We have a truly incredible professional on the show with us today! Brad Weaber is joining us as our guest.
There’s a lot that we can learn from Brad right now, in this very challenging time. He has been in associations, he’s been in the corporate world, he is an entrepreneur, and he has been just about everywhere in the meetings and events industry.
Brad left the comfort of corporate life almost two years ago, to start his own business, Weaber Consulting.
The ability to tell stories is an important skill.
Brad started telling stories when he was very young. He is very good at sharing stories, and he’s truly adept at conveying emotions. And he has many great stories to tell and lots of amazing experiences to share.
Brad inherited his storytelling skills from his grandfather, George Potter, who was a wonderful minister. Brad remembers, as a very young child, sitting and listening to his grandfather conveying thoughts and emotions, and in so doing, touching every single person he was ministering to.
Brad believes that authenticity is the key to telling great stories.
For a big part of his life, Brad was not very authentic because he wasn’t being true to himself. Although he was enjoying his life at the time, he found that he was not resonating with people because he had hidden his sexuality.
At the age of 41, however, he decided to deal with it. That was when his authentic self started to come through, and it took Brad’s storytelling to the next level.
He started sharing stories to help people who were going through a similar experience.
Leading with emotional intelligence
Brad views the emotional quotient side of leadership as the ability of the leaders of an organization to balance all their requirements with empathy and transparency.
Companies thrive when their leaders can translate what they see in the spreadsheets, or what’s happening in the boardroom, in a manner that touches everyone who engages with them.
During tough times, employees are more likely to be open and understanding of the decisions that are being made by the leaders if those leaders have been transparent and told authentic stories.
A story that emerged from the terrible 9/11 event
Brad has been in the hospitality industry for almost 36 years. In all that time, the 9/11 event was probably the most emotionally shocking occurrence that he has had to cope with. It brought about a complete change the very next day, when everything came to a standstill, all the transportation stopped, and nobody was going out or having any meetings.
Fear gripped the nation. And, as a leader, Brad knew he needed to be a comforter. One of the things he did was to get as many people as possible from his company to come together at one home that evening. They all stayed together, watched the news, drank wine, cried, laughed, held hands, prayed, and did whatever they could to show a sense of community.
Following that, they all sat down and began looking for ways to stay relevant. They realized that it was not the time to be selling anything, so by engaging with everyone, they came up with some great ideas about how to be the best partner, how to be the best leader, how to be empathetic, and how to manage all that would be happening for the next few months.
Leadership prevails during tough times
Brad thinks that leadership truly prevails during times like the 9/11 disaster, terrible recessions, and most certainly with what’s going on now, with the global pandemic.
Brad’s advice for the coming months
This is a good time for reaching out to people virtually, connecting, and joining others with online events.
It is also the time to step back, reassess things, and question yourself about everything you’ve always wanted to do.
Organizations should be doing whatever they can to help people right now.
The key thing right now is to show empathy.
What the future holds
Brad foresees that there will be more of a hybrid approach to strategies, particularly with corporations, in the future. That, however, won’t change the need for face-to-face contacts.
In Brad’s opinion, the current period is fraught with opportunity.
Why, when, and how Brad started his own business
Brad has always held entrepreneurs in the highest regard.
Although he was very fortunate to have worked for some of the most amazing people, and some truly iconic companies, he eventually got tired of the constant treadmill. So he started thinking about creating something that would make him feel like his heart was flying, every day.
He came to realize that he loves helping people to find their voice, either by coaching them to go up on stage or by bringing them together and facilitating them, to draw out relevant information to give back to either a corporation or another destination.
So, he decided to go for it. And within 30 days, he had formed an LLC, and he had a website, business cards, and a client.
Brad’s advice to entrepreneurs
Brad always advises entrepreneurs never to put a ‘no’ in front of themselves until it truly is a ‘no’. That’s because every piece of business that he has ever secured has come out of a conversation that started with the client not realizing their need.
Finding your first clients as a new entrepreneur
Brad advises new entrepreneurs to take a careful look at who they have around them because that can be very powerful when it comes to looking for clients.
Every time we use the internet, we leave an impression. So Brad started by looking at every exchange that he had ever had, throughout his business life. He started writing down names. While looking over the list of names, he saw all the potential that it held and then he started experiencing the joy of having connections.
He was also advised to carve out some time in his schedule to do nothing more than think about the development side of his business and do it. This was great advice, and he thinks that people need to do that now, more than ever.
Asking clients for referrals is another great way to get new clients.
Brad has been hearing from many different people recently, telling him that although they love the industry, they don’t think they can do it any longer because it’s too unstable. His concern is that this will result in a talent-drain from the industry and a lack of people wanting to join the industry.
Brad is currently looking at his communication strategy from several different standpoints. He is also looking at working with companies on becoming more active in the professionalism of virtual in conferences.
In times like these, the leadership is revealed. And that leadership has to contain elements of empathy, care, and concern.
Brad’s email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad’s website – https://www.bweaberconsulting.com/
Connect with Eric:
If you’d rather watch the video of this interview, subscribe on YouTube
Join Eric’s private Facebook Group – The Business of Meetings