October 19, 2021

It's okay to be "unprofessional"



"'Professional' is a racist, sexist, ableist standard." Simone Grace Seol
"Emotion in business is unprofessional."
"Black women's natural hair is unprofessional."
"Tattoos are unprofessional."
"Facial hair is unprofessional."
"Poor grammar/spelling is unprofessional."

And for speakers (I've actually heard these):

"Flat shoes are unprofessional."
"Curly hair is unprofessional."
"Showing bare arms is unprofessional."
"Not wearing makeup is unprofessional."
"Saying 'um' is unprofessional."
"Sitting down while presenting is unprofessional."

Oftentimes, we're told our appearance is unprofessional if we don't meet gender norms or dominant cultural norms.

Other times, not living up to certain educational or other social norms peg us as "unprofessional."

There are definitely things I would call out as unprofessional in business:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Lack of respect for colleagues or customers
πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Consistently showing up late
πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Being unresponsive to emails or phone calls
πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Taking credit for others' work
πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Lying

But I will fight you over the lists above. πŸ₯Š (If you want to argue with me about spelling and grammar, Google "literacy privilege.")

And I will keep serving my clients with alternating pink and gray hair, five-inch long earrings, visible tattoo, and flat shoes.

Because these things have nothing to do with how well I do my job and everything to do with me being a fulfilled, aligned, and happy human being.

As Madison Butler 🏳️‍πŸŒˆπŸ¦„ (one of my favorite DEI advocates on LinkedIn) says: "I'm not for everyone." πŸ˜‰

What have you heard is "unprofessional" in business that you disagree with? Let me know in the comments!

(You can also comment on or like the original LinkedIn post here. It's currently at 404 reactions, 131 comments, 20+ shares, and 14,866 views in the feed.)


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

August 19, 2021

Does Tom Brady even eat bread?



Have you seen the new Subway commercial featuring Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady?

The dialogue goes like this:

Brady: This new turkey Cali Fresh is incredible
Stephen Curry: You even eat bread?
Brady: Steph, it's a commercial.

I don't follow Tom Brady, so I wasn't aware of his dietary choices and lifestyle. But Curry's question, "You even eat bread?" made me look it up.

Turns out Tom Brady has his own diet plan called the TB12 Method, that came out in a book in 2017.

Summarized on the Healthline website, "The Tom Brady Diet encourages eating minimally processed, whole foods and restricting processed ones. It recommends avoiding foods deemed inflammatory or acidifying and includes a few additional rules."

One of the rules is avoiding gluten.🍞πŸ₯–πŸ₯ͺ

Hence Steph Curry's question.

Whether or not you find this endorsement hypocritical, there's something you can take away from this commercial to improve your presentations.

πŸ‘‰πŸΌAlways anticipate objections.πŸ‘ˆπŸΌ

When you give a presentation, there will likely ALWAYS be someone in your audience who is critical of your message, who doesn't believe you, who has some concern about your topic.

Most of the time, the people who object to your message or ideas won't speak up. This means they're stewing, resistant, or at least distracted by their own objections... and they're not fully engaged with you.

Sometimes they will speak up, and you can plan in advance to have answers to their questions.

Or, you can build the objection into your presentation, by saying something like "I know some of you are probably thinking 'this won't work' or 'I've already tried it,' and let me address that."

When you KNOW there are objections, don't wait for the audience to bring them up. Build them into your presentation; acknowledge the audience's concerns and show them you've done your homework.

Brady's response to Curry's question about eating bread, "it's a commercial," doesn't really answer the question "Why is Brady endorsing something he doesn't eat?" He might as well have said, "I got paid." I'm going to go out on a limb and say his critics were not satisfied by that answer.

But the point I want to make here is that Subway built in the objection by having Steph Curry ask the question. It's the question on the minds of everyone who sees the commercial and knows about Brady's restrictive eating habits.

At least in a presentation, you have time with your audience to address objections. This commercial clearly doesn't say enough, and Brady is being called out all over for this endorsement.

Just remember: There will always be someone who objects to your message, your ideas and your methods, so don't be caught off guard.

At minimum, be prepared to address objections from audience questions, and ideally, πŸ› buildπŸ›  objections into your presentation so your audience knows you get them.


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

July 30, 2021

Brands. Door. Money.



I, like most people these days, avoid commercials as much as possible by streaming and recording shows and movies. But from time to time, I catch a glimpse of something as I'm skipping through them that makes me stop and watch. Yes, I actually choose to watch an occasional commercial.

TV commercials are mini-presentations, mini-stories. Each commercial is trying to get a message across and influence those watching to do something, whether it's to buy (most commercials), to join, or to give.

Just like presentations, some commercials are engaging, some are boring, some are just idiotic. Some are funny, some are heartbreaking and some leave us angry.

But one thing all commercials have in common is their brevity. Commercials range from 15 seconds to a minute, with the majority falling into the 30-second range. You struggle to get your message across in ten minutes or an hour? Commercials don't have that luxury (when they do, they're called infomercials, but that's not what I'm addressing here).

What's the difference between your presentation and a commercial? Not much. Both must engage, inform, influence, and entertain. People act out stories in commercials, and presenters tell stories. Both use visuals, sometimes but not always.

Presenters can learn a lot from commercials, especially about getting your message across in a concise and brief manner.

Here's an old favorite for brevity and conciseness that I share when I'm delivering my workshops on micro-presentations. There's nothing superfluous here. There's no confusion about the main points or message. Visuals are simple and so is content. And yet, it catches your attention with both its simplicity and its originality. And it's only 15 seconds long.



What commercials have going for them is that those who produce them are expected to be creative and imaginative. Creativity is not only expected but welcomed and celebrated. 

This is not necessarily the case with business presentations, whose producers seem to believe that there is no place for creativity in a business setting. Hence the dry and boring presentations we're subjected to on a daily basis.

What can you learn from TV commercials that you can implement in your presentations?

How can you apply creative ideas and ingenuity to your presentations so they don't blend in with every other drab presentation your audiences have to sit through?

How can you use brevity and conciseness to get your most critical points across with nothing extraneous or irrelevant to cloud your message?

What commercials have you enjoyed as good presentation models?


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

July 28, 2021

What if you lost your words?



Remember how boring "vocab" was when we were in school? Learning the meanings of endless words that we probably would never use? 

I don't think of vocabulary very often, but since my dad had a stroke on Tuesday, it's been top of mind. He briefly lost his ability to communicate, and even hours later, was still transposing words and unable to capture the words he wanted to say.

My dad is a COMMUNICATOR, in all caps! He's always loved words and language, and when I was growing up, "Get out the dictionary" was our most-repeated command! I get my love of language and words from my dad, most definitely. πŸ“š

He reminded me the other day, from his hospital bed, of the enormous vocabulary I had as a child. He said, "Remember when they tested your vocabulary in elementary school? Remember how many words you knew?" I don't remember the number, but apparently it was impressive.

He reflected on how it's better to start out with a huge vocabulary, then if you have a stroke and lose some of your words, you'll still have plenty to work with! Haha - My dad and I are both optimists. We're all about the silver lining. 🀷🏻‍♀️πŸŒ₯

How is vocabulary relevant for you as a speaker and communicator?

First of all, don't go out and start using a bunch of big fancy words in your presentations. 

🚫Never use language to distance yourself from your audience.🚫

But consider how you use vocabulary to express yourself in a way that's aligned with your personality, your speaking style and your intellectual property. 

Are you still learning new ways of expressing yourself? Are you still building your vocabulary?

My favorite vocab-builder is the old-timey thesaurus (and I still love the dictionary), but I don't use it to find words or expressions that are not authentic to me. I use the thesaurus to find words that fit my communication style, but ones I haven't remembered or that express my idea better than the original word on my mind.

Of course, reading is always a great way of improving vocabulary, as well as actually using new words in context in conversation.

I know that the older I get, the more I lose vocabulary. I forget words I once knew because I'm not using them regularly or I haven't come across them in my reading.

I'd love to know if you are a πŸ€“word nerdπŸ€“ or a πŸ’language lover!πŸ’ Comment below. πŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌ

And my dad is doing great. He had a second stroke in the hospital, but sounds like his old self and will hopefully be going home tomorrow. We're having long conversations at his bedside, which I hope are helping his brain retain his words!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

July 22, 2021

You will be judged



I haven't been completely honest with you.

I've been posting a lot lately about body positivity and age positivity because so many women hold themselves back from getting in front of an audience because of shame or embarrassment about their bodies and their appearance.

I've been telling you that you have to get out there anyway. And I stand by what I've said! But I've omitted something.

You may be lucky enough not to have any trolls or haters, but the truth is, others will judge you. This is really what lies at the root of avoiding public speaking. Avoiding judgment.

Whether your concern is losing your place, boring the audience, getting tongue-tied, or being unable to answer questions, these all come down to a fear of being judged.

Judged inadequate. Judged incompetent. Judged insufficient. Rejected.

And as much as I remind my clients that audiences want you to succeed, there is a legit reality here:

We're judging and critiquing people all the time.

We walk down the street noting what people are wearing, what they're saying, what they're holding, what they're doing. We notice, we filter, and then we move on.

We do this to determine lots of things, but mostly: Is this person like me? How much is this person LIKE me or DIFFERENT from me?

We're always subconsciously trying to figure out our relationship to others. Should I smile? Should I be threatened? Is he trustworthy? Does she want something from me? Can I connect with him?

We're social animals. Pack animals. Herd animals. We rely on the herd for our survival, so in a sense, we're like any suspicious and wary animal. Yes, we are like dogs sniffing butts.

So you ARE being judged. But not in the way you think. The audience is trying to determine their relationship with you. Can they trust you? Will you listen to them and understand where they're coming from? Is this relationship worth their time and money?

Your job on stage is to connect, relate, serve and deliver.

You don't have to be LIKE your audience to do so. but you do have to honor what the audience needs, wants, and cares about. Your words have to be consistent and aligned with your actions and emotions. You have to be sincere, authentic, and focused on serving the audience.

If you make a mistake, this doesn't damage your relationship with the audience. They won't judge you for forgetting what you were saying or having an equipment snafu. It's not the technicalities that interfere with your relationship.

What DOES damage your relationship with the audience is lack of connection, lack of understanding of who they are and what they want, not putting in the time to provide an excellent experience, and overly anxious concern for your own well-being.

When you get past that, nothing can scare you anymore.


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

July 15, 2021

Stop hiding [part 3]



Remember last year, when no one could get their hair cut or colored professionally? There was a huge panic among women...especially around those silver rootsπŸ˜±πŸ‘©πŸΌ‍🦳.

Remember what happened? Thousands, maybe millions, of women went natural! The Instagram #SilverSisters hashtag BLEW UP, as well as #GrayHairDontCare and #SilverHairDontCare.

Some of my speaker friends thought they would never get another gig if they went silver... but we now see that, while the pandemic definitely made it hard to get work, it was never about the hair.⠀⠀⠀

Other speaker friends freaked out about having headshots that were different from their real hair... so they went to Fiverr and got their headshots doctored to show the new silver hairdos!

One friend mentioned she was ordering purple hair color because "It's not like I'm going to be doing any speaking any time soon!"

I replied "Why not? The world has gone virtual, and so can you!"

Her answer "Maybe after I do the purple—right now I look like Cruella de Ville and I think I would scare small children!" (Which would be a problem if small children attended her presentations.)

Look: If we can't be human and authentic right now, in this time and place, when we've all been forced to peel back the layers of our souls, when can we?

You have ALL the tools you need. People still need your expertise, your brilliance, your unique perspective and voice.

Your hair (your body, your appearance, your age) is not the problem.⠀⠀

πŸ‘‚πŸΌWhat's holding you back is between your ears.πŸ‘‚πŸΌ

Let's get back out there and keep on #SpeakingUpForChange!

Reach out for a free consultation: I can help you get your message out to the world!


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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

July 14, 2021

Stop hiding [part 2]



"Forgive the no-makeup face!"

"Please don’t judge the 'fresh face.'"

"Ignore the no-makeup morning face."

"Forgive the 'I work from home' messy bun and lack of makeup."

Have you apologized for your appearance on social media?

This is a picture I deleted the other day instead of posting. I didn't love how the lighting brought out my rosacea and my blemishes, so took a couple more that were more flattering.

I see multiple women EVERY DAY apologizing for looking like themselves, for showing their real faces. I see even more women who won't even post a picture without makeup or a heavy filter.⠀

You are not your appearance. You are SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE!

Check out all those red marks on my face, my wrinkles, my not-plucked eyebrows, my blotchy chest, my chin scar and spider veins from having my chin bashed in in a car accident.

Are you judging me? Do you dislike me? Are you embarrassed or sad for me? If so, buh-bye. I don't need you here. But if you're thinking, "Of course I'm not judging you for looking like a 56-year-old woman who's had a LIFE," then I would like you to apply that to yourself!

As I said in my previous post, I talk to so many women who are afraid of being judged on their appearance, who are hiding, avoiding speaking, avoiding shooting video, avoiding being seen.⠀⠀⠀⠀

And I will say it again: The world still needs to see you, hear your message, learn from you. You have SO MUCH TO GIVE. And we really don't care how you look while you're giving it!

And people who DO care? F#ck 'em.


____________________________________________________
Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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