market research, doing a lot of public opinion polling in the beginning for the national newspaper in Canada, and then I decided to do a career transition and got into consulting around organizational change internal communication and culture. And I wasn’t getting everything I needed from my work. So I decided to join an industry association. And when I started, I didn’t realize that I would end up being the president of the association’s largest chapter. And it forced me every lunch, to introduce the speakers, and to get up and talk in front of a crowd. And as I started doing it, I soon transformed into being a speaker, both in Canada, and then internationally as well. So it was never kind of like an intention to do it. But it was just an ability to share information and and address things that I had a lot of knowledge about.

Tim McDonald 2:16
Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. That’s what I’m picking up a trend that nobody I think starts out Well, I shouldn’t say nobody, because I’m sure there’s gonna be somebody, it’s gonna surprise me, but almost nobody talks about it. I knew from the time I was very young, that I wanted to be a speaker and nothing else. So tell us, um, you know, what, what was it like? Um, because I know, you know, from my experience, at least, getting up in front of a group of people and, you know, introducing somebody else, or, you know, talking about a topic that’s work related in a meeting or something like that is much different, I think, than getting up in front of a stage where you’re the one where all the eyes are focused on and can you do you remember that first time that you did that? And what was that? What were you feeling? What was that? Like?

Ayelet Baron 3:10
I was feeling amazement, because for people who know me, they’ll be shocked to know that I was really shy when I was young. And I would have like to convince myself to go into a store and to buy something, it took a lot of courage for me to do those things. Because I was incredibly shy, I’m, you might be surprised that I was shy as well, Tim. Um, and so you know, the first step of getting up and introducing other people was to get over that terrifying fear of shyness that I had, about realizing that I have this voice. And the first time I was there, it was I was like, I was like watching myself and going, I can’t believe that, you know, we can really do what we set our minds to do and get over ourselves. And it was a really amazing experience. Not because I got up and to speak, it was because of the conversations I had afterwards. The people who came to engage with me, not while I was on stage, but afterwards and telling them what the talk did for them. And, you know, we got to co create after that, and doing that, like really early on. I also started doing a lot of workshops, I had a specialization in in metrics and measurement as well. And so we do a lot of workshops on that. And I actually enjoyed that a lot more because I got to have dialogue and to really listen to people’s questions rather than to stand on the stage and talk ironically, if I had completed my PhD, if I had done my dissertation, I would be standing in front of people teaching, which I had to do during, you know, my math when I served for my masters and my doctor as well. I was teaching so I was standing in front of people and talking but it was a very different experience. Have not feeling like I was the lecture I was the teacher and stepping into these big shoes that I felt that speakers have in the world.

Tim McDonald 5:10
Yeah, it’s interesting is, you know, I’m listening about the, you know, wasn’t so much what you said up on the stage, but what happened after you got off the stage? And how have you kind of used that, and, you know, had it work for you, so that you got more of that instead of just being, you know, the person that everybody is listening to?

Ayelet Baron 5:34
Well, I think, um, I remember, I’m a talk I did in, in Mexico, which is probably where this picture is, I don’t know, in front of 500 people, and I just, as I walked up to speak, my necklace, which was totally closed in a clasp fell into my hand, and I, you know, I had, I had the audio on, like, like you and I was ready to go on, there are 500 people there sitting in waiting, and all of a sudden my necklace like, and I had no time to pause and to say what has happened. And what I felt at that point, when I look back at it, it was like the universe telling me that was time to get my voice out. And when I took that stage, I just let myself go. And right afterwards, this guy came up to me and said, You know, I thought you were just going to be one of these other speakers that comes from a corporate background that’s going to tell me all this stuff. And I was sitting back and I was really skeptical. And then you started talking and I was just like, oh my god, she speaks my language, she’s talking about things that are relevant to me, I can relate to this. It’s not just like propaganda, or, you know, a canned speech or something. It’s really real. And it was interesting, he then followed up with an email. And I actually captured something that he wrote about fear in my book, our journey to corporate sanity. And so like from that, that little moment of that talk, I have something now that is part of a book that I wrote. And then he also was doing some work, and I helped him, you know, I didn’t charge him or anything, but I just worked with him on an idea that he had and connected him with people that I thought would be valuable for him. And I have so many stories like this, this is just like one example. But it’s it’s about being able to touch people in this way that really makes it important to me, rather than, you know, my the most popular speaker my the most loved or the most liked. It’s it’s about making an impact.

Tim McDonald 7:45
One and how has that kind of evolved, ever since that moment, when you had that realization for you.

Ayelet Baron 7:56
It actually freed me quite a bit. And I remember, I got invited to speak at this very conservative organization. And I asked them multiple times if they’re ready for me. And, and they said yes, but I didn’t realize that one of the reasons they invited me to speak as a futurist was to be a shock factor for their boss. And instead of like, I love the fact that I didn’t know it. And I could just really be factual and talk about things that are coming and things that people need to be aware of, and not be bound by the fact that, Oh, I’m getting paid for this. So I have to say what they want me to say. And, and being very clear that what I bring is very different than then what most people bring, because I don’t think we’re gonna shift unless we start saying what’s truly in our hearts. And I think that a lot of things that are really important is our ability to find our voice. And if my being up there encourages, you know, hundred, 200, 500 or one person to find their voice and to come into work the next day, and be able to be, you know, a more healthy person, then I’ve done my work. I may not be invited back again, but that’s okay.

Tim McDonald 9:22
Well, and I know, I know, just based upon some conversations that you and I have had that you have actually mentioned, and I don’t know if this whole still holds true or not, but that your goal was not to be a speaker and travel and get on stages. And so how do you have a speaking business? How do you get that message out? How do you connect with people if you’re not traveling and getting up on stages?

Ayelet Baron 9:46
Well, my dream has always been to be an author. And I actually went the other route. I became a speaker before before I started writing, and so I’ve been putting on a little bit of a pause For the last probably the last eight months, and really focusing on the writing and hoping that once my, my triplets, my book series comes out in the fall of 2020, then I could stop come in and speak again and again, the world has changed. So being able to do it virtually being able to do it, I’d love to, like have more dialogue, and and really take an issue and talk to people and understand what their problems and opportunities are. Because one of the things that I’m bringing into the world is, you know, we need to step away from the problem/solution mindset, and really move into opportunity creators. So once I get these books out, I’m going to be going out into the world and saying here, I’m available to come and talk about how we look at opportunities, how do we really lead in the 21st century, in a conscious way, and understand that leadership is not outside ourselves. So the second book is really about trekking into the unknown, and I’m living it in every possible way right now. So it would be great to come back on the show, you know, like a year from now and truly answer that question for you about what I did. Because right now, I’m super excited to just trek into the unknown. Without a manual without, you know, a lot of people just it’s kind of wonderful and crazy, a lot of people kind of find me in, you know, in working right now to figure out how to get these books out to the people that are ready for them, which is very non traditional, than just rather like getting out a book because I’ve written a book for the human soul. And so there’s not like, a cookie cutter way to get it out. And I think that will help me with partnership with people like you and other people out there, that we can get our messages out, which is why I love what you’re doing here. And believe in it. So I think again, you know, I I’ve been very blessed. I’ve worked in over 100 countries around the world. And you know, whether I got to speak as a as a business of you defining it, but I you know, when I was a corporate executive, I spoke a lot and company events and, and internally, and I guess I got paid for it because I was an employee. So I don’t know what your qualification is. But I’ve always been very bold and very fearless. Because I think that, you know, our time on earth is very precious. And we came here to really create. And and that’s what it’s all about. So a year from now, I might be able to answer your question, but right now, I’m tracking into the unknown, trusting my heart and discovering, you know, the wonder of me. So we can discover the wonder of everybody and really shift things on this planet in a really healthy way.

Tim McDonald 13:02
So I, you know, as, and I, by the way, I just, you know, I just love and adore all that and you. But I’m just, you know, as I’m listening, and I relate it to what I’ve seen and heard from so many others, if they’re talking about like, you know, if you’re a speaker, if you want to be a speaker, write a book, right? And I’m hearing you that you were a speaker, you’re not writing the book to get more speaking. But you’ve kind of put that on pause while you’re writing the book. But how does that? I mean, how do you kind of envision I know it’s unknown? And I know you don’t know exactly, but how is it kind of been like, you know, or what’s your thoughts on how that relates to, you know, how you market the book, right? How you get the book to more people through speaking, and how, how they book actually helps you get more speaking, because it sounds like in the past, you’ve always had opportunities that have presented themselves to you because of what you’ve done. And it sounds like that’s the same approach that you’re trusting yourself with moving forward.

Ayelet Baron 14:06
Yeah, I think I’ve been published quite a bit before, like, even my book, but because I was like really busy working in corporate, I didn’t have time to write the book. I was too busy working.

Tim McDonald 14:20
And wait, this isn’t work? writing a book is not work?

Ayelet Baron 14:25
It is the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. And, and things are just coming out really quickly. But I think I think again, I’m not your traditional person. I don’t you know, I put down the manual of success. I’ve actually had a little burning ceremony of it as well. And, and I’m really looking at ways like, you know, I’m reaching out to people, and it’s amazing. I look at who I’m starting to connect with out in the world from a heart base and who I want to also work with And connect with the work that I’m creating. Because it’s not for everyone. You know, it’s not, it’s not something that will appeal to everybody, I’m really looking for the people that are and the companies that really want to look at opportunities and are willing to take risks and do things in a much healthier way than today. Because, you know, to me, the the most important app for the 21st century is humanity itself. And, you know, coming from a technology background and working on making companies incredibly successful, I realized that we have to get back to our humanity in how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. So yesterday, I had the most amazing conversation with someone who I never ever imagined I would connect with. And at the end of it, she said to me, just let me know, and we’ll do a we’ll do a podcast together. And if you want to get other people, let’s do it. And, you know, I’m being guided and advised to go find the influencers, and I’ve taken it to a different level of the people that are influencing the people that I know would resonate with the books, which is very different, because I’m not looking at it from an audience perspective. And I think that from a speaking perspective, I’m really starting to think differently about how I approach this, because I am not, you know, a billion dollar company that I worked for before I am, you know, just little old me here, a little speck in the universe. And so how could this, this, you know, tiny little person, get out there and be able to open hearts and minds that are ready to be opened or play with or, you know, like, you know, my dream is like that we get to play and create together? And because I don’t have your answers, because I don’t know you I was just writing about it this morning, or editing. You know, that, you know, we’ve got to stop telling people how to how to do things when we don’t know who they are. And we’ve got to really understand our power source. And so everything that I’m writing or putting in these books I’m practicing, and when I don’t, the universe kicks my ass, like you won’t believe. So. I think for me, the marketing pieces is really something that you and I have talked about a lot, which is relationships, trust and community. And being able to be trusted in someone else’s community is one of the things that I’m seeing is really important, rather than saying, oh, you’re an influencer, here’s my message, just put it out. It’s no, it’s like, how do our messages intertwine and interconnect, so we can have a bigger influence in the world. And I’m asking a question, like yesterday, I think I threw this person totally off when I said to her, how can I help you? And then it went quiet for like a like, a couple of seconds. And she said, You’re so sweet. I said, so what do you mean, she goes, Well, this calls about you? And I said, No, no, this calls about us, and what we can create in the world. And I think I think that’s the opportunity is when you know, this is what you’re doing Tim here, from what I see too is building community. And when more of us come together, and we don’t have to compete and we could lift each other up and say, Hey, I know somebody who’s great for this. And, and not feeling like I missed out of something because that’s that interconnectedness and support that we can create in the world. And we could write new stories. And that’s what I’m here for.

Tim McDonald 18:49
I one thing I think that I’ve been finding too, is it’s a common theme amongst everybody that I’ve talked to so far about just that support in that community and helping each other out. And it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s there. It just nobody really talks about it. You know, and I love being able to shed that light on that. And that’s why I’m not focused on like, all the blueprints and the, the secrets and you know, it’s more about Who are these people? How did they get involved in this? What have they learned along the way, so that anybody wanting to get involved can see that there’s not one path. It’s so diverse and so different. Um, so you know, if you could go back and knowing what you know now, and talk to your younger self when you’re first getting involved in speaking. What advice would you give yourself?

Ayelet Baron 19:47
Don’t wait so long to let your voice out. You know, I mean, I was on a on a call on Friday with a bunch of friends that I went to the Amazon rainforest with And one of them was telling me that she’s doing these webinars with, you know how to look appropriate on zoom. And, you know, she started going through all the steps. And then she looked at me at my little box, and she said, Now Ayelet, you should be doing blah, blah, blah. And I just looked at her and I said, Now, you know, me, and being appropriate, I said, I’m on the friends and family, zoom, I’m sitting on the sofa. I don’t, I don’t, you know, I’m, I’m not the appropriate one to bring in all the time. Because, you know, if, if some of us don’t start breaking the rules, when it makes sense. And when it’s healthy, not not just casually, then you know, we’re all going to be the same and how boring is that our education system already, you know, is failing, because it puts everybody in the same direction. And, you know, when you’re in kindergarten nursery, you’re encouraged to tap into your imagination. But once you start getting until elementary school, you’re told to shut it off. And, and to be like, you know, like everyone else. And so, you know, there was a point in my life until I started really seeing the world for what it is, and in healthy eyes, that I started walking away from how things are supposed to be in what was accepted and what was not accepted. Because I started to know what it was for me. So I would give my younger self that advice, but I’m not sure she would understand it. Because I think she would have had to go through all the things, all the amazing times the wounds, the traumas, you know, all this stuff that we all go through. And so you know, and and it leads you back to here. So I’m grateful for even though some of them were heartbreaking, and still are, I’m just grateful for all of it. But I think I would love for for young people to know what’s what’s healthy and unhealthy for them. And not to buy into that this is the way it’s supposed to be. And you know, find our own rhythm and our own harmony, to be able to follow it. Because I think that is what kind of in inspires ourselves. And when we’re inspired, we’re on fire to inspire other people.

Tim McDonald 22:22
This has been wonderful. And I know I can keep talking to you forever. But what let people know, you know, where they can find you how they can learn more about your books. And I know that even if you’re not out speaking as much right now, because you’re writing, you’re sharing a lot of that writing. So where can they find you and connect with you.

Ayelet Baron 22:44
So the first thing you need to know, you don’t need to know so much how to pronounce my name, but you need to know how to spell it. And if you spell it, you could find me everywhere I think. And so it’s Ayelet it’s a-y-e-l-e-t the last name is Baron because Ayelet is a very common name and in some places. So the last name is spelled b-a-r-o-n, and you could email me at [email protected]. That’s my eternal age. You could find me on Twitter ayeletb on medium as well, I ayeletb. It’s mostly ayeletb in most places unless it was taken, because it is a popular name in some cultures.

Tim McDonald 23:28
Oh, well thank you so much for being a guest and I’m sure you have your will have your information about your upcoming books,

Ayelet Baron 23:35
I’m sure listed on those places, you can go to Amazon book, Our Journey to Corporate Sanity, and my book series will be coming out in the fall of 2020. Thanks, Tim. And it’s called Fuck the Bucket List. The first book is called Fuck the Bucket List for the Soul Discover the Wonder of You.

Tim McDonald 23:57
I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it. So thank you so much. Ayelet and thank everybody for tuning in and watching and if you are new to the end of the program at the end, I always stop the YouTube Live broadcast but I keep my guest on and record one question with them that only goes out to our email subscribers. So if you haven’t already subscribed, hop on over to speaking dot business. That .com it’s not business speaking business and join our community and sign up for the email list over there and you will be getting weekly answers that you aren’t going to find anywhere else so stay tuned and we will see you soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *