June 1, 2022

Your presentation is like a bird's nest...



This mama Dark-eyed Junco has been building her nest in a potted plant just outside our front door for a couple weeks. She's been building it in secret; we literally never see her there but when we peek in the nest there's more material.

This made me think about you! And your presentations. 五 Inexperienced presenters often think that your performance in front of the audience is the most important thing.

And yes, if it's important to you to change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with your presentation, then your performance in front of the audience and your ability to engage and persuade is pretty important.

However your live presentation with an audience is just the final result of all the behind-the-scenes work that you should be putting in to ensure that you get the results that you and the audience need, want and care about.

That means:

determining your objectives for the presentation

researching your audience and location

choosing content that's most relevant and useful to your audience

tailoring, organizing and structuring your content so you lead them down a path to the desired result

building in engagement, exercises and activities that help your participants apply your content to their lives or work

practicing your presentation to establish a flow and estimate how much time each element takes

and understanding and practicing your tech; and cultivating the right mindset and energy management tools for the particular environment you'll be in.

The work that this mama birdie put into finding the right mate (he'll also defend the nest and help feed the nestlings), finding the right location for her nest, finding the right materials for her nest, and building the actual nest is what allows and supports the final result of laying eggs and protecting her offspring until they fledge.

I didn't see all the work that went into this final result, but I know it's there. And without all that work, there would be no nest, no eggs, and no babies. 佞

The foundational work of a presentation is critical to its success. The presentation itself is just the tip of the iceberg. Or... just one straw in the completion of a successful bird's nest.

P.S. I just went outside to shoot an updated video of the nest, and I saw the mama's head just peeking out. I didn't want to disturb her. So this video is from a few days ago. And babies are on the way! Wish our little family safety and success and protection from predators. Which, luckily, is not something speakers ever have to worry about!


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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

April 16, 2022

Why you should do podcast interviews... and it's not why you think



I just had the most amazing conversation with Karen LaMarsh for her Real Life Startup podcast, and it made me realize why I enjoy being interviewed so much.

Sure, we all want to build our credibility and visibility through sharing our ideas and intellectual property via speaking and interviews.

But here's the REAL reason you should be doing podcasts (and speaking, and creating video, and writing...): Every time you open your mouth to talk about your ideas, they get better.

Especially when you have a host asking you questions and restating your ideas. At least three times today during my conversation with Karen, I had an aha moment about my own message and my own marketing.

She rephrased things I said and reiterated my ideas in a way that helped me gain even deeper insight into what I want my message to be!

When we explain, interpret and clarify our ideas via speaking or writing, our ideas often become more clear to ourselves.

Maybe you'll get more clients and customers if you get interviewed on podcasts or speak in front of an audience. But also, maybe you'll get more clarity on your message, continuing to improve and refine it as you go! 



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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

April 10, 2022

My 4 speaking nonnegotiables



What's your biggest concern about speaking? (You don't have to answer out loud.)

Whatever it is, I have 4 simple solutions that will address it!

The first one is preparation. I know everyone hates preparation. Nobody wants to make time for it. Preparation is just unloved. But you can't deliver the same presentation to an audience of travel agents that you're going to deliver to an audience of accountants.

Each audience is different and you can't approach different audiences with the exact same presentation. So preparation is that really boring thing that you have to do in advance so your presentations are tailored to the people you're speaking to.

Next is engagement. This is absolutely critical to creating an experience for your audience that they'll remember, that they'll take with them, that will motivate them to take action.

Engagement is how you actually get their brains to retain your information. Engagement doesn't mean being silly or pulling out a ukulele or making the audience all high-five each other.

There are a lot of things we hate in presentations. And one of these is when a speaker tries to engage us in a contrived way. But there are a lot of ways to engage your audience that can be authentic to you and not contrived.

Third is mindset. Probably most of the negative thoughts you have about getting in front of an audience aren't based in reality. It's all imagined. And because of that, you can change your mindset.

Mindset is both internal and external: it's how you perceive yourself, and it's also the outward manifestation of that perception of yourself. Developing a positive mindset is something I work on with a LOT of my clients.

The last thing is differentiating yourself by embracing your unique voice, personality and point of view. Being real creates connection. There's no substitute for getting on stage and connecting, bringing your own special qualities every time you get in front of an audience.

Which one of these four pillars of successful speaking would solve your biggest speaking concern? Reach out if you need support!



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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

Following my calling



A colleague of mine told me I left her hanging when I stopped posting my #ThisIsWhatProfessionalLooksLike campaign. She said that I had been on 休休 and then everything stopped.

And she's right. The truth is, I felt uncertain about what to do next, where to go next. I got stuck. I froze. I dropped off. I felt like I needed a plan or a direction and because I don't, I got cold feet and quit posting.

I feel so CALLED to share my personal vision of inclusivity - that whatever your ethnic, religious or educational background, your age, weight, size, gender identity, race, appearance, mental health status, hair color or style, skin color or skin decoration, choice of personal self-expression, ability or disability, or sexual orientation, that 滕樹鳶遲YOU 湘♀h蛤 are [what a professional looks like.]

My friend reminded me that I don't have to know what comes next. I don't have to control the outcome. I just have to keep showing up, spreading the word and #SpeakingUpForChange.

But I need your help, peeps.

I can represent myself: the middle-aged white, cisgender straight woman with pink hair, giant earrings, bright multi-patterned outfits, no makeup (okay, in this pic I was FULLY made up for my course filming with Madecraft!), flat shoes, bare arms, big mouth and bold opinions.

But I can't represent ALL the people who are diminished, overlooked and outright discriminated against because they don't fit a particular "socially-acceptable" norm.

I need voices to amplify, and I need fellow warriors!

This is where all of you can help spread the word that THIS IS WHAT PROFESSIONAL LOOKS LIKE!

I need the pink- and purple-haired warriors, the tattooed warriors, the trans warriors, the disability warriors, the nonbinary warriors, the nonconforming-and-self-expressed-in-other-ways warriors, everyone who's out there keepin' it real, and so many more of you I can't even tag here.

Pro tip: You don't have to be a diversity and inclusion specialist to speak up for inclusion!

You don't need to be a mental health expert to share your experiences.

You don't have to be an expert on anything to speak your truth about what it means to be marginalized as a professional and to inspire others (who are still hiding) by your visibility.

So I need to unfreeze, unblock and unstick myself. Get back to work amplifying the professionals who inspire me with their willingness to show up in their fully human form. And keep showing up in mine.

Because if there's one group I can relate to almost more than any other, it's the UNPROFESSIONAL PROFESSIONAL!

Join us on LinkedIn and don't forget the hashtag... #ThisIsWhatProfessionalLooksLike



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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

Not every hobby needs to become a business



Not every hobby needs to be a business.

I've made jewelry for as long as I can remember. It's a creative outlet for me, and I can't not do it.

In 2004, I got laid off for the third time in four years. At that point, I decided to leave the non-profit sector, since it seemed they all had the same problem: creating a position funded by a grant, but then not raising the money to sustain the position in the long term. (Can anyone relate? ‍♀️)

While trying to decide what to do next, I decided to turn my jewelry hobby into a business. After all, how hard could it be?

Turns out, pretty hard. Not because the business itself was a bad idea, but because the kind of BUSINESS I wanted to have could not be sustained by the kind of WORK I wanted to do.

See, I love making one-of-a-kind pieces. I don't want to mass-produce. I buy my materials in very small quantities because I don't want to repeat the same design over and over again.

So that was the first roadblock I put up for myself. And then, back in 2004, before Etsy even existed, I would have to schlep all my jewelry to craft shows up and down the state. I did have a website, but it was pretty hard to get noticed, and people really like to see how something looks on them in a mirror.

During that period, I met so many amazing creators and makers who I'm still friends with today. But it was exhausting. My husband would go with me if he could, but most of the time I was doing craft shows by myself.

And... in 2005, I opened my public speaking coaching and training business. A business that I knew would be sustainable, where I could meet most of my needs for creative inspiration, and where I could, to be honest, make a lot more money!

Oh, and at the time, I was still running the non-profit I had co-founded in 1997. So I was running a jewelry business, starting a training business, and wrapping up my time with my non-profit. I couldn't keep going on that way!

In 2007, I closed up the jewelry business and began to devote 100% of my time to the coaching and training.

I couldn't even make jewelry for myself for probably a good year. I was so over it. It wasn't fun anymore. I had turned it into something that was just not enjoyable.

15 years later, and I've almost come full circle. I do sell my jewelry again, but only for fun, only if someone reaches out and asks me about a particular piece that I've shown on social media. I've done a couple of craft shows over the past few years, just small local events that don't involve a lot of work, or driving.

I love my hobby again. It will never again be a full-fledged business, and that's okay. Just because you love doing something - and even if you're really good at it - doesn't mean you should try to make a living at it!



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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

March 27, 2022

Why is it okay to not know some things, but not okay to not know other things?



It never occurred to me until about 10 days ago that I could put a shower cap on and keep my hairdo for an extra day!

Is anyone going to think I'm an idiot for not having thought of this before? And if they do, do I really care? I don't know everything. 仄

So now let me ask you this... Why are you embarrassed to admit you don't know everything about public speaking and presentations?

SOOOO many people are embarrassed about asking for help on things they aren't experts in. Guess what: you can't be an expert on everything!

You're an expert in some areas, and it's your job to know about those areas.

But you don't have to know everything about accounting, marketing, sales, coaching, speaking, or other things that are outside your area of expertise, right?

If you take your car to a repair shop, are you embarrassed that you don't know how to repair your car? If you have somebody do alterations to a pair of pants, are you embarrassed that you don't know how to sew?

I actually have clients who don't want their names on my website, even though they'll give me testimonials. Because they don't want anyone to know they went to a speaking coach.

Look, I just figured out that a shower cap is my new best friend. I'm 56 years old and I never thought of using a shower cap. Big fucking deal!

Do you need help with your speaking? There's nothing to be embarrassed about! I study this every day. It's my life's work. It's not yours. It's perfectly okay not to know stuff.

So how about reaching out and getting some support?



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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

Successful speakers stay curious



Are you a curious person? Do you always need to know WHY? WHAT? WHO? WHEN? WHERE?

When a car starts up at 11:30 p.m. in my neighborhood and drives away, I wonder why.

The other day I stood beneath a tree for a good 5 minutes trying to find the bird that was singing! (It was the ever-elusive Hooded Oriole!)

My Google search history is full of questions like "Are most serial killers white?" "How to pronounce Aix," "Can Supreme Court justices be impeached?" And "Did Gerald Coffee write a poem about eating half a bug?"

I literally consider every experience I have to be a potential metaphor for public speaking. Everything I see, hear, and learn is something that I can turn into an unexpected lesson for my clients and my audiences.

If you're a speaker, you can't be telling the same stories in the same way for years. You can't be using the same examples, same images, and same analogies for years.

Sure, sometimes you have a really great example that stands the test of time. We all do. But I've also pulled out stories that happened so long ago that they're just not current anymore. And I know there are more current examples I can use.

Your presentation still needs constant refreshing, because new things are happening in the world all the time.

When you can use new, fresh examples and stories that people can resonate with NOW you're going to make a better connection. Your audience will learn and retain more of your content and be more inclined to take action.

And if that's not the purpose of presenting, then I don't know what is!


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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 learn about 1:1 coaching with me!

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