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They all laughed when I stood up on the podium…

Welcome to today’s issue of Conversion Alchemy Journal. If you received this from a friend and enjoy it, subscribe here.

I was petrified.

Almost about to fake being sick, just so I could sidestep it.

And like you normally do when you dread something, I’d procrastinated til last minute.

I was supposed to give my first official Toastmasters speech that very night — and I didn’t have a single word on paper (or in mind) yet.

So, I told myself: “Wait, you’re a copywriter Chris. Public speaking should be about transferring ideas from your head, to other people’s heads. Public speaking is actually selling ideas!”

So I sat down, and, like a professional as Steven Pressfield would say, I did not wait for inspiration; I acted in anticipation of it (paraphrased).

Now your first Toastmasters’ speech, is supposed to be a simple introduction: who you are, what you do and why you joined the club. But as any copywriter worth their salt would, I thought “screw basic”.

Let’s make this epic.

And so I went on a journey through how my 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat went, back in 2019, what I learned from it, and how it all ties to joining Toastmasters. After rushing to write it, practicing it a couple of minutes right before the meeting in the evening, I thought it was decent.

But then it was go time.

My heart racing… then I started to voice what I wrote.

And I felt calm.

Almost like an inner confidence that my copywriting skills would take care about the end result, if I just followed my script.

How did it go?

Way better than I expected.

I won an award and got plenty of positive feedback (some saying it was the best ever 1st speech they’d ever witnessed).

Sorry for the click batey subject line, but no one laughed.

I mean, maybe in a couple of intentionally funny sections of the speech.

But what struck me the most was how a ton of people cam up to me after, to ask about Vipassana, and shared how vivid and compelling the story was (you can have a read here).

I was pretty proud.

My goal here is not to brag, but to point out the fact that writing good copy, is a superpower.

And when applied to public speaking, you are literally selling ideas.

What’s even more incredible, is how fast the feedback loop is. No weeks of AB tests or copy testing to wait for. No waiting on stakeholders or designers to get their job done. You just move your ideas from your mind, into the ether, and see what other human beings pick up and get “sold” on.

So, what did I learn from writing and presenting my speech?

Here’s 5 things nobody tells you about what public speaking does for you:

  • Be a minimalist: initially I started jotting down 3 lessons from my meditation retreat. I ended up with one. When it comes to moving ideas into other people’s heads, the fewer the better. Just focus on making them stronger and more compelling.
  • Sure talk about yourself, but remember, nobody cares: I’d centered my speech around my own journey and experience, but by the end of it, the little copywriter devil on my shoulder kept urging me to make it about THEM. So I connected my own experience to what listeners could learn from it and transitioned into how they could apply it to their own Toastmasters’ journey.
  • People forget that details matter, copywriters don’t: if you’re a copywriter, or have ever written any customer-facing copy, you know how important using vivid and descriptive details is when trying to communicate your ideas. Everything that sets the scene, takes the reader into the action and makes them FEEL the story. If you’re obsessed with the details, it’s a great sign and when you use them properly, your readers who are not used to thinking that way, will notice. It’s what ChatGPT still can’t get right.
  • They will notice yes, but they won’t realize they did: I just said people will notice the details, but by “notice” I mean they will internalize them. They won’t however realize you injected them on purpose. When a story is written well, readers are free to enter it, and live it fully, without having to worry about any of the structure or the “how you did it” part.
  • Read your copy out loud: practicing a speech after you wrote it down, is a crazy helpful exercise to gauge the effectiveness of your copy. Because that’s when you realize how much the cadence and rhythm in your writing matter. The pauses, the emphasis, the volume… all things we as copywriters know are great, but don’t really “understand” until we actually throw our copy on our vocal chords. When in doubt, speak your copy.

If you’re hesitant about getting out there and facing your public speaking fears, just know that your copy can only benefit from you doing so.

Not only your copy, but your actual ability to sell ideas, to anyone, anywhere.

Join your local Toastmasters club, start or get on a podcast, host a workshop… no matter what you do, think “copy+speaking= superpower”.

📚 3 things to get better at copywriting

Video: How to launch a niche B2B app

One of my idols, luxury real estate broker and CEO Ryan Serhant just launched their app for real estate sales people. Their presentation video, is a masterclass on messaging for niche B2B businesses and using social proof/case studies to do it effectively.

I mean, check out to that sexy VOC!

It’s also another signal for this trend of adapting AI tech to super niche use cases.

video preview

Article: The new gold rush

Loved this take from Rowan Cheung on what the new gold rush looks like in 2024:

Human-generated content is the new gold for AI model training, and users are quickly finding out that their data is a hot commodity. With angry consumers blindsided by their posts being used without consent and with a disregard for privacy, the backlash will only intensify.

Swipe file: Books for hooks

Want to get ideas for your hooks? Get off the internet, go to your nearest bookshop and just look at the books on display. There you go, dozens of great hook ideas for you right there.


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✅ Don’t miss it

Episode 4 of The Message-Market Fit podcast is out. 🚀

I had a super insightful chat with Eliana Daboul, VP of Marketing at ShareID. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to Extract Actionable Insights from the Advertising World
  • How You Can Navigate the Shift to B2B Marketing and SaaS Successfully
  • How to Develop Winning Marketing Strategies for B2B SaaS
  • How You Can Expand Your Tech Product to Different Markets Effectively
  • How to Gain a Competitive Edge with Your Startup
  • How to Balance User Research and Conversion Optimization for Better Results
  • How the Role of Design Influences Messaging and Engagement
  • How to Use LinkedIn Effectively for B2B Marketing Success

And way way more.

Check it out here, wherever you listen to podcasts or on Youtube. And if you find it valuable, would you consider subscribing and leaving a rating? 🙏

🤔 Thought of the week

If you want to be fully alive—excited to get up in the morning, firing on all cylinders during the day, feeling like your life has purpose—you have to face the truth: there’s always going to be a downturn, and you’ll always have to fight your way back up again. — Phil Stutz, Coming Alive

The work is never done, and sometimes you’ll have to do it all over again. But that’s part of growing. Progress is not a straight line.

Have a great weekend!

Chris Silvestri

Founder, Conversion Alchemy

🙌🏻 Let’s be friends (unless you’re a stalker)

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Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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