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Outside the Speaker's Bubble

a newsletter about speakers and speaking

The Speaker's Bubble is that wrinkle in the time/space continuum you experience whenever you speak, and experience even the slightest bit of pressure to perform. It's that place where your heart rate speeds up, just a little. Where you hear your blood pounding ever-so-slightly in your ears. Where you turn various shades of crimson, or feel short of breath. All these are purely normal physiological responses to the stress of "the-one-versus-the-many." There are ways to control this stress; excellent speakers know this. So do experienced leaders. My Communications Conditioning practice teaches speakers of all skill levels how to deal with stress and present like pros! I can give a practical road map of strategies to make anyone a better communicator for life.

Click here for a schedule of my upcoming workshops.


October 2017

 These myths have got to go!

I spend a lot of my time debunking myths about public speaking. I can't believe that in 2017 some of these are still being passed off as "conventional wisdom" to unsuspecting clients. But they are. Read my blog to find out the two things you need to stop doing TODAY to become a better speaker.

Another thing you can do is work with me at my fall Executive Communications Skills: One-Day Blitz! More info here.

Tips you can use!
Three points or you're out!
Make only three main points per speech. Any more and the audience won't remember or follow what you're saying. If you have several points to make, see how you can chunk them into three broader categories. Your message will be "stickier" that way!

Get the words in your mouth
Practice might not make it perfect, but it helps a lot!  You need to say what you're going to say: get in in your mouth. It sounds obvious, I know, but how many times have you heard speakers stumble over or mispronounce words? These things get cleared up by actual physical practice, not just reading your speech over in your head.

Don't fade into the background
If you will be giving a speech where you'll be on a stage or a dais with a backdrop, ask what color it will be. You don't want to show up in your signature black outfit only to realize you'll be standing in front of a black drape, do you? Add this question to your list as you gather info about other venue specifics (size of room, podium vs. lectern, type of mic, etc.). 



September 2017


 Unjumble your language

 In my September blog I offer one big tip for making communincation clearere: cut out the jargon!

I had a lovely August vacation, and am back at work at client stes and in my home studio. You can come work with me at my fall Executive Communications Skills: One-Day Blitz! More info here.

Tips you can use!
Don't hold your breath!
Breath-holding is a natural impulse while listening in situations like high-stakes meetings where you may be stressed or nervous. But it takes you out of the moment so you can't be an active listener. Breathe and connect.


Be picture perfect
Most postures that are good for photographs are inimical to good speaking. Any number of artful poses that work for still shots won't project ease, much less authority, when you speak. Stand tall, with a properly aligned spine and weight on both feet, and you'll convey the energy of your message. Then if a candid is taken while you're speaking, it will show you at your best: animated and engaged.


Use colorful words
After you've tapped your vibrant vocabulary to craft your speech or talking points, use color in a more practical way: to help with your organizational flow. Print your notes using different colored fonts for each main point. You'll stay focused as you visually track your text.

July/August 2017

 The expressive self

My July/August blog describes an important lesson we can learn about speaking from watching great acting.

Soon I will be enjoying my August vacation, so my next Executive Communications Skills: One-Day Blitz! will be in SeptemberMore info here.


June 2017

 The power of stillness

My June blog is an update of a blog from 2013. It's about leveraging leadership presence by being the calm center.

I start teaching later this month at American University, so I am taking a break from offering my Executive Communications Skills: One-Day Blitz! The next one will be in SeptemberMore info here.

Tips you can use!

Take a quick look at your slides
See if you understand them at first glance. If you don't, edit them so that words and graphics clearly convey what you want to share. Cluttered slides, those that are too busy and/or complicated, result in failure to deliver a coherent message.

If you can't be loud be bold
Every time you speak, you need to be heard. But if you're a naturally shy person, you may connect advice to "be louder" with rude and rowdy behavior. So think of it as projecting a bolder physical presence, and your vocal strength will follow.

Less is always more
When you are putting together your presentation, aim to fill 80% of the allotted time. Trim the boring bits and allow plenty of time for follow-up Q & A—which usually gets shortened, much to the dismay of the audience. No one is ever criticized for running short, especially when summer fun beckons! 



May 2017

Respect the ice

I blog this month about an annoying trend I have encountered lately, the misuse of the "ice-breaker." I am always amazed when people employ communications tools without really understanding why and how they work!

I am offering one more Executive Communications Skills: One-Day Blitz! this summerMore info here.

Tips you can use!

Use real words...
...instead of industry jargon, when you network. If people can't understand what you do, no matter how impressive you think your title is, they probably won't remember you. Remember, the purpose of networking is not to impress, but to connect.

Make your point
In interviews be sure you get your talking points and stories out there, even if they are not directly asked for. Find a way to artfully insert them, so you can ensure you are on message, in control and saying what you need to/planned to say. 

Sit like a lady
If you're wearing a skirt, that is. Legs crossed at ankles, knees together (great for inner thigh muscles!) or knees crossed. You'd be amazed how many skirt-wearers seem not to know this. Remember, we can't unsee what you show us on a dais or stage! So if your skirt is too short to accommodate proper sitting, rethink your professional wardrobe.