Creating an Impactful Speaking Business with Naphtali Hoff

drop of water creating ripples

Ever since LA Law captured Naphtali Hoff’s attention, he thought he wanted to become a lawyer. His studies in faith brought him to teaching and then into school administration. Both of these were opportunities to engage with an audience. As Naphtali says, “If you cannot effectively entertain and engage students, you do not have an effective classroom.”

The more Naphtali Hoff spoke to audiences he began to see the opportunity to open his own business. Since this was a major pivot, he had to focus on demonstrating an ability to share ideas and become better known on the topics he wanted to speak, coach and consult on. This brought him to create a website, social media accounts and begin deliver this focus.

What other lessons did Naphtali Hoff share? 

  • Look for the “built in” speaking opportunities around you
  • You can be an introvert and reticent and still be a public speaker
  • The more prepared you are, the more impact you can have
  • How you prepare can be the difference between energizing you on the stage or draining you
  • Test the waters with your message before quitting everything to speak
  • You never know who’s going to serve as a referral for you
  • What is the major motivator to get people to say ‘Yes’ to you

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Who is Naphtali Hoff, PsyD?

Most leaders struggle to manage their workloads and get home at a decent hour.

I help them delegate and be more productive so they can scale profits with less stress.

Benefits include:

  • increased productivity;

  • stronger job performance;

  • better numbers;

  • increased respect and prestige in the workplace;

  • improved relationships;

  • reduced stress; and

  • more time at home with family and friends.

I am an accomplished executive coach, organizational consultant, and sought after trainer and lecturer. I completed my doctorate in human and organizational psychology, which analyzes successful individual or organizational change and development, and hold two master’s degrees in education and educational leadership, respectively.

My practical, action-oriented approach has endeared me to my many clients. My personal experience in the leadership field allows me to understand leaders’ needs and craft solutions to help them optimize their performance and success.

You can with Naphtali Hoff, PsyD. on LinkedIn, Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram , and of course on his website, where can you get ebooks, his podcast and read his blog.


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Crafting an Impactful Speaking Business with Naphtali Hoff

Below is the full transcript from the show with Naphtali Hoff. 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
Well, welcome everybody to the business of speaking show. I am your host, Tim McDonald and today I am joined by Naphtali Hoff How are you doing?

Naphtali Hoff
I’m doing great, Tim, thank you so much for having me.

Tim McDonald
Yeah, no, I’m so glad you’re here. And for those maybe just watching for the first time there. Business is speaking show isn’t really sharing the stories of what the speaker share on the stage. But it’s really talking about their journey on how they got to the stage and what they learned since they’ve been on the stage. And if you are thinking about getting involved in speaking, or just starting speaking, this information should be so valuable for you. That’s who our target audience is. But as 2020 has taught us, no matter how seasoned we are, no matter what we think we know, we don’t know everything, and we can’t plan for everything. That being said, I think anybody that’s in the speaking world can find value from anybody that’s on the show. So with that being said, let’s talk about, you know, kind of what you’re doing now and what your business looks like, you know, who you work with, I can share what I know, but I always find it more valuable to come directly from you.

Naphtali Hoff
Absolutely. So first of all, again, Tim, it’s a great, it’s great to be with you on the on the show in the podcast. To have this conversation, I would say from a sort of a backdrop, and then I’ll pivot to the moment. My background is that of education and others, I was a classroom teacher, school leader, before moving into my current role as coach and trainer slash speaker. So it actually lent itself to speaking on a regular basis, because if you cannot effectively entertain and engage students, you do not have an effective classroom, as you know. And once I moved into school leadership, there were tons of opportunities to speak. Many of them were not solicited by me, but they were just part and parcel of the job. So it was like talking at lifecycle events, especially at the bar bar mitzvah types, or graduation. Or speaking at parlour meetings and talking to donors, there were so many different built in opportunities for public speaking for opportunity to engage from the stage, and to have my my message shared. And and now, I use speaking as another way by which to impact you know, I’m really very mindful about the impact that I have. It’s not the only way in which I try to be impactful. It’s through my coaching, it’s through consulting work is through my writing. So there’s a lot of different ways to do it. But one of the things if not the biggest thing, despite the fact that I identify as an introvert, and many people often think that that is not the kind of profile that lends itself to speaking, when I get up to the stage that lights me up, it may drain me simultaneously, but it lights me up, it gives me an opportunity to really see transformation occurring in the eyes of people in the moment. And since you talked about 2020, in our current reality, now I’m doing it more on platforms like this one, you know, doing zoom calls and other ways by which to talk to people, people are more used to it now. So they they’re more willing, on some level to receive it this way, though, some people are, as they say, zoomed out, and they would love that interpersonal peace. And so actually this coming Monday, we’re recording this on a Friday. So this coming Monday, I’m going to be speaking at my first, well I shouldn’t say my first, at a one of the more recent live events, this one for people in the nursing home industry, long term care, outdoor event, but creating an opportunity for them to gain credits that they need for, for their industry in the same time to talk about empowering people. In 2020, what does that look like? You know, we live in a different environment. And so that’s kind of where I am today.

Tim McDonald
No, I love that. And, you know, before we go all the way back I you said something that I think so many Can I know I can relate to and I think other people can relate to is this fact of, you know, you getting energized by getting up on the stage, but at the same time it drains you can you go a little bit deeper into, you know, what that feeling is for you before you get on the stage, and how it works, you know, to help, you know, to help you get through that. And yeah, and maybe decompress after you’re off the stage.

Naphtali Hoff
So I’ll actually take it a step back, if I may. And that is, you know, I think in order for me personally to be very successful, I can live in the moment and they often do. I’ve got a repertoire of stories, a repertoire of sayings and quotes and things like that, a personal anecdotes that allow me to to live in the moment as I sense the crowd, but simultaneously I like to come in like really prepared because the more prepared. I don’t want to be scripted. I don’t want to be canned, but I do want to be prepared. So for example, with this audience that I just referenced, I’ve reached out to people I know in the industry and I asked them the question, what should I be focusing on or what do administrators of individual facilities need? They’ve got owner operators operating out of some corporate office. They’re dealing with their people boots on the ground in their facility, hundreds of people. What are their challenges, both In terms of leading up, leading across, leaving down, and then and in the context of the pandemic, which of course complicates things that much more. So when I come in to my conversations, Tim, I’m trying to demonstrate a connection with the people I’m talking to. And that makes it much easier for me to convey my message. Now, that all said, as an introvert, you know, we oftentimes associate extraversion as people who are outgoing, sociable, you know, they, they just love a crowd, because of the fact that they interact well with people. Whereas introverts are shy and reticent, and, and don’t. And so when I get up on the stage, and I’m dynamic, and I certainly try to be and I genuinely AM. And people say to me, and I am make a comment about introversion, especially when I’m talking to educators, or talking to people who really have to be mindful of the people that they interact with from a engagement standpoint. And I tell them that I’m an introvert, many of them have this quizzical look. And they say, Well, what does that mean? Because you don’t strike me as being shy. You don’t strike me as being reticent, you don’t strike me as being somebody who’s uncomfortable in a public space, I own the space when I get up there. So I tell them that it’s not about how sociable I can be, it’s about whether or not this experience is energizing me, or if it’s draining my battery. So it’s really more on the back end of the process. Tim, it’s not so much during the actual experience. But when I’m done, I may instead of running around the room, I may choose to sit down, or I may choose to kind of like regroup more. So I still want to take advantage of the moment, if it’s a social or networking opportunity, I don’t want to lose it. But I’m doing it, you know, on a half charged battery rather than a turbocharged battery. And it’s just a matter of knowing oneself knowing how you operate in that space, what what best works for you. And then you can make adjustments as needed. So that, to me, it’s all about showing up in the best way at the most important moment. So what is that moment? And the moment of course, is the talk in this in this context. So how do I show up for that? You know, with the very best moment that I’m not thinking about the massive crowd, I’m not thinking about all the things that typically get people nervous, I’m thinking about my message, I’m thinking about making an impact and think about making eye contact with a few people that sort of ground me in the moment in my conversation. And then I’m and then I’m focused on delivering a clear, properly laid out message that has all sorts of nuggets and stories and anecdotes and takeaways that people feel really good about. And then I let the chips fall where they may on the back end about my own, for lack of a better term, let’s call it recovery, you know, a regrouping, it’s not a big deal. You know, I don’t want to overplay this. But it is something that, you know, we have to be mindful of as speakers. What is it that charges you? How do you make sure that you’re showing up in the best way at the right time? And then you figure out the rest of it kind of around? around that process? That’s been my, my experience.

Tim McDonald
Yeah. So, you know, looking back to when you got an education before you got into education? Did you know you wanted to become an educator?

Naphtali Hoff
No, I thought I would become a lawyer. I actually, at that time, I’m dating myself just a little bit, there was a show called LA Law, which was very compelling. I kind of spoke to me the idea of engaging in argument, but but with with purpose, you know, the idea of litigation that spoke to me, and I thought that that could be a lifestyle for me, for a variety of personal and maybe communal reasons, I moved more into let’s call it focusing on my studies, being more connected with my with my faith. And there’s a lot of academic rigor associated with that, which is not necessarily true with every faith. But certainly, within Orthodox Judaism, there’s a lot of emphasis on becoming, let’s call it scholarly on some level, or at least having a lot of foundational learning since there’s so many commandments, obligations, and let’s call a practices associated with the faith, it’s difficult to do it in an informational vacuum. So that kind of moved me in a direction of learning, and engaging in of teaching. And when I got my hands on it, so to speak, and I had opportunity to do it. It really was something where I felt meaning and purpose and all of that. And so that became a career choice. And I still feel myself first and foremost as an educator and everything I do, and I look at it, and I say, I’m not here to entertain you. I’m here to deliver something concrete and useful for you that will transform the way you think about things. And I want to make sure I’m also mindful of the host of an event did they get in bringing me in the level of engagement, the level of advancement, if you will, for their audience that they intended? And if the answer is yes, to me, that is the primary the primary takeaway, and that’s my focus.

Tim McDonald
Yeah. And so as you were in education, I know when you you know, right at the beginning, you were sure hearing how that kind of was a natural thing of feeling comfortable getting up in front of people. Yeah, at what point did you make the transition from being in education to really focus on, you know, your business and speaking.

Naphtali Hoff
So it was it was, I guess, the transition from my head of school position to my current work. So I had been delivering trainings in advance, you know, in advance of that period, as I told you, I had numerous opportunities to speak and whatnot. But it was always peripheral to my core work, you know, a core work was teaching classroom, running a school, being a professor, whatever those responsibilities were, it was all about the students in my little orbit that I was focused on. Once I became open for business hang hung my shingle to the world, that’s obviously a much different focus. And at that point, you know, whether its use of social media, which I had done, almost none of prior to that, in fact, I had no accounts whatsoever, until I knew that I was going to be pivoting, I had no website, I had no real public presence outside of the little world, again, which I was operating, I needed to change all of that. And I needed to be able to demonstrate an ability to share ideas and become better known, so that people who are looking for what I feel is a dynamic speaker with a clear message, especially about leadership, and coaching and self improvement, and these kinds of things, productivity, now that they have an address to turn to that they feel will deliver the kind of message. So that that was really the time where that became a conscious focus. And it’s not the only thing that I do, as I mentioned before, so I have to find a way by which to put it out there, and at the same time, demonstrate other capacities as well.

Tim McDonald
So um, you know, because I know so many people are just like, No, I’m going to quit my job and, you know, start speaking, right. And it sounds like you almost did that. But I’m just kind of curious, was it that simple? Or did you start developing some clients and everything before you quit your, quote, unquote, day job?

Naphtali Hoff
The answer is, yes. And no, I’ll put it this way, if I would have had, you know, like, I talked about in my book about the idea of the critical nature of experience. And, and obviously, as Brian Tracy talks about, he calls it a quick analysis, right, knowing what I now know. So using a quick analysis, if I, if I knew, at the time that I was transitioning out of school leadership, what I would ultimately become and have a clear sense of what that would look like I would have been, I would have been seeding that and developing more of a foundation in the years leading up to it to make that transition more seamless. Sometimes you don’t necessarily have full luxury of doing that for a variety of reasons. And so you kind of hang your shingle and get started, I did have a couple of anchors in what I was looking to do, which allowed me to make that pivot. But I also knew that I would need to build other parts of my business quickly and in a more robust way if I was going to make this work. And thankfully, I’ve been able to do that, you know, we’re always looking to grow, but, but I’ve been able to round out my portfolio involving speaking and other and other ways by which I engage with my clients, in order to do what I what I love to do. So the answer is, I wish I would have done more. But I did some. And I think that anyone who is looking to, quote, drop everything and become a coach, drop everything become a speaker, should really, in my estimation, be testing the waters in advance finding out? Is my message, something that that is resonating with people? How do I get in front of as many audiences as possible without directly conflicting with the work that I’m presently doing? And how do I build enough of a foundation so that if I ever choose to really jump into this full throttle, I have something to rely on as opposed to trying to make it work afterwards, because that’s much more difficult. And even in today’s environment, speaking in general is a much harder gig to engage in because again, we don’t have the platforms, we don’t have the the social events, we don’t have the conferences in the conventions that typically bring speakers as a critical piece in what they do. So you need to be more resourceful and you need to cast a wider net, I would imagine today than ever before, in order to ensure that you have a sufficiently full pipeline.

Tim McDonald
So, you know, one question that I see from so many people thinking about getting involved in speaking, and I’m just curious if you experienced this when you you know, put your, you know, hung your shingle out is how do you know who to get in touch with to hire you?

Naphtali Hoff
Yeah, it’s really a good question. And I think that I mean, let’s put it this way, you can get in touch with a bunch of people, but those people won’t necessarily certainly reciprocate. If they don’t feel that you bring enough to the table. So oftentimes, if you’re talking about agents or agencies, you know, individuals who are going to help you get in front of the right audiences, unless they feel that you have a platform that you have built. That’s through your social media, your email lists, other things that you do to build a network, maybe publications and the things you have out there. For the most part, they’re going to ignore you. Because there are so many people putting themselves in front of you, they don’t need that many speakers in order to fill events. So they’re going to go with the people that they think are going to help them sell, really draw in potential business and that type of thing. So it is important to get in front, I think of a lot of people, people, you can demonstrate your capacity you never know, who knows someone you never know who’s going to serve as a referral for you, you never know who’s going to make that connection for you. And be willing to speak early. And often, you know, Zig Ziglar talks about it, or talked about a Brian Tracy, I mentioned already, many others as well, we have to be willing to get in front of people. And you know, if you’re if you’re a person of, you know, let’s say even mild success over the years, if you want to move into this space, oftentimes it could feel like a step down or five steps down to quote, humble yourself in order to get in front of those audiences. On the other hand, if you if you keep sight of the bigger picture, if you recognize you’ve got to go down in order to get up. And you also recognize that, you know, impacting somebody, even in a small Rotary Club event, or business commerce gathering or some other social gathering, it may not seem like much right now. But if you’re making an impact here, and you can collect video of your talks, and collect testimonials, as you go and broadcast them out there, put them up on your website, have a YouTube channel fine, have people people need to find have ways to find you, right, you have to put it out there, but they also are going to research you and they’re gonna want to see what can you do. And the more that people can find your material and do their own research. That’s just what people do nowadays, they go on Google, they go on searches, they look for you, they look for your stuff, they look for what people are saying about you. And that’s a lot of it as well. So the more that you can give people opportunity to feel comfortable, that they could trust you that they know that you’re going to deliver, that usually will be a major determinant. And motivator for people to say yes to you.

Tim McDonald
Well, that was fantastic. And I know we’re getting short on time. So before we kind of and tell everybody how they can learn more about you find you.

Naphtali Hoff
Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate it, Tim. First of all, you can always go to my website, there’s a chock full of goodies over there, including ebooks, my own podcast, my blog, and other stuff. It’s That’s all one word, impactful, ful,, you can find me on LinkedIn, very active over there, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you could also take a, take a look at the reference the book before there’s a lot of my I don’t know if I’d say my wisdom, but at least my experiences wisdom I got from maybe bad decisions that ultimately became better decisions. Learning. This is specifically targeted for new leaders for people who are just starting out who want to shorten their experience curve so that they can hit the ground running, and enjoy sustained success.

Tim McDonald
Well, thank you so much. And we want to thank everybody for watching it. Again, if you haven’t gotten to this part of the show before, this is where we kind of sign off of YouTube. But before we go, what I’d love to do is invite you to go over to and sign up for our weekly email list. Why should you do that? You’re asking yourself well, because I am going to stay on and ask one additional question. And those questions only get shared with our exclusively with our email list. So if you head over to speaking dot business and sign up for that, you will have access to this exclusive content. So thank you for joining us today.

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