Telling vs. Living

Recently I got to watch a group of interesting, passionate women tell stories. One woman shared the story of when she started a golf tournament fundraiser for her local Make-A-Wish chapter.  The first section was very deliberately crafted—she used phrases like “And then I turned from my computer and let out a sigh of disappointment.” …

Projectors Are LOUD

Quick tip: If you’re speaking in a meeting, facilitating, or presenting in the same room with a projector, remember that projectors are loud. Projectors have built-in fans, and those create white noise. We acclimate to the white noise, and then we don’t quite realize that we need to project over the projector. Make it easy …

What Do I Really Want to Say?

Here is something that frequently happens when I’m working with a client on a speech, talk, or presentation: We rehearse what they’ve written, which is fine, but almost always takes a while to get to the point. I ask, “What are you hoping the audience will take away from what you say?” They tell me, …


A few months ago when I was facilitating a workshop, a woman in the group came up with a great term I hadn’t heard before. Micro-boundaries. We had been discussing the importance of having boundaries in our work life, of being able to assert things like how many hours we work in a week, or …

Good Public Speaking Isn’t Magic

There seems to be an inherent insecurity around being able to accomplish good public speaking consistently. Even people who are skilled speakers worry about “losing the magic” or not being “in the zone.” I get it—I’ve definitely had experiences when it feels like a talk I’m giving reaches a place it hasn’t gone before, when …

Why Creating Worthwhile Videos Can Be Tricky

Ironically, shooting quick videos to promote our work at Ignite CSP is something I procrastinate about. Even though I spend all day coaching other people to present, give speeches, and yes, show up on camera, it’s still a skill I’m working to improve. Making polished, concise, compelling videos, particularly ones that need to reflect your …

Football and Public Speaking

“He went up, contorted his body so he could get his hands in position to make the catch, shielded off the defender, caught the ball, tucked it in to protect it from the other defender, and then fell to the ground.” I don’t really know much about football, but this description of what one player …

Popping Pronouns

In theatre, we talk about the cardinal sin of “popping pronouns.” This is when an actor emphasizes a pronoun  instead of a verb, noun, or adjective.  To illustrate this idea, I’ll borrow one of my favorite lines from “The Negotiator,” starring Samuel L. Jackson. He plays a police negotiator whose partner has been murdered, and …

What Clothes Are You Wearing?

Last week, I had the singular pleasure of watching a keynote speaker I had coached absolutely nail the speech she was giving. She was wearing a fabulous fuchsia suit, which she loved and wore brilliantly. Her speaking style was clear, appealing, funny, and enthusiastic. Her clothes and her speaking style were uniquely her. Different occasions …

New Eyes

Lately, I’ve really gotten into the New York Times game Spelling Bee. It’s a word game: there are six letters arranged around one letter in the center (like a daisy). The object is to make as many words as you can from the seven letters, and each of them must contain the center letter. Usually, …

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