In this episode, Barbara and Kricket discuss:

  • Why speaking and messaging are crucial to business growth
  • How storytelling remains impactful even until this day as a way to foster connection
  • Why it’s important to have an open mind when having conversations and becoming a good listener

Key Takeaway:

“You see stories everywhere now. And it’s such an interesting phenomenon that is growing. Because if we look back in history, it’s always been about the story.”– Kricket Harrison

Connect with Kricket Harrison:




Connect with Barbara Hales:

Twitter:   @DrBarbaraHales


Business website:

Show website:



YouTube: TheMedicalStrategist



Dr. Barbara Hales: Welcome to another episode of marketing tips for doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara hills. Today we have with us, Kricket Harrison. She is a performance and communication expert working with businesses to grow their bottom line faster through speaking and presentations. As a professional speaker, Kricket is known for her dynamic and interactive presentations on the human side of the business.

Kricket has over 19 years of experience as a business owner and has worked with over 400 entrepreneurs on speaking and messaging in the past five years. Kricket also works with clients on executive presence, leadership communication, employee engagement, and high-performance teams. She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and has served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia NSA chapter, as well as incoming Co-chair of the Power Women of NSA. She also served as a premier success coach for the E-Women Network and is on the board for Catholic Charities. Atlanta clients and audiences include State Farm, CDC, Ernst, and Young, E-Women Network, What Women Want, ProWin, etc. I’m beyond super impressed. Welcome to the show, Kricket.

Kricket Harrison: Thank you. I’m excited. Thanks for having me.

Importance of Speaking and Messaging

Dr. Barbara Hales: We’re the lucky ones. Tell us, Kricket, why are speaking and messaging crucial?

Kricket Harrison: Well, it’s such an interesting thing. People don’t think of themselves as speakers, especially in the business world. Some love the stage, some want to be up in front of people. Some are introverts, and they say, “Oh, no! Not me! not me!” But we speak about our business every day. It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing message and what’s going on the flyer? And what’s my tagline? And what’s my business name? But business is generated by how you do your business? How do you speak to your clients? How do you speak about what you do, even if it’s a casual conversation?

And when we’re not clear on that message, when we’re not clear on the point, we want to get across? Then it hinders our business growth, whether it’s trying to get more clients or getting press or publicity. We all have to learn to be clear on our speaking and our messaging. And then, let’s face it, it’s just the fastest way to be known as an expert in your field.

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s absolutely true. There are two things about that. First of all, everyone is always interested in the behind-the-scenes story. You know, it’s one thing when they see people in business, but to find out how it came about what the person’s passions are, that’s always of interest to people. And secondly, now people really want to hear the story. They don’t want to hear what the business is about or just features. They want to know the story about it.

Kricket Harrison: Right? Absolutely. You see stories everywhere now. And it’s such an interesting phenomenon that it’s growing because if we look back in history, it’s always been history is the story. We look at all the different communities and people and parts of the country that we study, and it’s all done in stories, folklore, or even songs, right? What’s a good country song? It’s a heart story or something along those lines, but we remember the words because it’s a story.

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s true. And it brings to mind what Maya Angelou said that, “It doesn’t matter about the statistics, or what you said, or anything other than the fact that they will remember how you made them feel.”

Kricket Harrison: Absolutely, what better way to do it than with stories, right? And that stories are such an interesting concept for a couple of reasons. When we share a story, if I come to you, Barbara, and I share with you a story, and that story might be how I got here, or it might be something I’m up to that’s really important, and I and I share it with you. You naturally become engaged in my story, and the human response normally is for that person to want to be a part of the story’s success.

That’s why so often, people may not remember the whole thing. But they’re like, oh, how was that thing you are working on, because they want to know they are now engaged in your story and who you are in, in your success, and they want to be a part of it, you know, it really creates in that oxytocin release that that chemical of you are now connected through the story.

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s absolutely true. And that’s actually a good secret for why things go viral. Because if I hear something about a company’s backstory, or I hear an interesting story about it, or the people that work in the company, I might tell a friend and say, Hey, did you hear about this person, and they’ll tell someone who tells someone who tells someone, and that’s not going to happen if the company only just talks about features and what they have to offer.

Kricket Harrison: Right. And that’s why you hear so much right now about being vulnerable. And, and being vulnerable to me means being real. It doesn’t mean making stuff up. It doesn’t always have to be a sad story. If people are kind of caught up, especially in the speaking world. If we talk about your signature story, your business story is the story of how it happened, or it’s part of what you’re known for.

But it doesn’t have to be a sob story. But when you still share something, I was speaking with a client earlier. And she has a fascinating story. And when she shares her story, it’s like we want to be a part of it. We get pulled into it. It’s not necessarily a sob story. It’s not even a story I can relate to. But part of the reason she tells her story is so that I can relate to her. And so, it doesn’t always have to be a sob story.

I think people think there always has to be like, like in a Disney movie, right? There has to be something bad that happens, and then you climb out, and you succeed. And we always hear about the hero’s journey. But the hero’s journey can be very different. And ideally, we want it to be because if everybody’s story follows the same format, then it’s like watching the Hallmark movie where we know the ending before it starts, right? It’s great, nonviolent, and might be great just for a mindless movie we’re in. But when we already know the ending, we’re much less likely to pay attention.

Dr. Barbara Hales: I think that’s important to keep in mind, because some people might say, “Oh, my God, I’ve had no tragedy in life. How can I be a good speaker? What is it that I would speak about?” That’s something to keep in mind that it does not have to be about tragedy people are just interested in you and what you have to say if you’re authentic.

Kricket Harrison: It can be about experiences. You know, lots of stories we hear about everybody thinks you have to kind of air your dirty laundry, and you don’t, it’s about having the engaging story. The key is that the story has to be about the audience or the client. That’s one of the things I think business owners struggle the most with is they get the audience and the marketing message.

But when we start talking about okay, but how do you speak about things, we get caught up in what we offer and bonuses and discounts or sales, or you know, what you can buy, and you can get this now, or what’s the insurance or whatever that looks like that. And we think that sets us apart. And we have to remember that it’s really about the audience. That’s why everybody includes testimonials.

And that’s actually why legally now the testimonials have to have a name or something to them, which we’re really not supposed to just put initials. Ideally, they’re not made up because it’s really about the benefits, results, and the other person. So, it’s great to tell our story. But we have to make our story about the other people and engage them so that they know it relates to them so that they don’t say, “Oh, she’s not talking about me. I’m going to check out.”

Speaking vs. Marketing Copy

Dr. Barbara Hales: that is really a key factor to keep in mind. Now how is it different speaking than writing marketing copy?

Kricket Harrison: Well, again, we’re coming at it from different mediums speaking is so let me put it this way. If you’ve ever tried to write a book and someone tells you to speak your book, if you’re not a great writer, someone tells you to speak your book. I’ve done that many people have done that. And what happens is it doesn’t come out quite the same. The grammar is not always the same. It doesn’t convey the same now a really good copywriter and those are very important to have somebody to really grab your voice but you have to make sure it’s your voice.

You know I’ve had someone helped me with something who changed my verbiage changed my words. And I’m like, that’s not my word. And come to find out it was his wife’s word. I’m like, No, we got the wrong voice in here, right? So, the marketing message is usually at some level a call to action to create a sale to get people to your website to get people to come into your business to get people to choose you, maybe as primary care or as their health and wellness person over someone else.

It’s designed to bring people in speaking the spoken message is about creating the conversation. Creating the connection through voice. We text and email so much now that tone can be misunderstood. Things can get misinterpreted, and we’re losing a little bit of that human connection. I mean, we all experienced that, during this pandemic, we have great technology. But being and connecting with people and hearing and feeling something through voice gets to you and reaches you at a different level.

And not only that, when you create a conversation, when you can be at a networking event, or at you know, the PTA meeting or in the line at the grocery store or something. And you can talk to people it allows for the space of Oh, Barbara, tell me how do you do that? or How did you get into medicine? or What did you practice or what made you move to what you’re doing now It allows for the next step. in marketing, it’s kind of a one-way message. It’s great, and we need it. And again, you know, really good marketing is essential.

But that next, that reply, we’re wanting a click, we’re wanting them to pick up the phone, we’re putting the ball in their court and hoping they hit it back. When we’re able to speak with someone and establish that rapport and talk about what we do in a way that allows them to ask questions back, we get more engagement, we get more connection that makes people want to know you more. And here’s the piece whether or not they use you is not the point, it makes you more referral.

I know for me, I have referred people that before I had a doctor referral. And I hadn’t even been to the doctor yet. And people are like, Oh, do you know someone that does this? I’m like, well, this is the person I get referred to all the time. I’ve never even met him yet, right? But the word of mouth and conversation. allowed for loud, space, that I would not have felt comfortable with just reading something on a pamphlet or on a website.

Changes and Adapting

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s true, just making it more human really tells it well. How do you make communication between people that are, you know, how do you know what floats other people’s boats? When so many things are changing nowadays?

Kricket Harrison: It’s a great question. And that’s the answer, you ask questions. You know, Barbara, how is this for you? How are things going? What’s working in your business right now? You know, what, have you seen change and you start listening for the answers? I think we have been conditioned sometimes with the internet.

It’s so fast, right? We know we can go to the Google machine and get an answer right or wrong. in two seconds, flat, and I’ve seen this come over into businesses and teams, we there’s always a need almost to get it done yesterday or to answer immediately. And, you know, it goes back to that old adage, we have to listen, sometimes we forget to listen, we’re already formulating our answer, or our opinion before we’ve heard everything. And again, we have to ask the questions, we have to be open to the conversation versus prepping in our head, how we’re going to show that we’re the expert, and that we’ve got the right answer.

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s true. And the thing to keep in mind is if you’re going to ask the question, you have to listen to the answer.

Kricket Harrison: Exactly. Since our direction is for doctors, you have to be open to that answer depending on where you go. You have to be open to the possibility of that answer and response and know that yes, there is expertise and there is training there. And that’s why you went there.

And from a communication standpoint, it’s really fascinating. Because we often and I know I’m preaching to the choir at this point, because I’m sure your listeners have experienced this. Clients or patients often hear what they want to hear, or they don’t quite hear it correctly, right? They might miss a key piece or misunderstand something. And so, in that situation, I always encourage people you know, write it down or record it or have somebody else there with you, too. Make sure that there’s no room for miscommunication.

And again, that’s where those questions you’re right, the other person has to listen, you have to listen to the answers. And then you have to ask clarifying questions. Right? It’s okay, so what does that mean? So, when you say this, what does that look like? How will that affect me? What will that be? What does this do? For me what you know, what is you have to, you have to we can’t make assumptions, there’s so much out there to confuse people already, that we have to kind of cut through the noise. But in order to do that, we have to listen. And you’re right, it has to be on both sides.

Dr. Barbara Hales: Right? Well, I always encourage having an advocate with you, in a medical facility, because they’re always going to hear things that you might not hear with nervousness and anxiety, you may only hear like one out of every three sentences or one out of every two sentences.

And if there’s bad news, then everything after the bad news is just going to be like “bla, bla, bla,” and they’re going to totally miss it. Yes. But the thing that you also bring out, which is key is that instead of just having your own agenda, when you’re asking these questions is you have to allow not just the patient, but you know, clients as well, to direct the conversation, and to take it in a direction that they are interested in, which may or may not have been, you know, something that you even considered prior to the conversation.

Kricket Harrison: Right? You have to be open to, in any business, it doesn’t matter where you are. It’s, it’s about. So, in one sense, yeah, we want to make business and I want to say we want to close the sale. But it’s also in order for the client to hear what they need to hear what’s the door they will walk through. Now, oftentimes, when I’m working with speakers, they don’t walk through the door of can you help me with my speaking, they walk through the door of can you help me get booked.

I have to meet them where they are in order for us to be able to communicate and hear each other. And it’s the same and it’s really interesting, because I love the way you talked about bringing in an advocate, I think that’s important on that marketing messaging business side as well, how we say things in our own world, like, you know, Barbara and I are sitting down here talking about all sorts of things, marketing, and tech and tech or back end,

how we say things might not be clear to the outside person, but makes perfect sense to us. So again, from the communication standpoint, is the language we’re using is what we’re doing. Is that mainstream enough, we always say, make sure it’s something that you know, a fifth-grader can understand. And I always tell my clients, yes, but still treat them as an adult, don’t talk down to them. Just use words that are repeatable, that they get.

Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s true. Recently, I had a wonderful experience of interviewing Nigel Faraj at the London Stock Exchange. And I asked him what social media platform that he liked the best. His answer was Instagram, I asked him whether he did all his own posts. And he said, “You know, I do the post, but I have a buddy, and especially when I am obsessed or upset about what I’m going to say.”

I always run it by my buddy before posting it. And you know, like his buddy is a younger, much younger person who is not in politics and is fresh, not tainted, who speaks really more to the public, which I’m sure some of our political leaders could have used prior to getting on their social media. Yes. So anyway, it has really been a great pleasure speaking with you today.

And for all you listeners out there, I want to let you know that cricket has very graciously offered to give a free top 10 things every speaker should have a toolkit. I simply by going into smart success forward slash speaker tool kit, but that’s also going to be written in the show notes in case you missed that so that you will definitely be able to access it and be Between you and me, it’s definitely worth getting. I’ve taken a peek at it. And I can tell you firsthand, you don’t want to miss it.

Kricket Harrison: It was supposed to be a checklist and it came out in paragraphs of so if you’re out there speaking it’s kind of the things and attack and some of the backend things you need to know about what how to do things right now, right and this virtual hybrid crazy world.

Dr. Barbara Hales: Well, I appreciate it. And I am sure our listeners will too, then you so much for being here with us today, Kricket.

Kricket Harrison: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Dr. Barbara Hales: This has been another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors, with your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Till’ next time!