How to Piss Off an Entire Audience You Paid For: It’s not just about “The DRESS”

This is my story about a gifted, (monetarily successful) entrepreneur and speaker you might know and the point where she offended a room full of people, and how you can avoid making the very expensive mistakes she made.

I’ve been to 2 exciting women’s business conferences lately. I’ve seen many female speakers and to be honest, 85% of them SUCKED. But guess what? Most of them were fairly well dressed. Meaning…. they presented themselves professionally with their hair, makeup, a nice dress and usually, nice heels.

It's not just about the Dress!

It’s not just about the Dress!

One in particular did a great job sharing her healing technique and her expertise and we were all warmed up and excited to hear her offer. Then she SHAPE SHIFTED! She slid her leg sideways into a wide, football player stance and delivered a hard sell pitch. She left her beautiful, warm, feminine, healing brand and personal essence and shapeshifted into a masculine shark seller. One person commented later, “it was like she took this sharp, left turn…!”

I appreciated what she had presented (despite her creepy pitch), so I visually engaged her after her talk to thank her, and she literally ran over to me with an intense, desperate energy and tried to sell me her program. When I shared politely that I was not buying programs at this time, she closed her eyes while she was talking to me and leaned back. She literally could not even look at me in the eyes.

I knew from her personality split and her behavior in that moment that she was a deeply wounded and insecure individual that needed healing herself. I mentioned to her that if she ever needed a stylist, that I would love to be considered. (This is often where my healing work starts with people, and an easy way for me to get my foot in their closet to begin to address any unhealed wounds that are popping up.) She said, “Well….I found the dress that works for me.” She didn’t know how to receive appreciation, how to have a conversation, how to not sell, how to build relationships, how to receive feedback or how to act like a normal person networking in a conference. She was having a full fear storm, and it was not pretty. Not only did she turn me off, but everyone else in the room avoided her like the plague for the rest of the conference. She left early. And she paid at least $5,000 to be there.

This person was suffering (among many other things) from a belief in 2 lies.

LIE #1) I can hide my issues and trauma and be a fully functioning, well~respected business figure and speaker.

LIE #2) If I just have the right DRESS, I can show off my biceps and figure and no one will notice my posture, energy, fear, insecurity, Grandma hair, old school shoes and makeup, and inappropriate social behavior.


Let me suggest the truth.

We can fool NOOOOOBODY.

The benefits of this current ‘consciousness shift’ is that we can all see your sh*t, my sh*t, our sh*t and it’s time to heal it and deal with with, BEFORE we get on stage.

Now don’t get me wrong, we are all in this together. Many of us are working on our issues, image and marketing AND we do need to get on stage soon. What do we do if we are not more “complete” on our healing process?

What if we don’t have time to do this work before we get on our most immediate stage?

Don’t try to fake it!

It’s better to be an authentic mess and be working on it, and offer our best services and message to the people who will “get it”, than a fake (insecure) ‘bitch’ impersonating as a successful coach. Seriously.

No one’s buying your Bullsh*t, Honey.

In short (and boy have I seen some short dresses!) A COCKTAIL DRESS COSTUME will not fool people into believing you are successful. Or a photo of you flying through the air in a tutu.

Just sayin’.

(Unless your brand is as a circus performer or lounge singer.)

The value you offer and your personal integrity will sell your success. Personal integrity is saying, “You know, I’m terrified right now to ask you for your business, but I’m going to do it anyway. Will you breathe with me, here?” Wouldn’t that have been funny, sweet, adorable and connected this woman to her rightful clients? I think so.

I’ve seen this behavior become more rampant in the coaching industry and frankly, it’s made me want to pull the word “COACH” off my website. I no likey.

The truth is, we’re all a mess. Even the most beautiful and perfectly poised among us. Even those (and maybe especially those) 6 and 7 figure entrepreneurs, because they are willing to grow really fast and have it look MESSY along the way.

What really sells your success? Being authentic, loving yourself and others, providing amazing value and service and being willing to keep trying and growing and showing up, even when you feel like a hot mess, because we all have those days and stages in our business. Your website might go down at a critical moment, you might flub up a teleseminar, screw up a sale…but keep bringing that AWESOME HEART of yours to the table, even if it’s not perfectly coiffed.

Do your healing work. Bring your authentic message to your perfect people. Love yourself enough to get rid of the old image of you that no longer serves or represents you and step into your Updated, (Healed and Healing) Authentic Soul Style!
AND bring that Sassy Self to the Stage ~ Safely!!!

With love and beauty and fierce honesty,
Auretha Callison
Visibility Expert & Soul Stylist

*Occasionally and often a Hot, in-the-midst-of-Healing Mess!*

31 Replies to “How to Piss Off an Entire Audience You Paid For: It’s not just about “The DRESS””

  1. Love it!
    And of course you know it reminded me of my days in “church world”…A much needed message in that arena as well.
    I found that being honest about where I was in my process helped me connect to my audience and them to me. People appreciate and value authenticity!

  2. Auretha, this is a fantabulous post! Dealing with the shit before getting onstage is a HUGE part of dealing with fear and stage fright. Hopefully, more women than not will get that and get healed. Kudos to you for leading the fray! =)

  3. I SO agree Jill!

    I’ve enjoyed getting to meet the real “imperfect” you, and I think that it’s so much more empowering to connect with people from that place of authenticity!

    I’m so happy we made it through that period in the “church world” and that we made it out as friends.

    I love you,

  4. Thanks Pamela! :)You know, it’s EASIER too. I never mind when someone states how they’re really feeling It moves the energy and then they just come back into their essence. Thanks for the reminder that we don’t have to have stage fright if we are present with ourselves.


  5. Great article Auretha. I was talking to someone the other day about how people must be careful about creating personas that are totally out of alignment with who they are. I realize your situation is much deeper, but it’s all still just an icky thing to experience. I hope that she first realizes how people are experiencing her and then gets the support she needs. Thanks for sharing. (-;

  6. OMG I love love love it. As a speaking trainer, I agree 85% of women don’t present well on stage. They try to be too darn masculine and push from their chest (which reads as trying too hard, not enough) instead of dropping into their belly, opening their womb (vulnerable / connection) and trusting that connection. It drives me bonkers!!!

    I had a VIP client who did a full day workshop today and she was MAGNIFICENT. In her feminine power the whole time. Her invitation was SO well received and based on all the people talking with her after, I bet she has a bunch of new high paid clients coming on … and all by BE-ing her presence and in integrity the whole time.

    Some women say to me that my work is so cool but then go hire a man to train them to speak and they turn them into men. I imagine their insecurities and lack of trust in their authentic power gets them going that way.

    I used to be so hurt by it but now I see that the clients who work with me are truly ready to bravely go to that place…. and it is beautiful.

    THANK YOU so much for boldly speaking about this.

  7. Felicia,
    I’m so happy you commented.

    It’s hard for me to understand how people could actually think that we are all so blind? dense? gullible? as to believe what they are selling as their persona/brand is true, yet many people do. Many female entrepreneurs buy into very expensive programs with no real results. It’s very sad. Then they are far in debt, and in further need of help in their business!

    On a personal note: I have experienced you twice, and I’ve loved your personal style and personality. As I’ve gotten to know you more, your expertise and presence has only become greater in my perception.

    I look forward to enjoying more of you and what you offer to the world in the future.


  8. Thank you, Auretha, for your willingness to speak your mind.

    I hope that the speaker that you write about here gets your point. However, even if she doesn’t, I think your comments will make a profound positive difference for a lot of other people.

  9. Cindy,
    I love you and your biz! Thank you so much for sharing this valuable info and also supporting women in using their own, authentic voice!
    I’m on your email list and looking forward to learning MUCH more from you!!

    Lots of love,

  10. Thank you Bruce. I think she will get it when she’s ready for it, and she clearly wasn’t that day! 😉

    It’s more about me learning from this and sharing with other people what they need to do and who they need to be to become TRULY SUCCESSFUL!

    And I’m sending her love and hope for her healing. (Silently!) 😉

    Thank goodness the 1980’s are loooong gone!


  11. I love to share! I want to start a revolution on this. I know in time that my work is going to be international because it is so deep and more and more women want to be real

  12. Auretha, this is the best article I’ve read in a long time. You rock! You should connect with Cindy Ashton if you haven’t already. You two would complement each other’s work so well! I just now saw that she posted above. Funny! Keep up the good work, girl!

  13. Beth,
    That really encourages me to write. Thank you SO much! I love Cindy and just found her work recently. Please keep in touch!
    XO Auretha

  14. Pamela,
    It’s always SO WONDERFUL to hear from you! Your company is amazing and so are you!
    How are things??
    XO Auretha

  15. I find your message about getting your act together before you get on stage is so hypocritical. If we all have issues to deal with, then no one is qualified to give others advice.

  16. Hi Auretha,

    Very interesting post. I have to say a agree with coming across with maile energy at the hard sell time doesn’t work.
    No one likes to be sold too. But I do think we are all evolving in our businesses, stepping out and trying new things in this age.
    For that I give her credit, as I am sure you would too.

    Now on the other hand being authentic and building a relationship with your audience after the speech as well as on the stage is a must! Totally stinks that she couldn’t take nicely stated advise.

    Keep posted you are a gift!


    I appreciate your words and I enjoy your gift of writing.

  17. Loved this:

    “What really sells your success? Being authentic, loving yourself and others, providing amazing value and service and being willing to keep trying and growing and showing up …”

  18. I loved this! I’m about to get on stage for the first time on Monday and I’m nervous that I’m not going to be able to connect with my audience and thats the most important thing I desire to do. Everytime I check in I kept hearing, don’t try to get this perfect, don’t try to appear like you’ve got it all together. People are coming are touched by your story, and your story isn’t perfect, so that’s wear the juice is. Authenticity and integrity is owning that sometimes you don’t know.

    I get the sense Auretha that you are extremely talented in picking up others energies (and fears). I doubt that “she” has much awareness around this area at all, and maybe she really does need your help to see through this block.

    Glad to connect with you here! Wonderful work you are doing.

  19. OMG. Excuse the typos… perhaps wear, or where, was a Freudian slip of the mind! Its not just about the dress. Whoopsies. Embodying my imperfections I guess.

  20. Thanks for sharing your feelings. I hope you heard the balance that I offered in the entire article.

    Yes, we are all dealing with our own stuff, learning from it and teaching others. We are all qualified to give others advice in different areas. I heard her advice and actually complimented her on her worthy expertise, even when it was delivered in a very harsh, inappropriate way at the end.

    I offered to work FOR her, which is really saying something! I wanted the best for her and to help her in the areas where her unhealed hurts were glaring through. She was not open to feedback, which is a critical skill. If you’re going to be on stage in any way, you have to be able to hear FEEDBACK, which is why I am thanking you for yours.

    This woman hurt herself, and her audience, as we all can, and I wanted to provide some encouragement to others on how they can avoid the pitfalls that occurred for this individual. It was hard to watch and hard to hear, and she lost alot of money and influence that day.

    About me being hypocritical, here’s a funny story about why I’m qualified to give advice. I’m imperfect and my job is to help people with their imperfections. Funny how that works. Similar to when I was a makeup artist. I look REALLY BAD without makeup. I USE MAKEUP~ALOT therefore I AM MORE QUALIFIED TO GIVE ADVICE ABOUT MAKEUP! And I have a super curvy body, so dressing and looking good for me has been really hard. So now, I’m good at it. Because I’ve worked on it really hard.

    I LOVE helping people look and feel better and heal their hurts, because I’ve had to work so hard on it myself.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Love and Beauty,

  21. Jody,
    I love hearing from you. Thank you!

    Yes, I appreciated her so much I tried to THANK HER and offered to help her! One of my friends had an even worse experience with her after that talk, which I did not mention. It was bad.

    There are very few speakers I’ve seen screw up as noticably as this lady, and it’s sad. But it’s all the more encouragement for us to do a great job, help people and have fun while doing it!

    The message is: We can’t hide our true selves. We have to deal with our stuff and get healed. Because no one’s falling for the hype anymore!

    And that’s a good thing.

    XO Auretha

  22. Jeannette,

    As you do so AWESOMELY at! You are the most amazing coach.
    You are every word of the above!

    XO Auretha

  23. Chloe,

    Gotta love TYPOS. Aaack.
    I’m over-the-moon about being a voice in the darkness from that place of fear for a brave speaker to be herself and speak from her heart. You are hearing correctly!

    Don’t you love the Still Small Voice?? It’s never wrong.

    What an honor for me to be encouraging to you, so that YOU can be encouraging to others!!!

    I will hold you in my heart on Monday. Feel free to text before you go on stage! 801.694.8092

    I’m sure you’ve seen the Brene Brown Ted Talks on vulnerability?

  24. Laura,
    That means so much to me. I had to stick my neck out on this one a little bit.

    Thanks for making it easier.

    Xo Auretha

  25. It took me a couple of days to really digest this post because it was my event you are speaking of and a colleague I highly respect was the other event you mentioned. I know the speaker you are talking about and I learned a lot from her, as well as each speaker I invite to be on my stage at my events.
    You have some really good points and there is nothing more saddening to see than to see how a person shows up differently on stage than off stage. AND it takes a lot of freakin’ courage to get up on stage knowing you aren’t perfect. People pick you apart, just as you have done with this speaker.

    The collusion I’ve come to is this:
    ~When you speak on stages then you do have “off” days but always know that your message does work for someone in the audience. You can never make everyone happy. Auretha, I hope that when you step into the role of a speaker that people in the audience will see you through the eyes of compassion.
    ~ Everything we experience we co-create.
    ~ We see things in others that only we recognize somewhere within ourselves. The good, the bad, the judgments, the compassion, all of it.
    ~ When I’m triggered, I always try to go back to this “what would love do here?”
    ~ How you show up is so much more than the clothing. This is why your work is so important that you do with people Auretha, so they can heal the shit and show up authentically in their energy and in their dress. And you help people find amazing shoes so that is just the cherry on top.

  26. Yes I’m lucky Ms. Angella to help pick out the shoes!

    I’m sure it was hard for you to hear this because this incident occurred at your event. I know it affected you and I know we talked about it. I am using this one incident to address an industry problem, one which we have both spoken about.

    I’m sick of this inauthentic crap and high pressure sales.
    And I’m talking about it.
    No one does, and it’s a problem.

    Many if the speakers really did not do well, and people notice. You had some really great ones too!. You have great content or I would not have been there. I promoted it and you for good reason.. It was sad that some of these speakers did not reflect well on you or our esteemed colleague, because you are both so awesome. You know Ive had to drop some of my providers when they ceased making me look good by serving my customers poorly. It sucks. It sucks that we are all judged, and judged by association.

    It’s a problem when you go to hear experts and you end up hearing newbies. That’s not what you’re there for. People hate it, and it makes them not want to go to events anymore. Its expensive to travel and time consuming, and diluted teaching waters down the power of your event.

    This incident was much worse than a bad speaker. People experienced troubling physical symptoms and I discussed with you what this person said and did to our friend. This was not someone just trying to do a good job on stage, and failing, there was something seriously wrong, and it affected many people in a negative way. So I’m not judging this person too harshly, I’m wanting to protect other people and just remind people to wake up and be aware.

    At the other event, you missed quite a few speakers, and caught the good ones! Nice manifesting!

    I intend to become an awesome speaker and was thrilled to have that realization hit me at your event! It was worth going just for that, AND I didnt want to miss a minute of your content.

    I’m just using a noticable event in my life to make a statement about a few things that arent working for me, not knocking you or your event. It was unfortunate and I’m gleaning the best I can from it. 😉

    Lots of respect, Auretha

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