Seven “I Hate Public Speaking” New Year’s Resolutions

Resolve to avoid all public speaking. Realize this is not a sustainable resolution; resolve to mostly avoid public speaking. Do great at Resolution #2 until someone at work tells you that you have to present at a meeting in two weeks. Resolve to ignore this for at least one week. The meeting is tomorrow. You …

An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving Holiday Parties

It’s that time of year again—the merry-go-round of holiday parties at the office, in the neighborhood, at book club, at your spouse’s office, at the kids’ school…the list goes on and on. As an introvert, that packed calendar, full of occasions when I will have to make small talk with people I don’t know, makes …

Diffusing Tension at the Thanksgiving Table!

Okay, folks, one week until Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. One of the things I love about it is that so many people have giant dinner parties with lots of guests, some of whom have never met, and others who may know each other only too well. As we are reminded every …

Do This One Thing and You Won’t Need to Hire Us

Seriously. If every speaker will remember that their job is to create an experience for their audience, you will never need to hire a coach. Here’s what that means in practice: Create your content with your audience in mind. What do you want them to walk away thinking about, talking about? Eliminate behaviors that distract …

The Raging Debate About Women’s Voices

A recent NPR story (…) explored the idea that we “police women’s voices,” complaining when they use “vocal fry” and “up-speak” despite the fact that men also use both of these derided habits of speech. Since I make my living teaching people to present themselves powerfully, every friend who heard the NPR story posted …

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making When You Write a Speech

“This just doesn’t sound right.” “It looked good on the page, but when I said it during my presentation…” My clients often tell me how perplexed they were when the words that they polished so lovingly on the page failed to come to life when they said them out loud. The simple fact to remember …

Has Anyone Ever Given You This Advice?

We’ve all heard the advice, “Just picture everyone in the audience naked!” I’ll just tell you now–this probably won’t work. Oh, you can look out at the audience and imagine them without clothes on, but then…you’re thinking about your audience with no clothes on. You’re not thinking about your presentation. (Unless you are planning to …

But I Hate to Practice

One of the questions I like to ask coaching clients is “What do you do when you practice?” More often than not, I get a confused look in response. So I clarify: “Do you start at the beginning and go all the way through your presentation? Do you stand up? Do you use your PowerPoint …

The Best Thing You Can Do to Be a Better Speaker

When we think about speeches or presentations we have seen that were terrific, we think about how the speaker made us feel. A great speaker can make us feel excited, motivated, intrigued, moved, or compelled. The same is true when we think about presentations we endured that weren’t so great—they make us feel impatient, bored, …

The Perilous Pitfalls of PowerPoint, Part One

“What’s the Point of PowerPoint?” It’s ubiquitous, everywhere from TED Talks to teachers’ classrooms. When done well, PowerPoint is a great complement to a speaker’s presentation. When done poorly…unfortunately, we can all finish that sentence. I just spent two days coaching the presenters for the Ignite Asheville event. The format of an Ignite talk is …

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