In this episode, we get to chat with the fabulous Lila Smith, she started a brand new way of thinking and messaging platform called, say things better. For the first time ever she talks about her journey that’s not available on any other podcast. The story of Lila Smith as she goes from Theater to Coaching to developing a system that helps you says things better. So come back on Friday to check out Lila’s episode and learn to say things better.

Our Guest

Lila Smith

Hacks to take Away

  • Collaborations are the milestones, the stepping stones to bigger and better things.
  • The collective wisdom is sometimes easier to hear than the wisdom in our heads like you probably knew about stuff you could have been focusing on. But to hear a whole group of people reinforcing it. That’s really powerful.
  • Everything happens for a reason and the opportunities that are in our life or put there whether it’s by God, or by chance.
  • We all have one life, and lots of different pieces of experience that might seem desperate, they might seem like they’re all over the place but we each are the through-line in our story.
  • it almost doesn’t matter what the words are through this part of it. it’s just the way you’re going to make someone feel with your communication. So being intentional about those things.
  •  If you make your voice go higher here and then lower here, it will sound more interesting.
  • If you want to have an impact on someone, if you want to have an influence, at that moment, you have to be intentional this way about your communication. 

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Read Full Transcript

Junaid Ahmed 0:11
thank you for tuning in to hacks and hobbies with your host Junaid. in season two of hacks and hobbies were visited by our amazing guests coming from all walks of life want to learn their story, their struggles and their journey on how they got to where they are today. so stick around.

in this episode, we get to speak with the fabulous laila smith, she started a brand new way of thinking and messaging platform called, say something better. the last time i spoke with laila was over a year ago, and we were both in totally different places. and everything that we're talking about now is all just a figment of our imagination. and now, you know, we've taken the time and made it a reality. i didn't even know if i was going to start a podcast and there was going to have guests on it. and now i'm, you know, a year later, that's exactly what i'm, i'm loving doing this, because i'm learning so much from my guests, and my audience is, you know, a great feedback outlet. so, laila, thank you so much for taking the time and jumping on this podcast episode.

Lila Smith 1:32
oh, thank you for having me. it's say things better.

Junaid Ahmed 1:36
so say things better? yeah, there you go.

Lila Smith 1:38
so say things better is something that came out like right after you and i last talked about a year ago in april, we were talking about just life at the time, which for me was working at this company. and just seeing that the most success i was having in my role that i had, was thanks to this experience, i having theater and how many communication skills it taught me, and how it wasn't something that gave me the ability to say things perfectly, just to say things better, because i had intention behind them. and you were i mean, you had your own, like, user experience life. and now you're, you're talking about the experience of so many different people, you're still diving into how other people experience the world. so i still see your dots connected, it doesn't surprise me that you're doing this. i think it's cool.

Junaid Ahmed 2:33
this is really cool. and the one thing that i didn't know, i mean, i end the longest, like, i've been connecting with people, just as a way to just connect on linkedin for the past 15 years, right? and i was like, okay, you know, it's good to have connections. but like, somehow, i just didn't know, okay, there's more to just connecting, there's this, this conversation that we have with each other, because in the back of our minds, you you meet somebody in like, oh, they have these really awesome experiences, i could totally learn from that, oh, there's some collaborations. and now we're seeing that, you know, that's the way the world grow has grown to where it is, like collaborations are the, the milestones, the the stepping stones to bigger and better things. yeah, for everyone. yeah, for everyone. and, like, that's something that didn't trigger in my head. for the past couple of years, i mean, the past couple years. and i think that's mainly because as you grow older, your your mind becomes in a different state. or maybe it's the books that i've been reading that triggered this stuff. or maybe it's all always been there, in one form or another, it just didn't have those firing mechanism, connecting those two dots together, because you're

Lila Smith 4:06
probably connecting some other dots.

Junaid Ahmed 4:09
so it's, it probably all comes around to having acquired a knowledge or an experience in one area. and then when you start building experience in a different area, and then you start seeing those parallels, like i see parallels and everything. now it's

Lila Smith 4:28
yeah, that's pretty cool. you know about collaboration, as a value or something to have as a goal. i think when you have a specific message in mind, it becomes much easier to feel the need for collaboration. as a specific thing, i need people to get behind this message. and i feel that about, say things better. before i felt that way, just about community. and not the community is no small thing. you know, i love it, i need it. i needed to feel brave, i need did you feel supported and not alone, that i have a place in the world. but i didn't have any specific projects that i needed collaborators for until i felt that i had something to say,

Junaid Ahmed 5:15

Lila Smith 5:16
and when you feel you have a platform, when you feel you have found that the message that you have to get out to as many people as possible, you have probably more of a natural instinct than ever before, to reach out and look for help and look for people to come in and help you do that.

Junaid Ahmed 5:36
that's so true.

that's really this really good point because and i can relate to that in a in a perspective from when i got into cycling, i was just doing what i knew. and i've been talking to other cyclists, and then a couple years ago, finally connected and my wife's friend was like, hey, my, my husband's into biking is your husband also into biking, then we got connected. and then we were like, oh, they have a whole bike team here going on. and then just going into that tribe and listening to them, you know, expanded my mind into what i should be looking at, oh, practice that

Lila Smith 6:22
that word tribe is really powerful. mm hmm. the collective wisdom is sometimes easier to hear than the, you know, the wisdom in our heads, like you probably knew about stuff you could have been focusing on. but to hear a whole group of people reinforcing it. that's really powerful.

Junaid Ahmed 6:38
yeah, yeah, absolutely. so tell us your journey. and story. i mean, you mentioned a little bit about, you know, having experienced in theater, and having experience in marketing and communications, like, how does all that came together? like, what was the path you took, or was the journey like,

Lila Smith 6:58
gosh, if i had known it was a path, i would have done it the same way. i just kind of wandered around feeling lost for a really long time. last but happy, you know, i was a happy person. and kristen sherry will tell you that this is because i have positivity as one of my top five strengths. so i naturally have this positive outlook. i like to see the glass half full, i like to see where there are blessings. i like doing that stuff. it's natural to me. so i didn't realize how unsettled i was in one place or another. and i didn't know that there was another option. it didn't even occur to me that i could take the different pieces of my life and smash them together to make something powerful. i had no idea. but the path that was laid out for me, you know, and i believe everything happens for a reason and the opportunities that are in our life or put their whether it's by god, or by chance that everybody the universe is conspiring to see me succeed. it happened. i spent 10 years in theater professionally, and really a bit of theater my whole life, you know, i came out a performer. and so my parents had no choice, but to put me in theater camp and send me to a theater, high school and peter college. and then i did perform professionally for about 10 years before i retired from the industry. and i also, you know, actors have to have a day job, just to support the lifestyle. and every expense that goes into being a successful actor. it's really such a money pit, same as being entrepreneurs same as being so i guess in that way, prepared me for that part of it too. same as being a musician, an artist, any kind of pursuit that takes a lot of your own personal capital. so actors have these extra day jobs. and a lot of people are waiters, and or bartenders, because they have flexible schedules or their different hours that you can work around your auditions. and for me, i kind of had this regular career as my day job. and i just had found a way to do remote work and to work for people who had flexibility with me. i had gone from retail to retail, wholesale, to customer service and the brand element of customer service communications, on site events, training other people managing departments and then moving into e commerce and managing departments there. so i had this just regular you know, it's a regular career. it wasn't regular. it was, it was pretty interesting. yeah, like that story of my other professional life is something that i don't even know is on any other podcast. but i it is interesting. it's an interesting story if we want talk about yeah,

Junaid Ahmed 10:02
yeah, that's, that's what this is about.

Lila Smith 10:04
okay, well, then i can because it's going to be the only place where this lives because i just never talked about this anymore. it's just it's part of the past, but it's part of my present to. so there was this one summer doing dinner theater, before professional theatre company in oneonta, new york. and i was there for college. and i stayed over the summer to do this work with this theatre company. so i was in a bunch of different plays and musicals. over the summer, i was a singing waitress. and during this summer, i had this extra cash. and i was it was like the first time that i felt, you know, great abundance in my wallet. because people were tipping the singing waiter. and i was getting a check for being of the show. and i just had this, you know, this money and low expenses for living in this small town. and a little lingerie store opened up called private doors. and it was owned by this woman, md pool, who i don't know if she's really of this world, she might be some kind of magical fairy, who was sent down from heaven to connect me to my greater, higher achieving self. because i walked in through the doors of this store. and first of all, it smelled gorgeous. there was eva cassidy music playing, and french music playing coming out of the open doors on a summer day in upstate new york. just the most beautiful, magical experience. and there's this woman this like light as a feather woman with a big smile on her face and smiles in her eyes. and she welcomes me in and she says hello, would you like to see something special? and i said, yes, i would like to say something special. that sounds great. and i walked in and store private drawers was all of these pieces of antique furniture that were stocked full of lingerie, new stuff, and also some beautiful vintage pieces, like silk bias cut night gowns from the 30s. and just the most exquisite things coming out of the most exquisite things, and led by this exquisite person. and i fell in love. and in that moment, you know, i had had, you know, the victoria's secret catalogs and things like that, that young girls are interested in like, oh, that would be cute, you know, but this was something else. this was another level, this was stuff that was really special. and when she invited me into that store for something special, that's exactly what i got. it was this transformative experience. and it kick started this love affair that i have with just the transformative power of lingerie and dressing from the inside out communication to myself first before i got dressed in the morning, no matter who's going to see it or not. this is for me, that foundational lee before i put anything else on my body, you know, there's fragrance and there is silk and their materials that are handmade and that this part of my being a powerful woman was something i had access to, through this handicraft through this tradition of dressing from the inside out. so and i still do i still wear like the most beautiful things that i can find that, you know, come in the right sizes that fit the feel good. and that was the beginning of this career. i wouldn't leave the store. i said, you know, i'm gonna have to be here every day. i spent as much money as i had. and i was like you you're never getting rid of me now. she said, well, would you like to work here? and i said, yes, yes, i would like to work i would like to live here.

and i did move into an apartment that was two doors down from the store. and i worked there for the rest of my college experience. and when i left, you know, i graduated and moved back down to new york city. it was leaving the town leaving the people that i knew there. the relationships i had made in local theater. it was so much more emotional of an experience for me leaving that community then actually graduating college and having this degree it just was something that i felt very powerfully moved by the orpheus theatre community, working with the bays families, sammy and sam dallas bays, and barbara bays. and katrina schuler and claudia capital, like there are so many people from that town, who i don't even know if they know what kind of an impact they had on me while i was there. but i know that empty pool now is i'm still in touch with her. and i, she's living in france now. and i've got to go visit her at some point. but that started it. and then when i moved to new york city, i got another job at a lingerie store called la petite. okay. and i was like the, you know, top in sales of these retail things, and we didn't make commission. so it was never like i was trying to make the biggest sales. what was different about the way i was selling was i wanted to give people with empty pool was giving them at private tours. i wanted to give them this transformative experience. and so i listened what what are the needs that you've come to me with? what do you have that i can help with? what is that for you? do you have presentations that you have to do and maybe some shapewear would make you feel more confident? do you have like a hot date later, and you need something to feel like even if he or she isn't going to see it, that you know what you've got going on underneath. and you you bring that part of yourself to the table. so i would listen to what people's things were they had going on. and i would find them the most empowering, beautiful things that i could find them. and because i was giving them things for their needs, and that included like running to the sale section, and getting things getting an armload of things. i said, okay, you've got $200, here are 10 things that you can have, you don't have to leave with just one thing that was an expensive store. so one bra could be $200. but this was my favorite thing to do is find stuff that was on sale or find things that were a good deal. and then people felt like oh, i can leave with 15 things, and five of them would be full price the rest of them wouldn't be. and those people were my diehards and would come back to work with me again and again. because they knew that i really cared about them their needs their budget, and gave them this special experience. yeah. and i'm still very much doing that providing the same kind of listening to what somebody needs are giving them that special experience, and calling out what of their needs, or what of their benefit might help their customers needs. it's just doing the same thing. and i didn't see it, you know, and i never, i talked about the theater elements of it. but so much of what we learned, as kids in retail really carries a lot of weight if we've listened to what those lessons are. so from there, i went to work at rebecca and drew manufacturing, which was a little store. and you know, i've moved around a couple of times, i went back to la petticoat cat several times, but i would keep leaving to go and do shows. and i would go on tour and i would be gone for six months. and i would then come back, hey, do you have any work for me and rebecca apps and the owner of the store did have worked for me sometimes. and then eventually she didn't anymore, they had more fully staffed. so i found another job at this store called rebecca and drew manufacturing in the west village of new york city. and this was a little store hot pink with a bunch of shirts inside. and the shirts were fit by bra sighs and i was trained as an expert profit or and i can still do this. this is like a handy little trick that definitely does not exist in any other podcast, me talking about, which is that i can look at a woman and tell you what her bra sizes. a lot of like a lot of my guy friends and somebody women friends to would really love this skill. and i'm telling you

tell me is so useless at parties because you can't bring it up. i mean, anyway, it doesn't take it doesn't take a lot of women long to learn that i can do this. but so i took my bra fitting skill into this shirt store where the shirts were fit by bra size, which eliminated that little gap between the buttons that women hate so much. and they were sizing these shirts using treo fit technology. and i loved i love so much these these shirts and the fit and i became you know, an evangelist of this company. and i kept talking about it every where i was only part time i was there two days, sometimes three days a week. well, you know, i was also auditioning and performing and working in new york city as an actress. and then i started doing some stuff kind of on the side for them. i suggested. i know some people from when i was in the luxury industry, you know, reps who would come in other luxury stores knew about the store that i had worked at. so anytime i was somewhere else in the country, i would mention it and form these relationships with the owners of lingerie stores. so i mentioned it to rebecca match it and andrew palooza who were the owners of rebecca andrew manufacturing and tree with that technology. and i said, you know, these shirts would be a great fit, so to speak, you know, at these lingerie stores, where the women who work there are trained to like i was to know someone size and to help them find the right fit. and to be involved in a shirt fitting experience that's really a lot more intimate than women are used to when they're shopping for regular clothes. yeah, so i started a trunk show initiative for them. and i would reach out to these lingerie stores. hey, it's laila from new york from la petite croquette. i started this, i think the first one i planned was on cape cod bedroom eyes boutique, which was owned by this woman, amy at the time. and i had gone into that store while i was hanging out with some of my theater friends on cape cod. and so she was like, hey, what do you what are you up to? i said, i got these shirts. and she said, bring them on up. so i brought the trial line of certs. and this was like giving the retail experience out of the box. i don't know if everybody listening knows what a trunk show is. but you take the selection of things that people can buy to a store that doesn't have that inventory yet or doesn't carry it yet. so it's kind of a special experience. and they show up and you you give them some stuff to look through. and you give them a fitting experience. so i would travel with these sets of try on shirts and swatch books that people could pick out their fabrics, like, like men have done for so long.

Junaid Ahmed 21:08
like a

traveling salesperson?

Lila Smith 21:12
yes, exactly. it was like a little traveling salesperson with a box full of navy blue try on shirts, for women had their bra size stitched on the cuff. i mean, they didn't you know, when we made the shirts, i didn't have the size on the cuff. but yeah, that's what they were. so i would sell it would take orders. and people would want five different shirts and five different materials. so it was a successful little program. and what it showed was that there was a want and a need for trio fit technology, you know, in women's garments that extended past this little store past our own e commerce site. and that really around the country, there were women who are craving a better fit. so, it paved the way for some other initiatives that the company wanted to do. and when they moved from the store to a showroom via by appointment only model i was the only one of the sales staff that they took with them. and i because i had started these trunk shows with them got a promotion and became the national sales coordinator. so i was doing all of this stuff then from having been the girl who was in musical theater and in retail, i now national sales coordinator for rebecca and drew manufacturing. and i kept planning these trunk shows and planning events. and then rebecca and drew which had been a proof of concept, luxury level brand for trio fit, closed. and they kept me on you know, they said there's something for you. and it's not, you know, we're not going to keep doing this line of shirts. but trio fit technology was partnering with in style magazine, make in styles first ever clothing line called in style essentials, which was to be a line of button front shirts fit by bra size. so these like perfect white shirts, were always on the in style list of all the things women have to have, you know, they give you like the top 10 god have it fashion things. and the perfect white shirt was always one of them. so it was again, so to speak, naturally a fit. and i was in charge of taking everything i knew about the treo fit brand voice, the science, the technology, everything that i had learned about the customer experience giving this luxury level customer experience. but making it accessible and having it carry a voice that was really very much like my own. yeah, very this is for you to very egalitarian, you know, this is in style. this isn't vogue. this has to include this isn't too, too distant. expert. yeah. so it wasn't excellent. it was inclusive. exactly. so we had this line of shirts that i then launched this mobile fit tour of with them. and we worked with people in marketing and events. and i worked with andrew therion at big orange productions, who i knew of because my actor friends had day job work working for his company, being brand ambassadors, you know, the people on the street who like will hand you a granola bar and say try this. yes, yeah, exactly. or in a store where they do sampling. so big orange productions, hires and casts actors to do that kind of work, you submit your headshot, and you tell them about yourself. and they pick the people that they think best represent the brands that they are hired to do these events for. so i knew about them, because my actor friends worked for them. and i knew how well they operated. so i brought them in as a partner. i said they have the best brand ambassadors, and i know that because they're hiring actors.

nit, they're hiring my friends, they must be hiring the best. and it's true. so i worked with them to do the mobile fit tour of in style essentials. and we were at different cities all over the country in this big rock star bus that had you know, wrapped around it that made it look like like a giant woman with a shirt on that was vaping. and then a whole shirt that was fitting. and we fit, we retrofit the inside with fitting rooms and shelves. and we hire the big orange productions brand ambassadors because every different city that we would go to, we needed people who could be on brand for in style essentials featuring to fit technology. and we needed them all to have the same voice. we needed them all to have the same skills. and we needed them to be somebody that we could go into any different city in an instant, we scale our staffing without bringing people on full time, because this was for events. so they were perfect. and it was my job to create the brand voice training manuals and how to fit the shirts. i did mobile, i did these remote fit training sessions, we did facetime, i don't think there was zoom communications at the time. so we used facetime. yeah. and we also did in person trainings for like 15 minutes in the morning. but it was really these phone calls that i did in the documentation that i created for, in style central's that taught the people at big orange, this is what we will need, this is what you need to do, this is what to get ready for. and i did fittings for them remotely to i would look at the girls over the camera, and i'd say she's probably 34 see, she's probably 32 d get that one a 36 g. and so, you know, they would send me their measurements, and i worked with them on scaling the fit. that was the that was the last job that i had that was like a lot of person to person face to face training and serving in a retail capacity. and there was all the customer service for online as well for the you know, the online customer experience. so website reviews, and i did the messages with customers, and fit consultations. and i lead all this stuff and trains the other people. and i showed them to work with us to. and then after that, like that didn't it was it was amazing. it was really cool. and it was a lot of fun. and i just like thinking about having come from a girl who sold underwear to pay the bills while she was auditioning to play a monster ball and st luke's beer. i mean, that was really that was a thing i did. so i've been come through this kind of traditional career path and learned on the job. and that was my day job. i wasn't waiting tables. i was learning this stuff. and all of the brand communications and all the emails like i handled all the all of that stuff with them. and all the customer experience. yeah. so then, when that company didn't work out and style magazine, and trio fit, decided to dissolve the partnership for yeah, like it was, i think it just was not what install had expected. and then i don't think they needed it. you know, they're already a big

Junaid Ahmed 28:38
conglomerate, if you think about it, right. so and the one thing that i kept thinking about when you were talking about traffic technology, and you know, the, because it's a very niche. right, it's a very niche.

Lila Smith 28:52

Junaid Ahmed 28:53
and in style being a magazine, you know, they thought that this niche is something that they could like, it could take them to the next level, but they're a much broader magazine. but yeah, not this is not the only thing that they're focused on. so that's

Lila Smith 29:09
why, right, and they had an agreement, you know, there, they were to be the media partner for the clothing line. and the partnership was like a licensing agreement. so it was just it just didn't work out for them to be the media partner for install central's the company anymore. and still, though, we had the in style name on all the clothes, so like good luck getting coverage, and other magazines, you know, it was a challenge, for sure. but it was a great experience. and everybody who has those shirts cherishes them, i've had people reach out to me about to fit technology, long after those shirts stop becoming available. i know that they're like, frequently searched on ebay and google. so i would love to know like what they're doing with them. because trio fit technology is the only way that i know of that i've ever been able to find button front shirts that fit. and i would happily champion them. and that's the other thing is that i've always done these jobs, that i would happily champion, you know, that i could stand behind and say, here are the things that are so powerful about what this brand does. and being a natural brand ambassador of the companies i've worked for has made me successful. so knowing that i that i can do that, i wouldn't want to wouldn't want to stay at a company that didn't have something i could be proud about. yeah, yeah. and so then when that company closed, i went to dna footwear. and that was the last job that i had, i came in as customer service manager and left after three something years, where i had been the director of e commerce and communications for that company. so i see the ladder, you know, if i go back, i see the ladder would say that i had planted or that anybody else shown me the way not at all. but that was that part of my corporate career was like in that way. and i've been doing marketing consulting on the side for companies like spelt, right, just a bunch of like, smaller companies. because i needed it because you know, again, like acting was a money pit. and then i had a wedding to pay for i had like all kinds of things in my life that were expensive. living in new york is expensive. and so i did everything that i could to use what i had, and help other people and make money. so my i guess my hobbies, were really just working to support my other work. and it just was stuff that i i kind of liked, but none of it really used all of what i have. now. until now. yeah.

Junaid Ahmed 31:53
and that's, that's what i see the powerful, you know, the you see the journey, and look at all the things that you've learned through that, and how you can now combine it. like, this is who i mean, because a lot of time people say oh, i, i regretted doing that. but that's the thing, right? you shouldn't be regretting, because if you hadn't taken that step, you wouldn't have gotten up the ladder or up the steps. yeah, cuz you have to go through different parts of the staircase. you know, there's the steep staircase, or there's a flattening flattening staircase. but again, it will all take you to a point where you are now today.

Lila Smith 32:35
yeah. and i could never have planned it for myself. i think people look at their own lives. and they see a lot of scattered stuff, right. so there's, there's another way to tell this story. i mean, i see the chronological trajectory, and how each thing led to the next, and how that led to what i'm doing now. but either way to tell this story is i don't know, i've worked all over the place. i've done retail, i've done wholesale, done shopping shop agreements, i've done marketing, and so people listening the bullet points without telling the story. yeah, they're not acknowledging the story for themselves. we all have one life, and lots of different pieces of experience that might seem desperate, they might seem like they're all over the place. yeah, but we each are the through line in our story. i'm the same person who sold lingerie the way that only i could. i'm the same person who trained 100 different brand ambassadors and different cities to represent a brand. like only i could. and i'm the person who stood up on stage and ran around with a bunch of little kids playing orphans and oliver playing nancy, their, you know, their friends and the leading lady in that play and that musical, like only i could. and i played him off the ball to like, only i could. and that's the thing is that, you know, that extra bit the like, only i could? yeah, that's the stuff that we need to be talking about when we do our own messaging, the whatever that is that makes the like only i could i do messaging for people, like only i can't, because i bring all of this experience behind me.

Junaid Ahmed 34:23
exactly. and that's, that's why i like to listen to these journeys, these stories, because there's so much power in those stories. that opens up your mind like none other. it's like reading a book that's specifically designed for you.

Lila Smith 34:40
yeah, a living book.

Junaid Ahmed 34:42
yes, a living book. and you can go back and ask questions. and you know, and and having it on a podcast, it's like, okay, i can go back to it and listen, oh, i could take notes. you know, this is how you communicate. this is how you like plan, a branding session or whatever. i mean, there's, there's so many things to pull out of it. and i'm super, super excited for what you're doing with say things better, and helping others find their voice. because that's the trouble, right? when we have inside our minds. unless you put it down on paper, what's inside your mind? you can't see it. you're right. and that's why people use coaches, because people like coaches can see exactly what you're talking about. they can see from the outside, and they can then analyze it.

Lila Smith 35:32
oh, yeah. you know, i mentioned? she did,

yes, she did see it on paper. i mean, i did some assessments, i did the four assessments that we do as part of you map to identify my four pillars of career satisfaction. and i had said to her, you know, i'm happy, but i'm kind of not happy. just like well, okay, and said, you know, i'm fulfilled, but i'm kind of not fulfilled. and i tried to explain, you know, i feel like at any given time, no matter what i'm doing, or whatever i've done, like, there's more for me. there's, there's more that i'm not doing, there's more power to me. and i'm only i feel if i have to put a number on it, i feel only about 50% fulfilled. yeah, ever. when i'm doing theater work, when i'm directing, when i'm acting, when i'm selling when i'm marketing, when i'm doing a user experience review of a website, you know, when i'm doing when i'm learning things about e commerce and the backend of a website and operations when i'm managing a team. i love all of these things for their own thing. but anytime i do any of these things, i miss an element of the other things.

Junaid Ahmed 36:51
yeah. yeah. she said, why don't you

Lila Smith 36:53
try communication coaching and consulting?

like that, that's really cute, kristen, but need a job. you know, it just is so silly to look back now and think about that i didn't see any way that it could be a job. and that was where i was last time you and i talked was i had this awareness. i knew what my superpowers were. and it wasn't until i think it was january of last year i started in december, december, the year before in january, i started testing some of the things that i knew from theater in a business environment, and saying, okay, if i get purposeful and intentional about doing this in business, what does that look like? what are the actual steps, and i had this book called i am by any black africa, and bruce has enough. and it had all these first person affirmative statements, i am whatever, you know, i am brave, i am curious, i am distracted. i am whatever the thing is, and these problems or writings afterwards that the two of them had collaborated on. and then there would be all this white space. and i used these books to just the, you know, it was one book, but i had multiple copies because i kept filling them up. and i use them kind of as journals to explore my own mind. and i worked out the five steps of the say things better method of intentional communication in the pages of those books. like right there. and i was talking to people from our linkedin network people you probably know to, you know, sheila thompson and michael spence and fiona young fiona young and i spoke very, very close to it might have been new year's. and she's all the way in in hong kong, is asking her what are the verbs like of you know, do you know about my verbs and verb, your values as part of say things better? so fiona and i in baton on the call, and michael spence also and shoot thompson, and just some some other people, i had a bunch of people that i was like, hey, we've been engaging for a while, let me see test something out on you. and they, they let me kind of play around. in theater actors come to the stage with an objective for their character, my character wants to achieve this thing in this scene, and my scene partner, the other person in the scene is who i'm going to get it from. even if the script says that they don't get it, your character doesn't know that at the beginning of the scene, they go after their objective. and it's your job as the actor to relentlessly pursue that objective until they get it. one of the ways that we do this, for some actors who've been trained in the stella adler technique of actions and tactics, we say, okay, here's, here's a line, maybe the line is that will be sufficient. so i try to do something with this line, to get my objective. and the thing i do is direct my communication. so if i'm saying to you, that will be sufficient. and i think that the way i get you to say yes to whatever my objective is for the scene, is to forth, then that will be the verb to flirt. if it's to intimidate, that will be the verb, if it's to dismiss, that would be the verb. and i don't say these things out loud, i just put them in my head before i say the line. so if i wanted to comfort, that will be sufficient. and if i wanted to dismiss that will be sufficient. oh, my god, it's the same line and the bird. my head sounds different. so you do it. so do that will be sufficient. and i'll and i'll give you a verb to excite will be sufficient. exactly. right. great. we've got enough whatever it is that Junaid is saying we've got perfect. yeah. so that's what i mean, when i say intentional communication, it almost doesn't matter what the words are through this part of it. it's just the way you're going to make someone that feel with your communication. wow. so being intentional about those things.

Junaid Ahmed 41:06
oh, my god, that's super powerful thing.

Lila Smith 41:08
yeah, it isn't so simple, isn't it? because we're deciding what we want to do to another.


the first said that we don't accidentally have a different effect on them.

Junaid Ahmed 41:21
no, that's so true. because because so okay, let me let me tell you something that i've been working on. and yes,

Lila Smith 41:27

Junaid Ahmed 41:28
maybe i'm failing. so i did the 30 days of videos, and i only ended up getting to 12 where i was talking about, you know, mobile video production using your smartphone, and all the different techniques that you can use some making that into a course i wrote a chapter on this going to go into book co authored book, so i'm done with the chapter. but now i've got to record these videos. when you when you mentioned the, you know, say something better or say things better, intentional speaking. and when i said what you told me to say with the intention of excitement or whatever,

Lila Smith 42:13
excite yeah,

Junaid Ahmed 42:15
to excite right. it will be sufficient. right. so when i'm talking on the video, i felt that i'm very monotonous, even though i try to bring, you know, some intonation and and

Lila Smith 42:32
oh, yeah, well, you were thinking about outside in, right? yeah, the effect of well, if i make my voice go higher here and then lower here, it will sound more interesting. yeah, it sounds weird when we do that. and it sounds, you know, our voices. and i talked about this a lot. this is why the naturalistic style of acting this humanist movement, of saying we want actors to bring their real experiences, their real feeling, the things that are authentic to them to the table. yeah, and it's the same that we're looking for in brand communication is now we want what's actually inside of you, because that is what we will connect with. we don't connect with the tools and tricks and trip and tips. you know, we have all of these people out there who are body language consultants and teachers. and it's helpful to have somebody say, okay, uncross your arms, okay, plant your feet, you know, we do need people to tell us those things. because we get into these nasty habits when we're speaking. but if you want to have an impact on someone, if you want to have an influence, in that moment, you have to be intentional this way about your communication. because it's so simple. you don't have to remember my voice, this my voice that my body, that's my body that you only have to remember to excite.

Junaid Ahmed 43:51
yeah, you just need to you and your mind is automatically prepped,

Lila Smith 43:56
yeah, because you've lived your whole life already knowing what that means.

Junaid Ahmed 44:00
oh, my god.

Lila Smith 44:01
so i do work a lot with people who do a lot of technical communication, medical communications, legal communications, financial communication, things that can come across as very dry. i work with startups and i do pitch mentorship for them, i teach them how to do better in speaking about their company about their ideas. and this is one of the core elements using these verbs. and i give people three, i say, i think you should have three verbs, and that they should be an expression of your values. so mine are to affirm, to connect, and to empower. and again, using those as a connection to my values, because i don't have to try and remember them, or try and fake it. this is the way that i feel best. now you might be to educate, to inform them to equip, you know that these kinds of things might feel more dry. but if you are intentionally doing them, they want because it just adds something, it adds intention, it adds energy, it calls upon what you know, you must do, instead of letting it just be informative, or have the material be would equip someone, if your intention is to equip, i'm doing it right now. i'm giving you tools, i'm being organized about them. and you can hear the way that my voice changes when i'm trying to walk you through a program. so it happens automatically when you just add the verb inside your head. hmm. and this is some work that i do in my coaching with people who have a hard time with creative expression. i tell them, you don't need creative expression, you just need to be excited about something and talk about that.

Junaid Ahmed 45:49
so that's super powerful. i love it. i love it. and and when you like the other thing that you mentioned is you know, in acting because you're and people like producers are looking for actors that bring their their own self out. yeah. and maybe that's why we've seen so many actors in the same role over the years. is that when those reasons are the

Lila Smith 46:12
same role? yeah. so i know, i think i know what you mean, like when you see paul giamatti on the screen. yeah, yeah, right. what you're going to get, he's playing a lot of different parts. each of them is different. he's calling on different elements of and i've not discussed this with him, you know, we're not like a great friends or anything into that, i think he,

Junaid Ahmed 46:36
of course,

Lila Smith 46:36
brooklyn. but so he brings different elements of his experience to each character. but he only has one set of experience to really go for without imitating somebody else. he's killing upon paul giamatti his life, his experiences, his context for what words mean, his parallel for things that you can draw upon from his life, that relate to what the character is going through. and so that's what he knows, even with doing research, he's only going to ever really know and this goes into some psychology that, you know, we all did in college, right? yeah. the, the response repertoire that we develop, when we learn things from our own experience, and then we can call upon them for our response, or we do without meaning to that the things that we learn our from our experience of the world, and our walking through it is different than somebody else's.

Junaid Ahmed 47:33

Lila Smith 47:34
even identical twins have different experiences of the same event.

Junaid Ahmed 47:39
absolutely. absolutely. that's, that's really mind blowing.

Lila Smith 47:47
no big deal.

no, no, don't

have any idea how scholarly acting is and how much we all learn about the human condition, how deeply we dive into different people's stories, and how much we often understand about ourselves and about audiences and about other people, by purposefully putting ourselves in the position of what would i do if something similar were happening to me as it's happening to this character, or other characters in the script? we, you know, kind of forcing that empathetic learning.

Junaid Ahmed 48:21
yeah, now that's really great. because so we're going way over, but just this is this is really powerful. but what's really cool is, so i'm into acting also, like, i've watched some videos and i, i'm like, okay, i want to go into acting. but i really, because, well, initially, i was very shy, like, 1015 years ago, i was i couldn't even hear myself speak on the microphone.

Lila Smith 48:49
wow. and now

Junaid Ahmed 48:50
you have a podcast, i have a podcast and, and, and like i said, you know, it takes that time and the experiences that you go through, and then your mind growing and, you know, they say you once you've crossed 40, you you you have some kind of wisdom now.

Lila Smith 49:07
did they say that?

Junaid Ahmed 49:09
i don't know. because the one thing that i do know from the quran is that the prophet muhammad he was not revealed the quran till he was 40

or 40 years, still a youth,

Lila Smith 49:24
well then call me a kid to i'm not for him to go,

Junaid Ahmed 49:28
you've got a ways to go.

Lila Smith 49:29
and that's why i was like, 19,000 people's lives.

you know, within my own, reading the stories and putting myself into the characters and everything that i ever read. and now when i say i was born a performer, i was born an actress, i was doing the voices that i thought i should do for the characters and kids books. and i was thinking as i you know, it's my red little women with my dad. and i was thinking about meg and joe. and you know, like, what their stories were and what they were thinking that wasn't on the page. i've done this my whole life, putting myself in somebody else's story. and seeing what of my story i can connect to it with. yeah, so i might not have lived 40 of my own years, but i've probably lived at least 900 have somebody.

Junaid Ahmed 50:20
very cool. very cool. and so last year, i turned 42. and 42, as you know, is the ultimate answer.

yes, it is.

like, no other podcast, no other podcast, right.

and so it's like, i i'm turning 42 this year, i've gotta start this podcasting that i've been talking about. and i did and i'm so happy that i did because i've learned so much from so many people. i am i am constantly growing my mind by connecting with many other people. and it's just, it's just so amazing. i love it.

Lila Smith 51:07
i love it, too. i love that you're doing it. thank you so much have to interesting people.

Junaid Ahmed 51:14
you know, i just talked to tom malloy. i don't know if you've ever heard of him dancing. he starred against amy smart. and what's her name? oh, my god, i can't i can't believe i'm blanking on this. but um, he basically wrote a book called bankroll. and as a producer how to raise money. he's raised like $25 million . yeah, not so really powerful guy, really awesome guy. i got to meet him last week. and then i got to talk to him last week on the podcast, and it's been like, i'm just connecting with everybody that is in line with my passion, like marketing, communication, acting, woodworking, cycling. you name it, i mean, and the death by this podcast called hacks and hobbies, and hobbies. and, you know, they

cover our entire lifetime

of trying something new out,

Lila Smith 52:14
yes. oh, i love that. i love the way you put that. that's what a hobby like you start something as a hobby. and then if you don't like it, you stop and you try something else. and if you do like it, it could be the way that you save the world. like, my hobby is to be acting, and then it was my profession. and then it was the basis for the say things better method of intentional communication. and then i went to washington, dc and spoke to people in federal government about being intentional communicators.

and maybe someday i'll be the federal government.

Junaid Ahmed 52:53
there you go. no, look close to us. all right. so some questions that we asked, that i asked. i always say we as if you know, there's a lot of people

Lila Smith 53:05
and all of your followers who have

Junaid Ahmed 53:08
these questions, there you go. see that's, that's, that's, that's what i was looking for. so these questions that my followers, my audience looks for, what is one hobby that you wish you got into?

Lila Smith 53:20
it's so hard to say that i regret anything that i that i have tried, but there are some things that i haven't until just the last few years. so i have a little brother, i mean, he's not so little anymore. you know, he's an adult, he runs the he's the director of sales and membership at the philadelphia cricket club. he's like a real person, old guy. but when we were growing up, he was always my little brother. and he was very skilled as an athlete. and in fact, went to school for sports management, which is why he's at the philadelphia cricket club.

Junaid Ahmed 53:57

Lila Smith 53:58
that he was the athlete growing up, and i was the artist. we were both writers. so in that way, we had crossover. but there wasn't a lot else. there was like playing with legos, watching saturday morning cartoons and saved by the bell and ghost rider on sunday nights, and writing and our family. but he had his hobbies, which were the sports things. and i had mine, which were the arts things and the barbies and the fashion and coloring and performing. and so we had very different sets of things that we were really into. and we love these things. so it just never occurred to me that maybe i hadn't found my sport, that maybe sports could be for me that some kind of athletics could be for me. because so funny, you know, just the last like, really, it was just a few months ago, i think or last here i was in, in dallas and a bunch of friends and i went x growing, and was so much fun. and i felt like well, i need to be doing this every day, i'm going to become a champion x thrower, and you'll see. but like it made me think, you know, and i and i've been going to batting cages and you know, i don't mind like running around the bases. i don't love running at all, you know, i would need, i would need a lot of sports bras to really enjoy running. but i like swinging the bat and making constant. i like boxing it which i learned in the bed like boxing during some private training, lessons that i had had, and all these things that i grew up never trying, i just wonder what would be different about my life. if going back, i did have whatever that thing was that i'm enjoying. now these, these are kind of like i step up to the plate, it's my turn, i do my thing. and then i stopped like maybe it's not about the contact with other people or the team sport, which is interesting, because the rest of my life is very team oriented, very community oriented. but in sports, the things that i have ended up liking as an adult. are these kind of just for me things. yeah, we have fun all doing them together. but when it was, you know, it's not like there are a bunch of people throwing axes back at me. when my axe? i don't think i would like that. but though these kinds of things like i think it would have been interesting to pursue, and it's not like i'm dead, you know, i know, i can still pursue

Junaid Ahmed 56:42
them. absolutely. you know, we know when you mentioned as about, if you had tried to sports back in days where your life would have been?

Lila Smith 56:53
yeah, i'm champion x pro.

Junaid Ahmed 56:56
you'd be you'd be in totally different place. yeah. and a parallel to that, that i that i'm remembering. there's this new show on fox, i think called the orville. it's created by seth macfarlane of family guy. and the goods. they found this time capsule that was buried 400 years ago. and they're in the future. and in there, they found an iphone. and oh,

wow, at

this lady had put her entire life on over. you know, there's text messages, there's videos and emails and everything in there. and so they started looking at the phone after they unlocked it.

Lila Smith 57:38
it's like an anthropologist stream.

Junaid Ahmed 57:40
exactly. and then one of the actors one of the characters on the show, he started because it was it was this lady who had her entire life history in the phone and goes for you. there's like i've upgraded this phone's battery. so it'll live it'll last forever. wow.

so anyway,

Lila Smith 58:04
it's like, can i please come back?

Junaid Ahmed 58:09
so what he does he they have, since they live on a spaceship. they have a simulator so they can, they can go and experience different things like they can visit earth or they can basically get away from being on space. so he basically places the phone in the simulator says can you make a simulation out of this phone? this person's life. and he basically falls in love with this girl from this phone from the past. and you're like, oh my god. and every night he's going there. and he's visiting her. and she's like playing playing guitar. and one day when he finds out that her boyfriend is trying to get back together with her with her. and he had already fallen in love. and it's like, oh my god.

can i do?

you know, i really like her and she wants just to be friends. and he tells us to miller, can you erase all instances of her boyfriend so i could be her boyfriend? oh my god, right? so then he goes,

Lila Smith 59:15
that's creepy ass but go ahead

Junaid Ahmed 59:17

so he goes back because it's all it's all fake. he goes back in there. and he goes, and she's a barista. and he's like, why isn't she playing a guitar? and he's like, i would never play guitar. and then he realizes that her boyfriend was the one who pushed her to go into her passion and played the guitar, because that's the part he liked. but then it was because somebody else had suggested, yeah, go

Lila Smith 59:46
over. so suggestible. like you, you really have some mind your history, because you never know what that thing is. that's going to ring a bell.

Junaid Ahmed 59:55

so that was that was super, super creepy. but berlin. yeah, these are i mean, without these milestones, and our allies, and all the people that we meet, we wouldn't be here. yeah, somewhere else would be parallel universe.

Lila Smith 1:00:10
and with additional things, like if i had if he had been saxophone in addition to guitar or something, what would the difference have made? maybe you connect with somebody else that you see with a saxophone on the street, and then that's a new conversation, or you go over there? and it's just you just never know, it could be anything. those tiny little things, sometimes connect us to the biggest differences?

Junaid Ahmed 1:00:32
yep. a million different things. a million little things. yeah.

all right.

next question. what is your favorite movie or tv show?

Lila Smith 1:00:42
mary poppins?

Junaid Ahmed 1:00:44
awesome. i need to see that movie. i didn't grow up in the states, but never got to see it. but i'm looking forward to the latest rendition of it.

yeah, who is your favorite?

Lila Smith 1:00:55
oh, i'm so just on mary poppins. then the new one is with lin manuel more. so lin manuel miranda, was he you know, and still is. he's the creator of hamilton, the broadway musical that basically took over the world. and before that he did in the heights. and so he's been a prolific creator of musical theater, and using rap and using different kinds of music that hadn't been brought to the theater before. and to tell stories that hadn't been brought to the stage before for these audiences. so i definitely am interested in seeing what he brings to the role that dick van dyke made famous and mary poppins, but yeah, i just love mary poppins, because there's something so magical in every single moment. and because there's this childlike suspension of disbelief, you know, even though they are skeptical, even though they are these, these skeptical children of george banks, you know, they don't no, i don't know mary poppins yet. so when she comes in, she gets to be the one who opens their eyes to the magic, and i want to be her so badly. so in answer to your next question, who my favorite superhero is scottish still be her?

Junaid Ahmed 1:02:14
nice. very, very cool.

last question. if you are a board game,

what would it be?

Lila Smith 1:02:23
if i guess who said you know, the board game, guess who they're the little people that you flip up and flip down and you're guessing who has on their card? oh, my gosh, i'd love guess who but my friends play it differently. we play ambiguous guess who. and that means. so what the board game looks like is all of a red board. and you'll have a blue board. and we have the same set of i don't know how many people like 3040 people on our boards. and each little card flips up. and so you start with all of your characters flipped up. and we have the same people but different positions on the red board and the blue board. so you don't know who i'm putting down when i put them down? and the traditional game is played by asking, does your person have a hat? does your person have blue eyes? is your person bald? or is your personal woman you know, and you put down if somebody says okay, yes, my person is a woman, then you put down all the faces of all the men. and you leave up the women until you and you keep asking identifying questions, until there's only one person remaining. and then you guess is your person, claire? and the person says yes. and that's the whole game. so like 20 questions, it is like that. yeah. but the traditional game is asked where you ask these questions about what somebody looks like. and so you're trying to figure out how many ways you can identify them, whether it's racially or, or by age, gender, whether they wear glasses, but it's all physical, the way that i plant, we're making character judgments. so the questions that we asked, we're not allowed to have any kind of physically identifying characteristics mentioned, and they're still yes or no questions. so i would ask you, is your person competitive? does your person feel a sense of fulfillment? and does your person have a greater purpose in life? does your person prefer superman to batman? would you leave your child alone in a room with your person for more than two minutes? you know, anything that you could ask that would you would hear what the other person playing? thinks about their character? so you're putting down you know, when they say, yes, my person does whatever? yes, my person does have integrity, right? so you're putting people down on your board, that you don't see their faces anymore? if you think if they think that their person does have integrity, you're putting people down, not who you think don't have integrity, but who you think your partner, thanks, won't have integrity. so it's a way for me to get to know how you see other people in the world.

Junaid Ahmed 1:05:07
that's really powerful.

Lila Smith 1:05:08
it's really fun.

Junaid Ahmed 1:05:10
yeah, i'll have to check it out. because there's so many board games that i've learned about through this podcast. i have a list going on like okay,

Lila Smith 1:05:19
oh, do you have an article on linkedin that you just keep updating?

Junaid Ahmed 1:05:23
i should have an article on there. but i haven't i haven't gone there yet. you

Lila Smith 1:05:26
should make one and then fill it with affiliate links so that you get paid and anybody ever buys. that's not a good idea. that's part of my life coming out again.

Junaid Ahmed 1:05:37
no, affiliate marketing, so powerful that and we might have to do another episode on that. yeah. but where can my audience find you?

Lila Smith 1:05:46
oh, people can find me on linkedin. i'm there every day. i've been on linkedin every day since june 1 2017. and i'm mostly commenting, but i do post things once in a while. i posted something today about taxes. it's april 15, as we're recording this, so what's it about taxes today, and probably won't post again for another month or so. but i'm there every day commenting, and in the comments is the best place to reach me. so if you see me comment on somebody else's thing, comments after me and start to build a relationship that way. and if you want to work with me, you can go to say things better, calm.

Junaid Ahmed 1:06:22
perfect. and i noticed that you had posted a comment an hour ago that you're going to be a

Lila Smith 1:06:31
few minutes before this call. i was seeing rachel chang go on linkedin live with katie wallace. and they're both two really good friends of mine. so i went on there for as many minutes as i could. and i was like, i gotta go. today.

Junaid Ahmed 1:06:44
i need to talk to them as well bring them on to the podcast because they have the unlearn show. and

Lila Smith 1:06:50
katie yeah, yeah.

Junaid Ahmed 1:06:51
yeah. and that's really powerful. really powerful stuff. and there's, there's so much to talk about. it's it's more like when you talk with people with the with the same mind frequencies, like you can talk on forever. and,

like, a lot of things that we learn, some things aren't in line with where we want to be. and that's where the unlearn factor comes in. right? how do i unlearn this thing that i want to get rid of, like, being a procrastinator? how do i unlearn that or not? getting to places on time? how do i unlearn that kind of thing? and it's make sense? yeah,

Lila Smith 1:07:36
it does. awesome.

yeah. it's a great show. i love on the unlearn show. you got sonny tannen and jake jordan and chantel seumas and lacey. i love lacey so much. and katie wallace, of course.

Junaid Ahmed 1:07:53
nice. or layla, thank you so much for your time and your, your story and your journey. this was so amazing. listening to

Lila Smith 1:08:03
me do a big brain dump of my whole life.

Junaid Ahmed 1:08:06
you can always come back to this episode and be like, hey, what did i tell you?

Lila Smith 1:08:10
yeah, no, actually, i was thinking about that. i was thinking, you know, this is stuff that i haven't talked about. and i've been spending so much time mining my theater experience. yeah. what if there's stuff that i'm leaving out of my own ability to help people that i'm just not acknowledging? so i'm going to take the audio file of this, run it through subtitle and take the i'll have to break it up because they have a 30 minute limit, but put it through the title and get the srt, like, the text format. you know, there's,

Junaid Ahmed 1:08:42
there's another app that i use called odder o tt, and there's no limit to give you 600 minutes for free.

Lila Smith 1:08:49
oh, great. that's perfect. i don't think we've been on for quite 600 minutes yet, but we're getting there.

Junaid Ahmed 1:08:57

Lila Smith 1:08:57
yeah. great to talk to you.

Junaid Ahmed 1:09:00
care. talk to you soon. okay, bye. bye.

congratulations, you made it to the end of the episode. thanks so much for listening to our guests on this episode. please send me an email at Junaid at hats and hobbies. com to tell me what you loved about our guest today. you could find links mentioned in this episode of the hacks and hobbies. com website.

Transcribed by

Junaid Ahmed has been a user experience designer for over 15 years. As a UX professional, he uses the user-centered design philosophy to come up with solutions. Trust the system, it works!

“People say that we only live once, but I believe in living every day!”

Junaid has been interviewing people from all walks of life on his podcast Hacks and Hobbies.